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.”

Feeney/Richman Melt Glacier


Wendy Richman and Tim Feeney will play my work Glacial Erratics Friday on the second concert of the 2015 Birmingham New Music Festival.

Friday October 9 at 7:30pm
The Dance Foundation
1715 27th Court South
Homewood AL

Friday’s program includes music by Andrew Dewar, Marvin Johnson, Davey Williams; guest composer David Morneau; and fellow founding members of BAMA Rusty Banks and Charles Mason.

The 2015 festival includes 6 concerts throughout the city. All events are free. Check out the program for the whole festival. Read preview articles at ArtsBham and B-Metro.

Kallay Tour Underway

A History of Elevators in Film (excerpt)

A History of Elevators in Film (excerpt)

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.


Anthony Braxton at Alabama

Braxton Poster 150210 16x9 smaller

I’m so excited to be part of Anthony Braxton’s week-long residency at the University of Alabama kicking off tonight with a free solo saxophone concert at the Bama Theatre and running through February 25th. Sonic Frontiers is presenting these events; visit their site for the full schedule of events. All events are free.

I’ll be performing on Friday’s concert as part of the Falling River Music Septet along with Anthony Braxton (reeds), Taylor Ho Bynum (brass), Andrew Raffo Dewar (soprano saxophone), Tim Feeney (percussion), Mary Halvorson (guitar) and Ingrid Laubrock (reeds). This is such an amazing lineup, and it’s just one of many throughout the 6-concert residency.

In preparation for this residency I’ve been listening to many Braxton recordings, starting with For Alto and moving through the entire Arista Records box set. I thought I had a grasp of Braxton’s work having heard selections here and there (likely beginning with the Muhal Richard Abrams duo on the Smithsonian Jazz compilation). But I was completely unprepared for both the amount of musical material and the incredible range represented: from ragtime and marching band music to post-bop solos and Sun Ra-like grooves, from the density of his music for four orchestras to the spare, spacey explorations on For Trio. And that barely gets us through the 1970s! I can’t think of another composer with such stylistic richness and diversity.

Sonic Frontiers Presents Holland Hopson and Justin Peake

I’m excited to perform next week as part of the Sonic Frontiers season. I plan to play a set of pieces for banjo and electronics drawing from the material on Post & Beam, adding a few new twists, and hopefully including one or two “sound bug” pieces from my Radicans project.

Also on the bill is Justin Peake, a New Orleans based percussionist/composer known for his work as Beautiful Bells. Justin is a Tuscaloosa native, so this will be a homecoming performance for him.

I think it’s going to be a great night!

Thursday March 7 2013 at 7:30pm
Bama Theatre Greensboro Room
600 Greensboro Ave.
Tuscaloosa AL
Admission is Free.

Justin Peake – Workshop at Badabum Atelier from Michelle Ettlin on Vimeo.

Shout Outs from Metroland: Best of the Capital Region 2010

Metroland Best of the Captial Region 2010; Cover photo by Alicia Solsman

Metroland’s Best of the Capital Region for 2010 came out last week and I am surprised and pleased to be included as the Best Retro-Futurist. Sure, it’s a made-up category, but it’s a good fit. Here’s what they have to say:

Composer and instrumentalist Holland Hopson has been a contributor to the region’s avant-garde music scene for the better part of 20 year—whether it’s vocal excursions that meld Gregorian chant and Dada, or soprano sax forays that come pretty close to “straight-up” jazz, the breadth and range of this iconoclast’s musical journey has always been intriguing, albeit way outside of the box. Hopson’s recent blending of traditional tunes (performed with vocals and banjo) and subtle electronics has turned him into one of the area’s most mesmerizing and memorable live performers. Catch him if you can, as his local shows tend to be few and far between.

Metroland has identified plenty of other (probably more deserving) best-of recipients including such friends and colleagues as Jason Cosco/Grab Ass Cowboys (Best Noise Wrangler); EMPAC (Best Music Curation) — this ought to read Micah Silver, in my opinion, since he is the Music Curator at EMPAC; The Sanctuary for Independent Media (Best Activist Community Arts Center); and Emily Zimmerman (Best Emerging Curator).

These accolades come on the heels of a conversation with a friend at the latest show presented by the Albany Sonic Arts Collective. We were talking about how important it is for a community of artists to receive some recognition from the local press and the concomitant pitfalls of letting it go to your head. A timely conversation for the former and hopefully we’ll avoid the latter. The ASAC event was a great set of performances, by the way, particularly from Fossils from the Sun (Ray Hare) and Family Battle Snake (Bill Kouligas).