Residency at UT-Austin: Adventures in a Sonic Wonderland.


My residency, organized and with thanks to Dan Welcher, starts on Sunday, 10/1/17, with the performance of Being in Time for wind ensemble and electronics by the UT-Austin Wind Ensemble, conducted by the inestimable Jerry Junkin at 4:00 p.m. in the Bates Recital Hall. Originally scored for wind ensemble, conductor-controlled electronics and interactive video, this version focuses more directly on the sonic elements of the piece. For more details of the original, see the program notes here. I created the electronics from recordings I made of members of the UVA wind ensemble, and transformed them into all manner of ways, from the most delicate to the most wild! It is always an adventure into a sonic wonderland to experience both the endless variety of acoustic and electronic timbres.

Next up is a lecture for the Composers Forum from 4:00 – 5:30 on 10/2. I focus primarily on my electroacoustic music, ranging from For the Fallen (amp. trumpet & electronics) to Singing the Blue Ridge (mezzo, baritone, orchestra and electronics from wild animal calls). I will close, however, with a tribute to Charlottesville, and play movement 3 of my Jefferson In His Own Words, for baritone and orchestra. This movement, Justice Cannot Sleep, captures some of Jefferson’s contradictions: his aversion to slavery and his deep reliance on and acceptance of it. The other movements detail other aspects of his complex life: 1. Political Passion 2. Head and Heart and 4. Freedom of Reason.

Other residency events include a Master Class for composition students on 10/3 and a meeting with Russell Pinkston’s electronic music seminar on the afternoon of 104. It closes with the performance of two pieces on the New Music Ensemble concert on 10/4. Both pieces on this program are acoustic: Ockeghem Variations (wind quintet + piano) and Vayter un Vayter (Farther and Farther; baritone, clarinet, violin & piano). The former, commissioned and recorded by the Dutch Hexagon Ensemble, was inspired by Ockeghem’s Prolation Mass, and is a meditation on it. The latter is a setting of three poems in the original Yiddish by Abraham Sutzkever.
A survivor of the Vilna Ghetto and a partisan fighter against the Nazis, his poetry is intense and moving. I chose three contrasting poems, and set them in the original to honor my paternal grandparents and father, whose first language was Yiddish.
I am grateful to David Small, not only for taking on this performance, but also for working with me on the transformations required to recast the vocal line from bass singer to baritone.

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