Lauren and I recently gifted ourselves (for our 6th anniversary) a Nikon D3100 DSLR camera, which I have to say is a pretty remarkable piece of equipment, based on my limited experience (1 month and 11 days, as of this post). Besides taking great pictures – a good quality for any camera to possess – it also takes full HD 1080p video. It is this feature that I, while admittedly on a lot of pain meds for my back, was inspired to use while we were boiling water for what turned out to be pretty amazing homemade eggplant lasagna, using eggplants and tomatoes given to us by our next door neighbors from their epic garden. Lauren of course made the mistake of pointing out to me how cool the boiling water looked in the particular pot we were using, at which point I of course grabbed the camera and commandeered the pot for 5 minutes or so, while she was waiting to, you know, cook pasta.
Anyways, the resulting video, to my very untrained eye, looked quite cool, experimental, and edgy. I’m sure to any actual video artist, it looks like some hack grabbed a camera and taped water boiling. And they was right. I then decided it would go particularly well with a percussion quartet piece I wrote earlier in the year, performed by the Talujon Percussion Group. So I opened iMovie for like the second time ever, and with my cunning expertise, assembled the following product (there are even titles and credits and fade outs and things, which is cool):
This week I received the exciting news that my piece Self, Analyzed (2010) for flute, bass clarinet, percussion, guitar, and toy piano was the winner of the 2012 League of Composers/ISCM Composers’ Competition! This is a national award, with over a hundred applicants each year, and only one (or sometimes two) annual winner(s), so it’s pretty big news! I’m both honored and humbled to receive this award, especially since it means a New York performance of the work sometime in the 2013-14 or 2014-15 concert season. Seems this piece has become my “ringer” as of late. I guess at some point I’ll have to write something else that measures up (or that again uses toy piano, haha).
Below is a recording of the work, performed by the incomparable East Coast Contemporary Ensemble (ECCE) at the Fenway Center in Boston on May 3, 2011:
At long last, I received the recording of Cycles, for violin and cello, written for and premiered as part of New Music on the Point in VT earlier this summer (for more info on NMOP, read my previous blog entry). I was particularly anticipating the arrival of this recording, because – at least at the time – I thought it was a fun piece to write, and hopefully to listen to. It’s different than things I’ve written previously, and I pretty deliberately let myself be “encouraged”, or “inspired”, or maybe “directed by” the influence of Ravel, Stravinsky, and Bartok (among lots of others). Not that it’s exactly “imitative”, but you can definitely feel their aura in the room. Although if you told me it sounds like any one of these composers, I’d take it as a compliment!
So in any event, I thought it would be a cool piece, and in rehearsals, I thought it sounded cool, and in the performance I think I thought it sounded cool, though I’m usually a wreck for premieres, so I don’t remember much. Anyways, with the arrival of the recording, I could at last sit down and hear once and for all whether or not it did indeed “sound cool”. Turns out it did. At least that’s my opinion. But if you disagree, I can always say we have “aesthetic differences of opinion” or something else smart-sounding. I am almost a doctor, you know.
But don’t just take my word for it. Or do, especially if yours is different. Here’s the live recording from the premiere at the University of Vermont on June 16th, performed by the incomparable Ari Streisfeld (of the JACK Quartet) on violin, and Justin “Look-out-for-this-guy-because-he’s-only-a-freshman-and-he-already-kicks-ass” Lepard on cello. Enjoy!
I was very excited (and now anxious) to learn of my acceptance into the New Music On the Point summer composers workshop! Excited because I’ll get to compose two works for some excellent performers (including the JACK Quartet). Anxious because, well, I now have to write two works for these excellent performers in the next month!! At least I know what I’ll be doing with my time…