I’m excited to premiere a new work for invented instruments and electronics on Saturday as part of the Birmingham New Music Festival. Crow Chases Red-tailed Hawk uses bullroarers and other instruments that make sound when swung overhead on the end of a string. I’ve been working on prototypes for these instruments–whistles, buzzers, hummers, swoopers–for the last few months and this will be their first public outing.
Birmingham New Music Festival
Mostly Improv Night
October 12, 2019 at 7PM
East Village Arts of Birmingham
7611 1st Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35206
I need help naming the instruments, so please come to the show, listen, and give me your best suggestions for names.
I’ll be performing …about the size of a fist and located slightly to the left of… at the Birmingham New Music Festival electroacoustic concert.
Thursday October 18 7:00pm Birmingham New Music Festival
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Hulsey Recital Hall
950 13th Street South
The piece is an improvisation (composed instrument?) using a custom mapping of an off-the-shelf MIDI fader box (the Korg nanokontrol2 pictured above). The typical position information of each fader/knob is ignored in favor of gestural information about how the control is manipulated over time. This transforms the controls into virtual bellows on a pump organ or springs in a wind-up toy.
I’ll also share the stage with Geni Skendo and LaDonna Smith for an improvisation.
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
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
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.
The Austin New Music Co-op celebrates their tenth anniversary with concerts tonight and tomorrow. Details here; Preview articles in the Austinist and Austin 360. I joined the co-op shortly after it began and enjoyed participating in many memorable events while in Austin.
In honor of 10 years of great co-op concerts, here’s a recording from the September 8, 2006 event featuring Fred Lonberg-Holm. This was the premiere of We Would Like to Take This Opportunity, a work for cello soloist with any three string instruments. The performers here are Fred Lonberg-Holm, cello solo; James Alexander, viola; Steve Bernal, cello; Travis Weller, violin.
The Austin Chronicle has published an interview with Aaron Mace, Church of the Friendly Ghost founder. I’m glad to read that CotFG is still going strong. I have great memories of attending and playing shows there.
I was there most often as part of the Austin Cobra Players, and I don’t think the group would have had nearly as long a run as they did without such a welcoming home as the Church.
One favorite event of mine that wasn’t mentioned in the article was the farewell show for Keith Manlove. Keith’s friends and colleagues performed a surprisingly varied program of works and then Keith led an ad-hoc, yet surprisingly large chamber ensemble in a heartfelt, half-hour long (if somewhat under-rehearsed) reading of one of his works. It couldn’t have happened without Aaron and the Church of the Friendly Ghost.