Here’s a recording of the premiere performance of Follows from Hummingbird for 3 or more sustaining instruments. The performers are Hillary Tidman, flute; Brad Whitfield, clarinet; and Laura Usiskin, cello.
I’m so happy with this first performance; the musicians nailed it. My scores often require a period of workshopping—work that reaches beyond typical rehearsal activity to include comparing alternate realizations, discussing timing, and lots of listening—so premiere performances can be risky. These performers, however, really embraced the spirit of the piece and pulled it off with elegance and aplomb.
The work is based on Hummingbirds (1997) a group of small Oil paintings on linen by the artist Enrique Martínez Celaya.
My piece …then carefully unfolded and placed in… receives its premiere performance tomorrow at 2:30 pm. It’s a big work: 6 movements that each function as a kind of canon, a dronal piece that moves from sunny lydian to spacey locrian. The work is scored for any 5 sustaining instruments and is being performed by
Tomorrow I’ll be performing as part of the Cicada Consort Charity Marathon. The music begins at noon and continues until 8pm. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease Research. My performances will be in the sixth(!) concert of the day (around 5pm) and will include “Steel Bearing Load” for lap steel and computer, “Windowed Pulses” for transducers and computer (one of my radicans project pieces) and maybe a song for banjo and live electronics. Check out the full program.
Saturday March 26 12-8pm
Cicada Consort Charity Marathon
Moody Music Hall
I’m happy to perform as part of Friday’s Tide Talks XIII event. Tide Talks is a student-run lecture series. Each event spotlights four of the smartest, most passionate University of Alabama students you’re likely to encounter. The theme of Tide Talks XIII is “Ideas are Revolutionary.”
Tide Talks XIII
Friday November 20 7pm
Ferguson Center Theater
University of Alabama
I’ll be supporting the student speakers by performing music for banjo and electronics between talks. Vive la revolution!
These works began last spring with recordings of Hank’s students reading phrases from his poem. This summer I edited the recordings, processed them beyond recognition, added more sounds, used the shape of each line from the poem to guide electronic improvisations, and otherwise had a great time designing sounds in the studio. Hank reigned it all in and helped me shape the material into three sections.
Check out the journal for a reproduction of Hank’s visual poetry, or listen to all the audio from the issue below (including a piece by Pauline Oliveros).
Ornette Coleman had such an impact on my life as a saxophonist and composer. When he died last month I revisited his recordings, my memories of hearing him perform live and my experiences playing his music (mostly during ECFA’s ‘repertory’ phase–thanks Carl Smith!). That’s when I realized I’d never tried an Ornette tune on banjo.
This is a version of “Lonely Woman” from The Shape of Jazz to Come for clawhammer banjo. I chose this tune, in part, because Charlie Haden’s iconic pedal-point bass line suggested the drone string on a banjo. I bought this album as a freshman in college and remember listening to it again and again until the sheer mystery and befuddlement and out-of-tuneness of the songs gave way to familiarity, love and (hopefully) some understanding of how and why they work.
The Sonic Frontiers Workshop Series at The Grocery concludes this week. I will present an introduction to interactive electronic music including a live performance or two. Then workshop attendees will create a one-night-only audio installation in The Grocery gallery using the Cycling ’74 Max modular programming environment. The Grocery will be closing its doors at the end of the month, so this is one of the last chances to come experience an important hub for cultural life in the Tuscaloosa area.
Sonic Frontiers Workshop #6
Wednesday June 10 7pm
900 Main Avenue
Bring an instrument/noisemaker, or just come to listen. No previous experience is necessary. The Grocery gets hot in the summer, so dress appropriately.
Tomorrow is the third installment of the Sonic Frontiers Workshop Series at The Grocery. I’ll lead an introduction to Cobra, a musical game created by composer, improviser and saxophonist John Zorn in the mid-eighties. Performers in Cobra use hand-signals and a set of colorful cards to cue ever-evolving musical combinations. Previous experience is not required, so bring an instrument or noisemaker to participate in this fun, fast-paced, sometimes hilarious way to make music together. (Of course, it’s also okay just to listen and watch if you want.)
Wednesday March 11 @ 7pm 900 Main Avenue
Northport AL 35476
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.