Aqua Vitae, for percussion quartet
SFA Percussion Ensemble
Stephen F Austin University
The Initiation (premiere)
Georgetown Waterfront Park
Where the sidewalk ends... (premiere)
Nikita Fitenko, piano
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Category Archives: Uncategorized
Two new pieces were premiered this spring: back in March, cellist Dan Shomper gave the premiere of Vox Animarum, and in April, Colin Hill and the percussion ensemble at Tennessee Tech University premiered Aqua Vitae, for percussion quartet.
Both of these pieces were written over my sabbatical last fall, and in each work I’m trying something entirely new to my compositional vocabulary: in the cello piece, I worked with Dan on bow pressure techniques that widen the timbral spectrum to include quite a bit of noise in the cello’s tone. In the percussion quartet, I decided to work with a collection of junk instruments (bits of metal and wood) alongside traditional percussion instruments like bass drums, toms, marimbas, and vibraphone. Aqua Vitae, as you might guess from the title, was written as an homage to the centuries-old whiskey making process. You can read more about both pieces via these links: Vox Animarum, for solo cello, Aqua Vitae, for percussion quartet.
Go here to check out the Spektral Quartet tearing through Passage Through the City, premiered this past summer out in Chicago at The Hideout. It was absolutely amazing working with these guys: I love the energy they brought to my piece, and I’m looking forward to hearing it again this season in DC.
On November 8th, Bounce will be premiered in its new incarnation as a piece for large wind ensemble. David Vickerman and the winds from The College of New Jersey are going to rock: the program is quite an ambitious foray into newer repertoire for winds (Schwanter’s In Evening’s Stillness and Mackey’s Asphalt Cocktail are also on the program!). Have a listen to some excerpts from the original orchestra version of Bounce here. I’ll be visiting the TCNJ campus the week before to work with the group in rehearsal, and to be a guest on the College’s brown bag series to talk about the process of converting orchestra to wind ensemble.
Due to the effects of hurricane Sandy, the Benjamin T Rome School of Music at The Catholic University has decided to cancel its concerts scheduled at Carnegie Hall this coming week. This unfortunately includes the 11/7 premiere of my orchestra piece What I Decided to Keep. Frustrating – but compared to what many others have lost, a canceled concert is small potatoes indeed. And the show does go on: they will be performing the concert on the same date and time, but down in DC at Ward Concert Hall on the Catholic University campus. If roads and weather cooperate, I expect to be there.
While we’re on hurricane related matters, if you’re in a position to help those in need in any way, please do so. People affected by the storm really need your help right now, particularly as temperatures start to drop. For those of us with power and internet, it is surprisingly easy to find ways to help: if you’re able to, take a few minutes, hunt around, and find a way to pitch in.
Within the NYC new music community, my friends at New Amsterdam Presents were hit pretty badly by the storm. You can read about their situation here.
As the semester comes to a frantic close, I’ve got two performances coming up in the next few weeks that I’m really excited about: Trio Chiaroscuro comes to DC on Tuesday, 5/1 to play Tudo Bem? Tudo Bom? at the Atlas Theatre (click here tickets and info); and Bounce, my new orchestra piece, will be read by David Alan Miller and the Albany Symphony on May 17th as part of their American Music Festival.
Summertime projects include a piece for two harps for another chamber group with a multi-syllabic Italian name (the Sprezzatura Duo!), a string quartet for the Chicago-based Spektral Quartet, and a temporary relocation to New Haven, CT for the 2012/2013 academic year.