Monday, August 26, 2013

Notations 12: Violette and Llach

Here is the twelfth installment of Notations! Inspired by Cage's 1969 bookNotations is a collection of graphic scores, hand drawn music calligraphy, computer code, compositional sketches, text scores, and other innovative forms of musical notation.

Every Monday we'll showcase notation by two different composers, primarily focusing on those local to Los Angeles. This week's composers are Andrew Violette and Federico Llach.

All images used with permission, and copyright is retained by each image's respective creator. Click on the images to see a larger view.

From Amor Dammi Quel Fazzolettino by Andrew Violette


Andrew Violette, a composer and pianist, has assembled a large portfolio of works since the early 1970's, when he was a student of Elliott Carter and Roger Sessions at the Juilliard School. Mr. Violette is a Romantic with Minimalist leanings, although his language does not easily fit into either category. His Romanticism, in other words, is evident in his penchant for monumental chord blocks and swirling filigree, but there is also a hefty measure of more contemporary dissonance and angularity. He has adopted the Minimalists' techniques of repetition and gradual expansion, but since his music is somewhat spikier and less consonant than typical Minimalism, one doesn't hear it as being of the Minimalist school.

More info at www.andrewviolette.com

From Perishable Music by Federic Llach

Federico Llach is a composer and double bass player. Prior to moving to Santa Barbara - where he is studying composition with Clarence Barlow and others - he worked with some of the most remarkable performers and conductors of Buenos Aires' contemporary music and jazz scene, both as composer and performer. Earned a Degree in Compositon (IUNA, 2009) and graduated from Escuela de Música Contemporánea (2003). In 2009 was awared with the Melos‐Gandini Scholarship. Received the Sadaic award in Composition for his work "Talampaya", for orchestra, premiered by Argentine National Symphony Orchestra. He is currently the Artistic Director and double bass player of the Now Hear Ensemble.

More info at www.federicollach.com

Thursday, August 22, 2013

REVIEW: SW Chamber Music @ The Huntington, 8/11


On August 11, I had the pleasure of attending one of Southwest Chamber Music's Summer Festival concerts on the peristylar loggia of the Huntington Art Gallery. I had spent that afternoon on a panel for the Society of Experimental Musicians, discussing the importance of context in music. As we entered the Huntington estate and boarded the loggia, it occurred to me that there may not be a more appropriate context in the Los Angeles area to hear chamber music by the likes of Wagner, Reger, and Brahms.

For those unaware of the Summer Festival at the Huntington, it is available from two angles. The musicians are positioned on the outer edge of the loggia, facing the art gallery's entrance. The more affluent audience members sit up on the loggia with the chamber ensemble facing them. The rest of the audience sits on the lawn, with a view of the musicians' backs. However, this doesn't diminish the experience of attending the concerts. The music is still perfectly audible, and it allows these audience members the chance to picnic and luxuriate on the expansive lush pasture, similar to attending a Cinespia screening at Hollywood Forever (but less crowded).

With a perusal of the festival's program book, one could infer a curatorial exploration of dichotomy as a festival theme. The first night opened with Stravinsky's Wind Octet, while another concert closed with Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht. This coming weekend's concert presents Benjamin Britten and Hans Werner Henze together, perhaps recallling the warring factions of Western Europe's great wars of the 20th century. The presence of dualities could explain the programming of Wagner's Albumleaf for Betty Schott on this particular concert. The first music that Wagner wrote after completing Götterdämmerung, you can hear the composer taking a breath of fresh air as this refreshing piece floats on a breeze of ornamentation. While pianist Ming Tsu did a great job treating this piece with due delicacy, my favorite moment was when the doppler effect of a distant small plane inched it's way across the tonal center for a brief second in the piece's opening. It was a wonderful moment of subtle Lucier-esque magic, and a perfect way to open the evening's proceedings.

Returning to the theme of context and dichotomy, Reger's Quintet in A major for Clarinet and Strings, Op. 46 was presented as the work of an intermediary composer between Wagner and Brahms. I must admit that I am less familiar with Reger's output than I'd like to be, so it was a welcome treat to hear his music live. The ensemble, featuring clarinetist Jim Foschia, presented a clear and articulate performance of Reger's work. Much of the writing involved the clarinet playing long, lyrical phrases while the string quartet churned and arpeggiated around it. Southwest Chamber Music's string quartet, consisting of Lorenz Gamma, Shalini Vijayan, Luke Maurer, and Peter Jacobson, did a stellar job as usual melding their playing into singular musical entity, gilding Foschia's clarinet.

After an intermission, Andrew Pelletier took the stage with Ming Tsu and Lorenz Gamma to perform Brahms' Trio in Eb for Violin, Horn, and Piano, op. 40. Pelletier played against brass stereotypes with his skillful ensemble blending and tasteful dynamics. I especially enjoyed their performance of the melancholic Adagio. Again recalling context, the relatively unadorned austerity of the Brahms drew attention to itself in contrast to Wagner's Albumleaf. With Reger couched between the two, the result was an evening-length treatise on late 19th century European music.

Southwest Chamber Music has one more concert in their Summer Festival at the Huntington, and it is this weekend. On August 24 and 25 they will present pieces by Benjamin Britten, Hans Werner Henze, and Leos Janácek. I would suggest treating yourself to a wonderful evening of music at the Huntington.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Notations 11: Fink and Wadle


What is often described as imperfection is in fact the true the beauty of the world. With that in mind, here is the eleventh installment of Notations, once again a day late!

Inspired by Cage's 1969 bookNotations is a collection of graphic scores, hand drawn music calligraphy, computer code, compositional sketches, text scores, and other innovative forms of musical notation.

Every Monday (Tuesday this week...) we'll showcase notation by two different composers, primarily focusing on those local to Los Angeles. This week's composers are Michael Jon Fink and Douglas C Wadle.

All images used with permission, and copyright is retained by each image's respective creator. Click on the images to see a larger view.

Sketch for A Folio of Large and Small Worlds Ending
by Michael Jon Fink
Michael Jon Fink is a composer/performer who resides in the San Fernando Valley just north of Los Angeles. For the last thirty years he has served on the faculty of the Herb Albert School of Music at the California Institute of the Arts where he teaches Composition, Orchestration and Analysis. He has composed concertos for soprano saxophone, bass clarinet, violin and cello as well as incidental music for two plays by W.B. Yeats and three by Wajdi Mouawad. "A Folio of Large and Small Worlds Ending", a chamber concerto composed for world-renowned avant-garde cellist Frances Marie Uitti (who plays with two bows at the same time) was premiered at REDCAT in March 2012. He recently composed the score for Tareq Daoud’s short dramatic film La salle des maîtres, an Official Selection of the Film Festival Locarno. His “Prelude to Alone” for clarinets, trombones and electric guitar appears on the new “Cold Blue Two” CD Anthology (Cold Blue Music: CB0036 ). M.J.F. has been a composer/improviser with experimental and new music groups that have included the Negative Band, Musica Veneris Nocturnus, Stillife and Ghost Duo; and currently plays electric guitar with Pickaxe (Noise), Gods of Rain (Experimental Metal), the Feedback Wave Riders (Free Improv) and Trio Through the Looking-Glass (Jazz-inflected). His music appears on the Cold Blue, Contagion, C.R.I., Trance Port, Raptoria Caam and Wire Tapper labels.

More info at michaeljonfink.com


Logos No. 4 by Douglas Wadle

Douglas C. Wadle was born in 1977 in Hammond, Indiana and currently resides in Los Angeles. His work is rooted in the American Experimental tradition and frequently features extended just intonation and alternative notations. He also draws upon experimental literary and theatrical practices and his studies of auditory and visual perception, logic, and philosophy (of language and mind, primarily). Wadle has composed for various chamber ensembles and is an active performer in, primarily, interdisciplinary contexts, utilizing trombone, voice, text, visual arts and movement. He is a founding member of ,, duo and performs with The Unbuttoned Sleeves, a transdisciplinary improvisational quartet under the direction of dancer/poet Simone Forti. He studied Comparative Literature and Music at New York University (BA), Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Los Angeles (MA), and Music Composition, with James Tenney and Marc Sabat at the California Institute of the Arts (MFA). He previously taught at the California Institute of the Arts and is currently pursuing graduate studies in philosophy. Wadle's scores are published by Plainsound Music Edition. He co-authored the book Unbuttoned Sleeves (Beyond Baroque Books, 2006) with Simone Forti, Terrence Luke Johnson, and Sarah Swenson. His visual art scores, Amphibolyand Logos prior Logos, are included in the anthology, Notations21 (Mark Batty Publisher, 2009). He is a contributing editor for (The Open Space Magazine). His music has been recorded on Exit Records.
More info at douglaswadle.com

Going Away Concert, 8/21 @ 50/50 Gallery!


Stina Haraldsdottir and Daniel Corral are both leaving very soon to go to their respective Northern homelands (Iceland and Alaska)! 

As a going away concert, they will be doing a free performance of electro-acoustic accordion/viola duets at the 50/50 Gallery in Highland Park on Wednesday, 8/21/13.

Come down to this free show in Highland Park to hear/see this exciting duo play their last performance in LA before they both head homeward!

The concert starts at 8pm!
50/50 will provide a cash bar as well, so come thirsty!

Address:
50/50 Gallery

Monday, August 12, 2013

Notations 10: Nakagawa and Hagen

Here is the tenth installment of Notations! Inspired by Cage's 1969 bookNotations is a collection of graphic scores, hand drawn music calligraphy, computer code, compositional sketches, text scores, and other innovative forms of musical notation.

Every Monday we'll showcase notation by two different composers, primarily focusing on those local to Los Angeles. This week's composers are Alan Nakagawa and Daron Hagen.

All images used with permission, and copyright is retained by each image's respective creator. Click on the images to see a larger view.

Organ of Corti by Alan Nakagawa

Alan Nakagawa is a sound artist based in Los Angeles. He is an inter-disciplinary artist that melds visual practices with sound and video. Primarily creating work through automatic techniques and improvisation, inherently campaigning to make humanized technology driven art, and giving the neat and the messy equal opportunity. Nakagawa co-founded arts collective Collage Ensemble Inc. (1984-2012), curates the weekly Ear Meal Webcast, coordinates public art for the LA Metro, documents his meals, is a member of Ear Diorama Ear and the Southern California Soundscape Ensemble, and prefers crunchy peanut butter over smooth.

More info at collagecollage.com

Compositional sketch from Amelia by Daron Hagen

Daron Hagen's work has been widely commissioned and performed by most of North America's major musical institutions, and he has collaborated with many distinguished musicians. His music can be heard on the Albany, Arsis, Bridge, Clarion, GPR, Klavier, Naxos, and New World/CRI labels, among others. He has been awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Kennedy Center Friedheim Prize, two Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Fellowships, ASCAP and BMI prizes, and the Seattle Opera Chairman's Award. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Curtis Institute of Music and of the Juilliard School, he has taught at Bard College, the Curtis Institute of Music, and the Princeton Atelier, and fulfilled numerous composer-in-residencies around the U.S. He is a Lifetime Member of the Corporation of Yaddo, former President of the Lotte Lehmann Foundation, and a Trustee of the Douglas Moore Fund for American Opera.

More info at daronhagen.com

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Notations 9: Garretson and Norton

Here is the ninth installment of Notations! It's a little late, due to preparation for my own concert this weekend at REDCAT's NOW Festival!

Inspired by Cage's 1969 bookNotations is a collection of graphic scores, hand drawn music calligraphy, computer code, compositional sketches, text scores, and other innovative forms of musical notation.

Every Monday (Tuesday this week...) we'll showcase notation by two different composers, primarily focusing on those local to Los Angeles. This week's composers are Weba Garretson and Nick Norton.

All images used with permission, and copyright is retained by each image's respective creator. Click on the images to see a larger view.

Page 2 from Blueberry Pie by Weba Garretson and Nathaniel Scoble

When musician Weba Garretson arrived in Los Angeles in 1979 she was a young girl of twenty-three standing on the brink of what’s proven to be a fascinating career. Garretson is a classically trained singer but she has a wild streak, and her music has moved in daring directions. From punk rock, to Kurt Weill, to performance art, and avant garde jazz, she’s able to bend her talents in any and all directions.

More info at webagarretson.com

Triangular Rhythms by Nick Norton

Nick Norton studied composition in college at UC San Diego, then at L'ecole Normale de Musique de Paris, then in graduate school at King’s College, London and UC Santa Barbara. He’s been really lucky, because he’s had great teachers along the way, including Clarence Barlow, Joel Feigin, Lei Liang, Robert Keeley, Rand Steiger, Chinary Ung, and Harvey Sollberger. Nick plays in the band Better Looking People With Superior Ideas and is a vice president of Music to Heal.

More info at nickwritesmusic.com

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Busy Week!


It's been a wonderfully productive summer, and I just want to remind the world about the exciting things I've got going on this week. I am especially excited about Dislike, which will be at REDCAT's NOW Festival August 8-10! Dislike, which is based on the most disliked video on Youtube, is a 21st century operatic testament to the breadth of emotions swirling around the Internet. However, there are also several other events this week that I'd like to tell you about.

Tonight will be the outdoor premiere of LA Canon, a piece of mine for many suspended cymbals! This will take place at Moon Canyon Park in Mt. Washington at 7pm. I am excited to be part of this concert curated by Archie Carey.

Next is Dislike, which will be at REDCAT as part of the 2013 NOW Festival from Thursday through Saturday! Dislike exposes the dark side of online anonymity and open-forum communication by deconstructing 24-hours worth of comments on the most "disliked" video on YouTube. Members of experimental choir People’s Microphony Camerata will speak and sing a text taken from comments left on the video’s YouTube page while experimental accordion orchestra Free Reed Conspiracy will create a post-ambient soundscape with 8 accordions.

Then on Sunday, I will be part of a panel for James Klopfleisch's Society of Experimental Musicians. This will take place at 1pm at Artshare!

That's all for now. I hope to see you at REDCAT, and possibly at one of these other exciting (and free) events!