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Gayatri Sonatapremiere

  for Violoncello and Piano

(also for Viola and Piano)

 Dec. 27, 2004—May 11, 2005        
 Fourth Edition, January 26, 2009
Duration: about 20 minutes
Photo: first performance

Recording by Bonnie Thron, cello, and Nancy Whelan, piano (Memorial Concert for Akanda, Feb. 10, 2010, Nelson Music Room, Duke University)

         video (YouTube)     

 PDF Score (Cello edition)        Cello part      Cover
PDF Score (Viola edition)         Viola part    

I. First Movement   [6:55]   CelloMP3     Cello Score   Viola Score


II. Second Movement: Gayatri Mantra [8:12] CelloMP3     Cello Score     Viola Score


III. Third Movement: Rondo Cappuccino [7:13]  CelloMP3      Cello Score    Viola Score

     Git Them Toes to Tappin'  


   *it won't hurt when I fall off this bar stool


          The middle movement is based on a setting I wrote of the Gayatri Mantra, a sacred mantra in Hinduism from the Rig Veda, for six-string violin and baritone in 2002. I ended up using only the melody from that original composition as the main theme. The words in Sanskrit are:
Om Bhur bhuvah svahah  Tat savitur varenyam
Bhargo Devasya dheemahi  Dheeyo yo nah prachodayaat

          Any translation is highly approximate, but it is something like; “Oh Divine Beings of all three worlds, we meditate on the glorious splendor of God. May He himself illumine our minds.”  
          The tempo marking of the first movement, “IWHWIFATBS”, stands for “It won’t hurt when I fall off this barstool”. Notice that this lyric fits the theme…  
          This sonata is in memory of my mother, Frances Vanderkooi Robinson Westman, who died in February 2005. She played both the cello and the piano. I also had in mind during the composition two cellists: David Vanderkooi, my uncle, and Jonathan Kramer, of the music department here at NCSU. There is also an arrangement for viola.

Musician Biographies

 Bonnie Thron; Principal cellist of the North Carolina Symphony, Bonnie has been a concerto soloist with many orchestras in North Carolina, New England, Maryland and Panama. She has been a soloist and frequent collaborator with the Brussels Chamber Orchestra during their summer North Carolina residencies. Bonnie plays with the Mallarme Chamber Players and was involved in their cd release "Songs for the Soul" which consists of music by African American composers. Formerly a member of the Peabody Trio and the Denver Symphony, she also performed with the Orpheus Chamber Ensemble and Speculum Musicae in NYC. She has been a frequent guest artist with the Apple Hill Chamber Players in her home state of New Hampshire and participates every August in the Sebago Long Lake Music Festival in Harrison, Maine. As well as degrees from the Juilliard School, Bonnie also has a BSN from the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and worked for several years as a nurse in Baltimore. 
Nancy Whelan, pianist,  received her Master of Music from  Meredith College and has played professionally in the Raleigh area for over twenty-five years. She is very active in musical theater and opera, with the North Carolina Theater, Raleigh Little Theater, Burning Coal Theater, University Theater, National Opera Company, the Opera Company of NC, Long Leaf Opera, and various Broadway touring companies.