Excerpt from the program introduction:
“You might be wondering: why have a concert on an island? The space in which a concert unfolds has a profound effect on the musical experience. Whether its an abandoned power plant, a deconsecrated chapel, a neighborhood, or an island, careful attention to this aspect of performance practice has been a theme for NMC composers. When the idea was floated, it immediately clicked for the composers involved that the music should be in conversation with the place.”
“There is also something inspiring about this tiny urban oasis which may not be readily apparent. Although part of the City Parks system, the island has been unofficially adopted by anonymous volunteer custodians inspired to visit regularly and do things like water the grass with a water pump hooked up to a car battery. As a presenter of experimental music, I can relate to this sort of behavior.”
Photo by Thomas Fang
A pair of turns, a pause, in tandem
Steve Parker, trombone
Premiere of my piece “Concerto Laguna” featuring a cello soloist on row boat in the middle of Laguna Gloria. Audience is free to roam around the lagoon as an ensemble of 8 percussionists playing custom made steel bells accompany the soloist. The piece is audible acoustically as well as via lower power FM broadcast. Audience is provided with radios to hear the simulcast and a map of the environment.
Leanne Zacharias, cello
Audience listening with headsets
One of the 8 percussionists
Chamber concert with works by Brent and me
“Turn on the Light” performed by Line Upon Line
“Unitard” by Brent Fariss
Steel bells made for line upon line
A long day of cutting metal with an angle grinder!
This past weekend, I was part of two music events. The first, was a five hour concert I helped organize celebrating 100 years since the birth of John Cage — probably the most influential composer of the 20th century. The second found me at the Long Center in the audience of a Sunday evening performance by the amazing Country Music hall-of-famer Glen Campbell. He is on his final world tour at the age of 76. I was the only one on my row who didn’t qualify for the senior discount at Furr’s Cafeteria.
Both sides of this spectrum can be found represented in an online playlist I was asked to compile by the UT Visual Arts Center. It released to the public today.
This is not a playlist of ironic detachment. I honestly love all this music. One half, I first heard when I was a kid; played over the car stereo on family vacations, grocery stores, dentist offices, and yes… elevators. Streaming from heavily automated middle-of-the-road FM radio stations all over the country, this is music nearly every American was exposed to. The other half, I painstakingly unearthed as a young adult in the stacks of fine arts libraries and obscure sections of small record stores. Demanding of your ears and difficult to commodify, this is music you rarely hear about. In a whiplash inducing alternation, one selection was chosen from each half, for every year over two decades. We begin in 1959, a the dawn of a very active decade for American Experimentalism; and end in 1979 when Billboard Magazine re-branded it’s “Easy Listening” chart as “Adult Contemporary” — soft rock was ascendant. Seemingly a million genre-miles apart, yet somehow, in a strange conversation with each other here. Despite the fact that several of the longer Avant Garde pieces are excerpts, this playlist is almost as long as “Lawrence of Arabia” and not for the impatient!
Glen Campbell & John Cage
John Cage’s 100th Birthday performance. Had a great time curating this show with Michelle, Matt, and Brent.
Performing with old friends Bill Thompson and Holland Hopson at AMODA Performance 17.
Generating scores for Cage’s Variations II, III, and IV for the upcoming performance. These are some of his most fascinating pieces.
Building piano bows for the upcoming performance of Cage’s “Fourteen.”