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.
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.
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.
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.
The Birmingham Art Music Alliance kicked off the Beyond 12, 2015 Tour featuring pianist Aron Kallay last night with a performance at the Hoover Library Theater. Aron will perform six more times through April 8. This tour features three premieres of pieces by Alabama-based composers including Monroe Golden, Brian Moon and myself.
My work is titled A History of Elevators in Film, and like all the pieces on the program it features a retuned and remapped piano keyboard. In my case, I’m using Max to retune and remap pitches on the fly in response to the pianist’s performance.
It’s hard for me to believe this piece is more than 20 years old. I wrote it while living abroad as a fellow of the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, and I wrote it especially for Craig to perform. His support and encouragement was so important for me as a young composer as was the experience working alongside him in the newly-formed Birmingham Art Music Alliance. Craig premiered the piece at one of the first concerts presented by BAMA, and this will be one of his last BAMA concerts as a Birmingham resident. Craig will also perform pieces by Michael Angell, Edwin Robertson, James A. Jensen, Brian C. Moon, William Price, Monroe Golden, Bryan Page and Mark A. Lackey.
Soprano Susan Williams will premiere Sudden Swan for voice and live electronics at the Birmingham New Music Festival on Saturday August 23 at 7:30pm. The concert is at UAB’s Hulsey Recital Hall, 950 13th Street South,Birmingham,AL. Admission is free.
Susan and I have known each other since our college days at Birmingham-Southern. Since then she’s landed leading opera roles and appeared with the Cleveland Orchestra, Akron Symphony, Duke Symphony Orchestra and many others. This is the first time Susan and I have worked on a piece together, and we’re so excited to present it on Saturday.
The performer in Sudden Swan improvises a melody to a drone using a small set of just-tuned pitches. Each pitch is associated with one or more words which are strung together to create an ever-evolving poetry. The computer responds to variations in the vocal performance with subtle shifts of timbre, pulsating rhythms, and sometimes unpredictable flourishes.
Wednesday April 9, 8pm
4036 5th Ave S
Birmingham AL 3522
I’ll be presenting my Radicans project which uses small motors and soundbug transducers to transform ordinary objects in the performance space into speakers. Tables, chairs, trashcans and windows come to life in a chorus of electronic chirping, buzzing and spinning drones.
This will be the premiere performance of my brass quintet, Purple Loosestrife (Satellite). The piece functions as a distributed network of musical gestures. Each musician can influence the behavior of any of the other musicians, while simultaneously being influenced by them. No one person is more “in charge” than another. There’s also no predetermined beginning, middle or ending. I sat in on a rehearsal this weekend and loved how the ensemble was working together. I can’t wait to hear how it comes together for the performance.
Also on the program:
Mark A. Lackey – Three Simple Prayers
Bryan Page – now does our world descend
Monroe Golden – Some Day
Jan Vi?ar – Three Marches for Dr. Kaybl
Wesley Johnson – Bluebrass Kebyar
Ron Wray – Dance Like It Hurts
William Price – Sans Titre VII
Fernando Deddos – Rabecando
Nancy Jensen – Polaris Fanfare
The University of Alabama at Birmingham Brass Quintet consists of Dr. James Zingara and Dr. Steve Roberts, trumpets, Dr. Martin Cochran, euphonium, Jeff Koonce, trombone, and Scott Robertson, tuba.