Comes and Goes

Here’s a performance of Comes and Goes from the 2016 Birmingham New Music Festival featuring (L to R) Andrew Raffo Dewar, modular synth; Geni Skendo, flutes; Wendy Richman, viola; Holland Hopson, laptop.

The piece is for open instrumentation: four or more performers using electronic and/or acoustic instruments. We chose to perform the sections in the following order: Foothills, Unmatched set of revolving doors, Cirrus – lock of hair, I Send the Rockets Up, Constant Interference. Download the score

Traditional Instruments Reimagined Review

Edward Forstman at ArtsBHAM reviewed my recent concert with Matt Bryant at the Hoover Library Theater.

Part of the magic of Holland Hopson’s performances lies in the mystery of just how much he has planned out beforehand and what’s being extemporized. He is a rapt listener to his own performances, nuancing each refrain’s iteration with distinctive stresses, pitch bends, additions, and deletions. He began with a piece he used on the BAMA DIY concert reviewed in August, and yet it came off as freshly conceived and decidedly different, as if he’d made it up on the spot.

His set consisted of eight songs. Highlights included Hopson’s intense lament of forbidden queer love, the ballad “Laurel Cove,” and his hazy and weary “Over Yonder’s Ocean,” which yearned for a beautiful heaven “where the sun swings lowest over yonder’s ocean.”  Hopson’s vocals were resonant and full of character. He offered his audience a warm, joking presence in between songs and was a consummate storyteller throughout.

Read the entire review here.

Comes and Goes Returns

comes-and-goes

On Thursday I’ll be performing my work Comes and Goes with Andrew Dewar, Wendy Richman and Geni Skendo during the opening concert of the third Birmingham New Music Festival. Andrew and I will perform with electronics (modular synth and Max, respectively) while Wendy plays viola and Geni performs on various flutes. We worked up a wonderful blend of sounds during rehearsal last weekend; I think this is going to be a special performance.

Comes and Goes was written for Gates Ensemble and first performed in Austin, TX in 2007. My memory of the performance is a bit hazy. On the day of the show I was packing for a move from Austin to Albany, NY and gashed open the bottom of my foot. After stitches and pain meds, I somehow joined the other musicians on stage to perform with my foot elevated on a nearby chair. The piece is for four or more musicians performing on electronic and/or acoustic instruments. Each movement explores a specific set of sounds  derived from the technique of amplitude modulation. Download the score for Comes and Goes.

I’ll also be performing on banjo and electronics with Geni Skendo for two of his compositions.

Thursday 9/22 7:30pm
Birmingham New Music Festival
UAB Hulsey Recital Hall
950 13th Street South
Birmingham, AL 35294
Free

DIY Concert Review

Edward Forstman reviewed the BAMA DIY concert for ArtsBham writing:

And, a new and wonderful discovery for this reviewer, Holland Hopson set his haunting vocals about a desolate landscape with “no road lead[ing] straight home” against layers of clawhammer banjo woven together via computer processing and a foot pedal.

BAMA DIY & DIT

Tomorrow I’ll be joining friends in the Birmingham Art Music Alliance for a DIY Composers Concert featuring composer/performers playing their own compositions. I’ll be performing music for banjo, live electronics and voice. Also on the program are Raphael Crystal and Gaines Brake, Monroe Golden, Kenneth Kuhn, Kyle McGucken and area newcomer Geni Skendo.

Tuesday August 9 7pm
BAMA “DIY” Concert
Unitarian Universalist Church of Birmingham
4300 Hampton Heights Dr
Birmingham AL 35209

DIY = Do It Yourself, of course
DIT = Do It Together (and in this case, Do It Tuesday)

LA Reviews of “Elevators”

Here are two reviews of Aron Kallay‘s recent performance of A History of Elevators in Film at the MicroFest Beyond 12 concert in Los Angeles. The first is by Paul Muller in Sequenza21 who calls the work

“…an engaging and highly musical work that presents a remarkable variety of moods and colors.”

The second is by Steven Niles in New Classic LA who writes

“The History of Elevators in Film, by Birmingham composer Holland Hopson, depicted the sensory experience of riding in elevators with virtuoso compositional prowess.”

Iron Giant Revives Metronome Quartet

Iron Giant Percussion will perform my work Quartet 60x88x120x208 for four metronomes  at the Hoover Library Theatre tomorrow. The concert is part of a 20th anniversary celebration of the Birmingham Art Music Alliance. Quartet 60x88x120x208 was performed during BAMA’s first season of concerts (January 22, 1996). It’s one of my more widely performed compositions, but I don’t think it has been heard in Birmingham since then.

Thursday April 28 7:30pm
BAMA presents Iron Giant Percussion
Hoover Library Theater
200 Municipal Drive
Hoover AL 35216
Free Admission

The program will also include music by Drew Pendergrass, Tom Reiner, Mark Lackey, Jody Landers, Monroe Golden and works by Iron Giant Percussion.

Download a .pdf score for Quartet 60x88x120x208

Follows From Hummingbird Premieres at AEIVA

follows from hummingbird image

Follows From Hummingbird, my brand-new piece for three or more sustaining instruments, gets its premiere on Thursday at the Abroms-Engel Institute for Visual Arts in a concert of chamber music inspired by the visual art of Enrique Martínez Celaya. The piece will be performed by Hillary Tidman, flute; Laura Usiskin, cello; and Brad Whitfield, clarinet. The event begins at 5pm with a reception and time to take in the artwork, followed by the concert at 5:30pm.

Thursday March 10 5:00pm
BAMA presents Chamber Music at AEIVA
University of Alabama at Birmingham Abroms-Engel Institute for Visual Arts
1221 10th Avenue South
Birmingham AL 35205
5:00pm Reception and art viewing
5:30pm Concert

Follows From Hummingbird is one of a series of pieces I’ve completed recently that uses a circular structure to organize musical modules. The middle section of this piece employs a spirograph-style traversal of the points around the circle which generates a charming flower shape in the score; a welcome side-effect of the process.

Druid City Ensemble Premieres Color Coded Materials of the Artist

CCMOTA green page 1

I’m looking forward to this weekend’s Birmingham Art Music Alliance performances by the Druid City Ensemble – Sarah K. Crocker, harp; Whitney O’Neal, flute; and Dawn Neely, soprano. They’re premiering three movements of Color Coded Materials of the Artist. The composition uses lists of pigments taken from Max Doerner’s classic reference The Materials of the Artist and Their Use in Painting, with Notes on the Techniques of the Old Masters.

 

  • Saturday November 7 2:30pm
    Druid City Ensemble
    Southside Baptist Church
    1016 19th St S
    Birmingham, AL 35205
  • Sunday November 8 2:30pm
    Druid City Ensemble
    University of Montevallo
    720 Oak St
    Montevallo AL 35115

Both concerts are free. The program also includes pieces by Marvin Johnson, Mark Lackey, Jody Landers and Drew Pendergrass.

 

Bridging Circuits and Cities

Tomorrow night I’m performing a new work on Circuit Bridges concert 37.

Thursday October 22, 8pm
Gallery MC
549 W 52nd St, Fl 8th
New York, New York 10019

This concert is part of the Vox Novus Festival celebrating 15 years of work. Vox Novus and Circuit Bridges have teamed up with BAMA in a composer exchange (kind of like hostages, only composers are somewhat more demanding—requiring better food, more liquor—and not as susceptible to audio torture). The exchange began a few weeks ago with the Birmingham Art Music Alliance welcoming a contingent of NY-based composers for the Birmingham New Music Festival. This weekend Monroe Golden, Mark Lackey, Brian Moon, William Price and I are being hosted by Circuit Bridges.

I’ll be performing Alap Catfish Impala,  a new piece for banjo voice and live electronics. It’s a mashup (or maybe a medley?) of clawhammer blues and just-tuned modal improvisations.

Check out the wonderfully eclectic program.