This Friday I had the privilege to be a guest presenter for Heidelberg University’s composition studio. I had attended their concert a few weeks before was really looking forward to talking with them. I showed some of my recent work Straight Into Tangles for live-to-Zoom Orchestra and demonstrated DuoTube. What I appreciated was that as we talked about developing opportunities and meaningful collaborations, the questions kept coming. I discussed my experiences with the Urbana Arts and Cultural Grant program in creating All Score Urbana as part of a jumping off point and Dr. Kennedy already had a grant program that is happening Tiffin, Ohio on hand. I hope Heidelberg’s composers continue to be create, dream big, and explore programs and concerts they can do in collaboration with community members and spaces.
This Saturday, November 6th, as part of As if radio’s longform radio broadcasts about COP26, Dr. Mike Minarcek will be premiering a radio work for voice and percussion (a car’s interior) called “convenient words/exactly lost.” It is my setting of one 0f a handful of texts written by Bradley Njus. It will be broadcast at the following website from Glasgow, Scotland at 2 pm Central, with a short interview with Mike and me to follow – http://acousticommons.net/listen/
This summer All Score Urbana began its next Urbana Arts and Culture grant-supported program–Community of Song. We are current working on over a dozen projects with composers, songwriters, performers, and singers. We will be announcing the specifics of the upcoming February concert in the next few months. I have loved seeing the collaboration, question asking, and mentorship that have been coming out of these projects. While a lot of art-making involves technical feedback, it makes me happy that people seem to get how we try to make this a warm, empathetic working space (in this case, a mostly virtual working space).
A related project finds some of the teaching artists collaborating with former Urbana Poet Laureate Will Reger’s Red Herring Poetry Celebration, another Urbana Arts and Culture-funded program. ShayLyssa Alexander and Mike McAndrew will be performing Possibility of Routine, a new song I wrote that is inspired by “Migraine,” a poem by Anne Zysman-Schulman. I have wanted to write for ShayLyssa’s amazing voice for a very long time and I am excited to hear her performance this Friday at the Channing-Murray Foundation.
This weekend I had the privilege of presenting my paper about Rebecca Saunders’ music at Darkwater Womxn in Music Festival. I attended virtually and I deeply appreciate everything Sarah Busman did to create and facilitate the event. My presentation was part of the first event on the first day, so I was able to especially focus on the other presenters and presentations throughout the weekend. Some of my favorite presentations included Didaktic MK’s set, Hyun Ji Choi’s performance of Nadia Boulanger’s Trois Pieces pour Violoncelle et Piano, and UNCP’s Percussion Ensemble’s performance of Annika Socolofsky’s work. Charly Lowry’s keynote address and concert were absolutely spellbinding and so inspiring. I hope I can attend this event in person in the future.
Earlier this month Straight Into Tangles was finally released after a year-long collaboration with Oberlin Arts and Sciences Orchestra. On August 6th, it received its web premiere. I especially enjoyed the talkback we did afterwards with people who attended.
On August 16th, we presented the work at New Music Gathering. In addition to showing the work, we talked as a panel about making it, the different modes of experimentation and collaboration that happened throughout the process. I was particularly moved by the orchestra members’ thoughts and sense of stakes within the process and the piece. That they felt it was theirs and were proud of their work made me so happy.
I’m pleased to share that Can’t Take You Anywhere won Best Student Composition at CMS South Central, DuoTube won CMS’s Student Composition Award, and “Revisiting the Music Box-Like Foundations of Rebecca Saunders’ Compositions” won best student paper at CMS Northwest.
As I conclude my days as a graduate student (I successfully defended in May but am waiting until things are deposited completely to post about it here), I am grateful for these opportunities and awards during what has been such a trying, scary year for all of us.
I had the pleasure of giving a guest talk last month with USF New Music Consortium. The talk focuses on collaboration. Because of this, I asked my longtime collaborator Thomas Carroll (historical performance clarinetist, instrument builder, and so much more) to join me.
Urbana Arts & Culture Program recently announced its 2021–2022 grantees, including this summer’s All Score Urbana: Community of Song project. As always, All Score Urbana seeks out grants and other funding so participants (Champaign-Urbana residents) never have to pay to participate in activity.
This summer’s opportunities will feature teaching artists ShayLyssa Alexander, Thereza Lituma, Michael McAndrew, Michaela Wright, and myself. We’ll be looking to support existing and new projects focused on a songwriting, spoken word, and related areas of expression. We have begun reaching out to other creators in the community and hope to have rich collaborations with local poets, writers, instrumentalists in addition to songwriters, spoken word artists and singers of all ages.
We are currently firming up the exact scheduling but the basic timeline is:
• We will announce specifics dates and have an online sign up form so we can best figure out how to collaborate and connect participants with what we’re offering (general curiosity, just attending concerts or workshops, or out of the box ideas are ALWAYS welcome!)
• Late June to end of July: online workshops, one on one support, and pairing participants with the singer/performer of their choice.
• Mid-September: participants deliver songs, spoken word, and other works for the teaching artists
• January or February 2021 we will be presenting the works on a virtual concert with Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center’s Sounds Like Community Concert Series.
For more information, contact me through the contact link above or at email@example.com.
I am very grateful to USF for staging its 2020 International New Music Festival in a safe, online way. DuoTube was selected and USF’s students did a wonderful staging of it. The link is set to play from that part of the concert, but I highly recommend watching the entire concert.