January saw me travelling for a quick bit, for two things. First off, was the world premiere of my newest piece of music titled Those Eyelashes Stay With Me, a sweet little ditty for my wife. This was part of the What Next Festival in Hamilton Ontario. (Facebook is here). The festival promoters and staff did an EXCELLENT job getting this thing together. The first time this had been done in Hamilton and they filled the seats even for panel discussions. If only there was that kind of interest everywhere.
Commissioned by the great James Sommerville – local hero here in Boston, this piece was slated for French Horn, Clarinet, and Bass Clarinet. Quite an odd mesh of sound, but it works. James remarked during the concert that he didn’t know of any other pieces for the same instrumentation. One audience member mentioned that he had a sample on one of his records that was quite close, but I’m not sure how it differed.
In any event, the piece went off quite well, if not for my mistakes, but such is the case when you’re not just pushing play on the laptop (or any other instrument for that matter). Many thanks to the players James, Steve and Michele – they really dove into my ideas and weren’t scared. Also thanks to Martin Van de Ven for the photograph.
After that bit of hooliganism, I headed south to Georgia to perform some sweet music from the big man Osvaldo Goljiov. This time around it was the suite from Youth Without Youth, the film by Francis Ford Coppola. It was received quite warmly, and I think it finally came of age with help from the brilliant Mr. Spano.
So now it’s back to diaper duty and planning to finish a record of material. I’m thinking two “sides” with different singers on each side – collaborations… lots of strings. I don’t know yet. More details when I get a second to think.
I’m also working on a new piece with Cambridge composer Shirish Korde. We are doing some really cool things with prerecorded voices and rhythms. Really looking forward to seeing this one happen.
So what does burning the candle at both ends get you? Unexpected results I guess. Last week I predicted that I would be writing a slow soft reserved piece about the birth of my son for this What Next? Festival in Canada. Now I’m working on a raucous burner complete with jazz college chords and big beats. Tentatively titled “Those Eyelashes Stay With Me” we’ll see if I have the cajones to stick with it.
I think I have just finished the ending, now It’s just tidying up some horn melodies and then notating the whole thing. Then I’ll hit it with a scalpel and cut up the parts that aren’t necessary.
Now that I’ve made it through the hellzone of months 0 to 3 with the little guy, it’s time to start thinking about music again. Next up on the table for me is a commission for the What Next? festival in Hamilton, Ontario. It will be a piece for electronics and Horn, which also includes Bass Clarinet and Clarinet. Listeners can most likely expect a very reserved relaxing piece – judging by where I’m at now with the piece.
At the moment, I’m trying not to write the piece about the birth of my son, Samuel, but it’s pretty friggin hard. The event and its aftermath (ie: completely changing my life around to take care of him) has had a pretty big effect on me and how I look at things. It’s also given me a shorter fuse, which some people might view as a good thing with regard to my music. I might actually have some shifts of mood all within one piece (which is very weird for me).
Anyway, that’s what’s going on here. The performance in Canada is scheduled for January 23rd at 10:30 in the evening for all you party people in the Toronto area. Hopefully it will come out great and there will be more performances of it. I absolutely love hanging with Jamie, the horn player that commissioned the piece.
I’m headed off to Chicago to work with the Chicago Symphony’s amazing musicians on their MusicNOW series. They have commissioned a piece of music from me for two cellos, viola, piano, marimba and laptop. It’s called Self Destruct, written about stress, and how it either ruins things or creates things. Those of you in the Chicago area, please come check it out – I’m really really looking forward to this performance.
I’m in the process now of re-dubbing all the electronic parts so that they can be performed live with the musicians. This is always an exciting part of the process for me, because I end up changing things at the last minute which is of course not advised. Somehow I love the uncertainty.
More information about the specifics can be seen at the Chicago Symphony’s website.
You can see photos from my recent performance at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall on facebook if you are a member. It went very well, and Olga and I have vowed to make it happen again, hopefully with more music. Keep your eyes peeled.
Yo kids, just wanted to give you the heads up here in case you forgot: some of my new music is being premiered at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall this Sunday at 3 in the afternoon. It’s the stuff I’ve been working on with Olga Bell which I’m totally stoked on. I am actually on my way to rehearsal right now.
The pieces is called Three Songs, which is really generic because the three songs are really separate little songs that are meant to stand on their own. They are for Voice, Guitar, Laptop, Percussion, Piano, 2 Cellos, Viola and Double Bass. Truly a cool sounding ensemble – I hope y’all can make it out to check it.
Yo party people. I’m working on a new piece with big man Osvaldo Golijov and Accordiopimp Michael Ward-Bergemann. We’re doing a premeir at the opening day concert of their new Green Space, which is an invite only thing, but you can check it out on-air on April 29th at 2pm. Jon Schaefer’s program SoundCheck will host a performance as well.
We’re using some cool old samples from the WNYC archives to create rhythms, etc. It’s pretty awesome.
I am absolutely thrilled to have a chance to work with the fabbo Olga Bell (myspace here) for a commission from Carnegie Hall on their “Professional Training Workshops” series. We will be workshopping some stuff together in September in NYC, October at the always beautiful Bard College and then in May we’ll head down to New York Citah and play the piece for all of you ravenous Bell fans. Do not miss this girl – big ups.
The piece is still in it’s gestation period – the words are still up for debate, but it looks like they will be originals of Olga’s. There will be Piano, Guitar, Percussion, Strings and a laptop – maybe others as well. More details will come once the piece is written, or at least some of it.
An update on the projects I’m working on at the moment…
Animas Perdidas is this amazing documentary I’m writing music for, written by a friend of mine, Monika Navarro. (The song “Grand and Sand” in the SoundCloud player is a sketch I’ve put together for the film.) Anyway, this film is starting to really come together. I’ve been fortunate enough to see it many steps of the way, and I have to congratulate Monika and everyone working with her on a job well done. It looks like in the next few months I’ll be finishing the final recordings of the music and putting it all together.
I was fortunate to be selected as one of the Composers awarded commissions in Carnegie Hall’s Professional Training workshops. In October I’m headed to Bard College to workshop some music with an ensemble of instruments and two of my favorite singers ever. Unfortunately I have absolutely no idea what the piece will be about, so wish me luck on that deadline. We will be heading to Carnegie Hall in May to perform the final versions. All of you NYC folk, I hope you can come check this out…
Also, I am totally psyched to be writing a piece for WNYC’s opening of their performance space. I’ll be writing the piece collaboratively with accordiopimp Michael Ward-Bergemann and geniusman Osvaldo Golijov. I just took delivery of 8 or so CD’s full of 1930’s and 1940’s Radio Broadcasts that I’ll be using as source material in the piece. This piece will be performed January 14th at the new space located at 160 Varick Street in Manhattan.
After that, I’m performing as a laptopper on some new pieces on the LA Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella series, headed to Europe with Klezmer Madness and working on my Chicago commission that I mentioned in a previous post. There’s also a European tour of Ayre in the works. So. Much. Music.
So I’m headed to Reno.
Off to play some jams with David Krakauer and his Klezmer Madness. Cannot wait. The last time I played with them in North Carolina was pretty much insane. These guys rip and don’t stop until everyone in the place is sweaty because they are throwing down in their seats. That’s a good thing.
Next on my plate are three commissions: one for WNYC with genius-man Osvaldo Golijov and Accordiopimp Michael Ward-Bergemann. I never spell his name right and he’s one of my bros. That’s a shame. After that one it’s a piece for Carnegie Hall (sick things in store for this one, just wait!) and one for the Chicago Symphony’s MusicNow series. Needless to say I have a busy fall and winter ahead of me. I say fall because summer is almost gone already. Wow. Time flies when you get married.
Music tidbits for you this week?
Here you go.
It’s an oldie but a goodie. An old Mom’s tune called “I wanna go to Mollywood.” Blatantly written about a girl named Molly I had a mega-crush on sometime in college. Slammin.
In other news, I figured it was a good idea to update my blog software at 7 in the morning at the airport. I totally didn’t backup my modified wordpress theme, which was a brilliant idea. So here we are… stock themes for a few hours anyway – I’ll change it up this evening after dinner.
So I’m back in Boston and it’s still too cold to ride a bike without gloves on.
And what am I doing? Lots of little work, catching up on tax stuff, blah blah blah. In a couple weeks I head to London to perform Ainadamar at the Barbican. After that I’m headed to New York to work on a new piece with friends Anna Clyne and Joshue Ott.
Tender Hooks is a really sweet idea – it’s like a Double Laptop Concerto with orchestra. There’s an audio laptop (me) a visual laptop (Josh) and an Orchestra. Josh and I have connected our computers so that when he pushes harder with the pen, things happen to the sound and when I send certain commands to him, the visuals move in concert with what’s coming out of my computer. This is much more than the visualizer from winamp you used to spend all your time looking at in college. We’re carefully choreographing what will work best and meld well with the orchestral score.
Anna has written a piece with these ideas as a firm foundation. Essentially it promises that the electronics will be an organic part of the piece – not a last-minute addition that takes away from beautiful music. Also I’m really excited to use the Theremin controller we’ve purchased for the project. Hopefully this will get away from the “checking of the email” syndrome of many performances with laptop.
Tender Hooks will be performed at Zankel Hall (Carnegie Hall) on Friday, Apr. 25 at 7:30pm. We’ll also be doing it on Sunday, Apr. 27 at 7:30pm at UPenn. There’s more info on getting tickets here. Come check it out!