Equal Billing Project

OVERVIEW

In the winter of 2021/2022, The Jackson Symphony Orchestra under the leadership of Matthew Aubin and joined by soloists Carrie Koffman (saxophone), Amy McCabe (trumpet), Leelanee Sterrett (horn), and Chen-Yu Huang (harp) will record three concerti by Fernande Decruck with the intention of bringing many of her unrecorded manuscripts to life.

The Jackson Symphony Orchestra’s “Equal Billing Project” aims to record and support the music of a deceased composer that wasn’t equally billed or recognized during their lifetime. The project supports costs associated with recording, research, music publication and travel.

MATERIAL

Sonate en ut dièze mineur pour saxophone alto et orchestre (1943)

17 min

Carrie Koffman – Saxophone

The Sonata in C-sharp minor for alto saxophone (or viola) is Decruck’s most well-known work. Decruck created two versions of her world famous sonata, one with saxophone or viola and piano, the other with full orchestral accompaniment. The latter version is rarely heard. Decruck combines the Classical sonata form with impressionistic harmony and at times, polytonality. Decruck dedicated this work to Marcel Mule, the world renowned French saxophonist. Although Mule had countless compositions written for him in his lifetime, he took the time to record the Fileuse and Andante movements of the Sonata. Fileuse (“spinning”) features the saxophonist performing virtuosic passage works and takes the traditional place of the Scherzo.

Poême héroïque pour trompette solo en ut, cor solo en fa et orchestre (1946)

27 min

Amy McCabe – Trumpet | Leelanee Sterrett – Horn

Written in 1946, Poême Héroïque is a double concerto for solo trumpet, horn and orchestra. The work often features the two solo instruments in imitation and is a fantastic example of Decruck’s mature style. Divided into 3 contrasting movements, the work is notable for its use of contrasting time signatures like 24/16 and 2/4. It is unknown whether the work was ever performed or who it was written for. Decruck moved to Marblehead, Massachusetts the following year and in 1948 created a reduction of the work for solo trumpet and piano. It is likely that she created this version for Roger Voisin, the famous, French principal trumpet of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Concerto pour harpe et orchestre (1944)

23 min

Chen-Yu Huang – Harp

With the recent discovery of her Sonata in C-sharp minor for alto saxophone, Decruck’s works are gradually becoming known. French composer Decruck was a prolific and successful composer in her time, particularly during WWII. However, after the war, due to a variety of circumstances, she had trouble finding performance opportunities. Concerto pour harpe et orchestre, was dedicated to and premiered by French harpist and pedagogue, Pierre Jamet in 1946, who later became the harp professor at the Conservatoire de Paris in 1948. Her Concerto recalls similarities with Geramine Tailleferre’s Sonate pour la harpe. It is a concertino in style, light-hearted, warm, and full of surprises.

PERSONNEL

MATTHEW AUBIN
Conductor

A leader in the 21st century orchestral landscape, Dr. Matthew Aubin is constantly reaching new audiences through innovative performance formats and creative initiatives both on and off the podium.

In his 3rd season as Music Director of the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, Dr. Aubin also serves as Artistic Director for The Chelsea Symphony in New York City. In this role he has led highly visible collaborations with partners such as actor John Lithgow, award-winning television series Mozart in the Jungle, and the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Dr. Aubin has played a principal role in the initiation and development of The Chelsea Symphony’s annual competition for emerging composers with high profile adjudicators such as Conductor Laureate of the Seattle Symphony and music director of the All-Star Orchestra, Gerard Schwarz. Dr. Aubin has led TCS in their Lincoln Center debut and conducted the New York City premieres of works by Mark O’Connor, Fazil Say and Caroline Shaw, among others.

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As a consultant for the Amazon Prime series Mozart in the Jungle created by Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman, Dr. Aubin was the off-camera conductor for an episode filmed on Rikers Island. Since then, Dr. Aubin has continued a relationship with the NYC Department of Correction, designing and conducting a series of concerts and education initiatives for detainees, both in person and online. He also served as the onstage conductor for the f ilm Bel Canto with Julianne Moore and has been an artistic consultant for the hit television show Younger.

In his role as Music Director of the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, Dr. Aubin has transformed the orchestra’s visibility, both in the community and on a national scale. He has collaborated with world-renowned soloists such as pianist Pascal Rogé, cellist and composer Jeremy Crosmer, cellist Julian Schwarz, and composer Lowell Liebermann. During Dr. Aubin’s time as Music Director, the JSO’s season has expanded, and the organization is now regularly reaching audiences of all ages through expanded family concerts, education concerts, and the JSO’s Music on Tap series geared towards young adults. During the 2020 pandemic, he launched a series of digital initiatives, most notably the Random Acts of Music series. Under Dr. Aubin’s leadership, the JSO is releasing a series of asynchronous, multimedia educational videos to be used in K-12 classrooms. These videos will be based on the 2021 season’s virtual programming and will explore musical concepts.

Dr. Aubin is the foremost scholar on the French composer Fernande Breilh-Decruck. He has earned multiple research grants to study her significant life and work. A champion of the critical role of women in composition, Dr. Aubin is working to promote Decruck’s newly discovered lost music. He has edited and created critical editions of her work, which are now in the process of publication with Gérard Billaudot Éditeur, and has organized performances of Decruck’s music in the United States and abroad. The 2021-2022 season will bring a large-scale recording project of Decruck’s orchestral works aimed at giving orchestras further access and insight into her brilliant work.

Dr. Aubin continues to be active as a freelance horn player, and regularly performs across the country. A devoted music educator, Dr. Aubin’s past associations include Assistant Professor of Music at Washington State University, Adjunct faculty at The Hartt School and Educational Programs Conductor for the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

CARRIE KOFFMAN
Saxophone

Carrie Koffman is Associate Professor of Saxophone at The Hartt School of Music, Dance and Theater at the University of Hartford and Lecturer of Saxophone at the Yale School of Music. Prior to this, she held positions as Assistant Professor of Saxophone at Penn State University, Assistant Professor of Saxophone at the University of New Mexico, and Lecturer at Boston University.

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She has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout 26 states, 1 federal district, 15 countries, and on five continents. She has toured Italy, Cyprus and the United States as tenor saxophonist in the Transcontinental Saxophone Quartet, and performs in a contemporary chamber music duo, The Irrelevants, with violist Tim Deighton. Their “excellent playing” of several new works in a New York recital was noted in The Strad. Additionally, she appears frequently as a soloist, chamber musician, and clinician.

Committed to new music, commissions and premieres feature 54 compositions and her recording projects consist of twelve commercially available CD’s. One review in Fanfare Magazine calls her playing “suave, subtly nuanced, and technically secure in its every gesture,” while another refers to her “melting tone and touching sensitivity.” Music Web International describes her as “brilliant and dauntless.” She also has an ongoing recording and performing series entitled “Pink Ink” that is dedicated to promoting the music of living women composers. She is a founding member of the Committee on the Status of Women of the North American Saxophone Alliance and is the project manager for CSW’s Community Engagement Initiative.

She is a founding faculty member of the American Saxophone Academy, an annual educational program designed for advanced college students and beyond. She also formerly taught saxophone for the All-State Program at the Interlochen Center for the Arts, and was the Director of Bands at Belleville South Middle School in Belleville, Michigan. Koffman is a graduate with high honors from the University of Michigan where she studied with Donald Sinta, and the University of North Texas where she studied with James Riggs and Eric Nestler.

Koffman is a certified Kripalu Yoga Teacher and teaches Yoga for Performers at The Hartt School. She is also a Conn-Selmer artist/clinician, and performs exclusively on Selmer Paris saxophones.

AMY MCCABE
Trumpet

“…performed with agility and aplomb” —Washington Post

Amy McCabe, a resident of Washington D.C., has shared music on her trumpet in a variety of genres across the globe. She was recently a soloist at the International Trumpet Guild conference, the International Women’s Brass conference, and was a featured soloist with the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain in London’s Regent Hall. Amy was also a soloist on tour with The “President’s Own” United States Marine Band in 2016 and 2018, including a performance at Chicago’s Symphony Center. Amy is also an active chamber musician, recently performing a trumpet duo in the newly renovated Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, and also performed and recorded a brass quintet album with Summit records at the Lieksa Brass Week in Lieksa, Finland.

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In addition, Amy has also performed with the New York Philharmonic, the National Symphony, The St. Louis Symphony, The Brass Band of Battle Creek, and the Barclay Brass. She was also a featured soloist in the first National and Japan touring cast of the Tony and Emmy-award winning show, “Blast!” in addition to touring with pop artist Michael Bolton on a national tour. Amy was also a member of the Chicago Civic Orchestra, a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Festival, Spoleto Music Festival, Pine Mountain Music Festival, Artosphere Festival and was a member of the Walt Disney World Collegiate All-Star Big Band, and recipient of the Roger Voisin Tanglewood Trumpet Award. She holds a degree in elementary education from Illinois Wesleyan University studying with Steve Eggleston and Judith Saxton, and a Master’s degree in trumpet performance from Northwestern University, studying with Barbara Butler and Charles Geyer.

LEELANEE STERRETT
Horn

Leelanee Sterrett joined the New York Philharmonic in June 2013 and currently serves as Acting Associate Principal Horn. She was previously a regular substitute musician with the Philharmonic, a member of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, and a fellow of Ensemble Connect, Carnegie Hall’s collective of young professionals and music advocates. In recent seasons, Ms. Sterrett has made solo appearances at Carnegie Hall, with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, and at the 2015 and 2018 International Horn Symposia. She also serves on the horn faculties of New York University and Rutgers University.

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A northern-Michigan native, Ms. Sterrett grew up in a musically enthusiastic family and attended Interlochen Arts Academy. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a master’s degree from the Yale School of Music. Her primary teachers include William Purvis, Douglas Hill, and Julie Schleif. Ms. Sterrett has spent summers at the Tanglewood Music Center, the Pacific and Sarasota music festivals, the National Orchestral Institute, and the Banff Centre for the Arts. She is a past prizewinner in the International Horn Competition of America and the Yamaha Young Performing Artists Program.

Ms. Sterrett divides her time between Manhattan and rural New Jersey, where she enjoys being outdoors and learning how to garden. She is an avid distance runner and yoga practitioner, and has completed the New York City Marathon twice.

CHEN-YU HUANG
Harp

Known for her charismatic and fervent musicianship, Chen-Yu Huang is rising up as a performer and a teacher in the Midwest. She joins Michigan State University College of Music as Assistant Professor of Harp in 2014. She is currently the Principal Harpist of Jackson Symphony Orchestra and Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, and the harpist of Formosa Trio and Accorda Trio. She is the winner of the Krannert Debut Artist Award 2010 and a recipient for Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowship 2010-2011, of both prizes she is the first harpist ever to be awarded. Other honors include the winner of the State of Illinois Senior Division in the 2007 American String Teacher Association National Solo Competition, finalist for the 2006 National Anne Adams Award Auditions, winner of the 2008 String Division Concerto Competition. Currently, Chen-Yu is the president of West Michigan Chapter and one of the Directors-at-Large of American Harp Society, Inc..

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A native of Taiwan, Chen-Yu obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in piano performance at National Taiwan Normal University. She pursued her graduate degrees in harp performance at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she held teaching assistantship and obtained Master of Music, Artist Diploma, and Doctoral of Musical Arts in harp performance under the instruction of Dr. Ann Yeung. Before coming to U.S., she studied harp with Shannon Chieh, Chi-Mei Hung, and Bi-Ya Lin in Taiwan.

As an enthusiastic teacher, Chen-Yu is most passionate about inspiring students to realize their highest potential and forge their own paths. She teaches at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and founded the Community Music School Harp Ensemble. She also hosts Harp Day at Michigan State University annually.

Chen-Yu is dedicated to expanding the harp repertoire. She has arranged and transcribed music for harp and premiered modern works. Recent activities include releasing her first chamber album First Impression, world-premiering two works at the 13th World Harp Congress, and arranging Three Taiwanese Folksongs for flute, violin, and harp.

MAESTRO MATTHEW AUBIN INTRODUCES FERNANDE DECRUCK AND OUR EQUAL BILLING PROJECT

INTERVIEWS WITH FERNANDE DECRUCK’S FAMILY

SUPPORT

$2,500 – Framed and signed commemorative poster and all below
$1,000 – Name listed on CD booklet and all below
$500 – Copy of the CD


SPONSORS

  • $10,000 – David and Patricia Eggert
  • $5,000 – Matthew and Michelle Aubin
  • $5,000 – Andrea and Bill Stickney
  • $3,000 – Richard and Michele Duvauchelle
  • $2,500 – Erin Mazur and Marco Shehab
  • $1,000 – Kathryn Keersmaekers
  • $1,000 – Shaun and Linda Huang
  • $500 – Dan and Amanda Casillo
  • $500 – Stephen and Shelby Foster