Paul Muller with a nice writeup on one of the Dog Star concerts this past June.
Two new events planned as part of this year’s Dog Star Orchestra festival. June 4, I’ll be playing Tom Johnson’s Nine Bells on a specially-tuned set of bells I’ve built. June 14, Isaura String Quartet will perform ‘rhythm color #3’ alongside the Southland String Quartet performing works by James Tenney and Tom Johnson.
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Isaura String Quartet will be premiering my piece “parallel lines (do not intersect)” on their final concert of their summer series. For the concert they asked 7 different LA composers to reimagine Blondie’s “Heart of Glass”. My piece, which borrows its name from Blondie’s album title, begins with a chorale, of sorts, in two separate 3-limit harmonic spaces (4ths, 5ths, and octaves)—a kind of harmonic parallelism. The concert will be followed by pie and drinks to celebrate the final concert.
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I have had the pleasure of working with Randolyn Zinn and The Living Room Theatre on a few projects. They have developed their own type of site-specific theatre at the Park McCullough House in North Bennington, VT over the past couple summers. I have contributed music for this summer’s production of Chekhov’s ‘The Cherry Orchard’. The score sets abstracts from Bartók, Scriabin, and Russian folk tunes against field recordings and various types of resonators and feedback engines.
Opens July 31. Reservations required.
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A new piece for two writers will be presented this Friday at the wulf, along with new pieces by Todd Lerew, Chris Schunk, and Danny Wood. The piece utilizes excerpts from Søren Kierkegaard’s diaries including an entry labeled: “Something about my Punctuation” (1847), which discusses something of K’s unusual rhetorical style.
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Dog Star Orchestra returns in June for its tenth year of experimental music concerts. The fabulous duo Guthrie & Streb will be premiering my piece ‘groups, no. 2’ for viola and cello at the wulf on Friday, June 6, at 8 pm. The program focuses on counting, including Tom Johnson’s Counting Duets.
The Isaura String Quartet will premiere my string quartet, ‘rhythm color #3—fiction’ at a concert of new works by LA composers on Saturday, April 5 at SPACE Arts Center in South Pasadena.
Saturday, April 5, 2014, 8 pm
SPACE Arts Center
1506 Mission Street
South Pasadena, CA 91030
The rhythm color pieces explore harmony as a function of time. While the first two deal with the standard rhythmic metric, #3 deals with time as a function of counting/calculation (individual) and power dynamics (group). Dealing with the Pythagorean tuning relationships between the five pitch classes of the open strings of the quartet (C, G, D, A, E), the players are presented with a grid-like score of pitches/numbers; each cell with the instruction to be either played, not played, or left to the players to decide.
My quartet “Asperges Me” was premiered by What’s Next? Ensemble (Alexander Elliott Miller, electric guitar; Sakura Tsai, violin; Brett Banducci, viola; Joo Lee, cello) at their annual Los Angeles Composers Project on April 19 in Pasadena. The piece is based on the Latin antiphon of the same name, which is a part of the Roman Catholic Mass. Taken from Psalm 51, my piece uses the first two lines, “Thou shalt purge me, with hyssop and I shall be clean: Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” I wrote the piece following the birth of my nephew (the piece is dedicated to his parents) while thinking about the transformative possibilities that lie dormant in every relationship. One can view the piece as a kind of deconstruction of the chant. The melody itself has a beautiful rise and fall, invoking a sense of striving as it ascends and release as it falls and returns to the tonic. I took the melody and broke it down into 1-3 note fragments which are played in each voice and harmonized according to a range of overtone ratios. I prefer to look at the piece as a kind of translation, or opening-up. Each voice plays every part of the entire melody, but each with its own harmonization. As a collective, the ensemble plays the entire set of ratios and the audience gets to hear each note of the melody cast in a slightly different way, giving the piece a sense of multi-dimensionality. Duration, dynamics, and even the choice of one instrument are decided upon by the players, granting a wide range of expressive potential and making each performance specific to the ensemble.