solo oboe d'amore and electronics
Written for and dedicated to Catherine Lee.
Song for Solo Cello is dedicated to Anssi Karttunen. This score was written during the Summer of 2015 in Smithers, British Columbia, for a recital at the Scandinavia House in New YorkCity, Fall 2015. This piece is part of a series of short solo cello compositions written for Mr.Karttunen by allumni of the Creative Dialogue program in Santa Fe and Helsinki.
Stagger was written for Mira Benjamin as part of the Musique de chambre (noire) project developed through a collaboration between Nathalie Bujold (video artist), Quatuor Bozzini, and myself.
The video/tape portion in Stagger consists of remixed/rearranged recordings of Mira Benjamin improvising on the violin in a pre-designed scordatura (retuning of the violin). A similar solo with video/tape was written for each of the members of the Quatuor Bozzini, comprising a set of four short pieces. In the framework of the larger project of Musique de chambre (noire), these half-improvised pieces represent the deep collaboration between myself and the string quartet. Through this compositional method I attempt to blur the boundaries between improvised and written music as well as between composer and performer.
There is a video part that only appears in the last three minutes of the piece, which features the image of a raven on a wire, superimposed with its own reversed image. This footage was taken on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, and this particular raven was well-known as “Barky”, since he would bark like a dog. In the recording session with Mira, she made scratch-tones on the violin to impersonate the sound of barky the Raven that were then used throughout the piece.
In working with an Mira’s improvisation I wanted to make a piece that was almost co-composed by the performer and to allow the performer to integrate their own musical sensibilities and improvisational ideas into the work. Additionally, this workflow shakes up my usual method of composing and the techniques that I often rely upon as I must first understand the musical organization provided to me and react to a huge part of the work over which I have no control.
solo violin and offstage drone
Written for Mira Benjamin, this piece explores formal ideas from Hindustani music. The lowest string of the violin is retuned to a slightly flat F-sharp, corresponding to the just major third of a D. This note is heard throughout the piece as a drone, grounding a microtonal mode and gradually expanding register of the solo instrument. The drone can be produced electronically or by using any number of offstage instruments.