November 12, 2019 – Trip’s End and Writing’s Beginning

November 12, 2019 – Urbana, Illinois

Ralph Happy end

During the remaining time I had at Huddersfield there was a final treat: I met Tim Rutherford-Johnson and heard him speak alongside Aaron Cassidy and Robert Adlington at a seminar. Rutherford-Johnson’s article “A Journey to Aaron Cassidy’s Second String Quartet”  inspired my the trajectory of my research with Cassidy’s work, in how he moves beyond talking about Cassidy’s notation and investigates the ways performers learn his work and how this affects the resulting sounds in the music.

As I was returning back to Champaign-Urbana (even during the reroute of the first leg of my flight from Manchester to Iceland to Orlando), I began to realize how much more clearly I understood the questions I was asking about Cassidy’s music, the aesthetics and technical aspects of it, and sharing this with performers, composers, and other musicians. I felt like I could more cleanly move on from States-side assumptions that had sometimes been caught in the discussions about his work.

The return trip also had me thinking about my gratitude to Phi Kappa Phi, which funded this trip through one of its Graduate Research Grants. I had been so curious about Cassidy and his music for years, even mentioning this as something I wanted to research in my application to the DMA program I am currently in at University of Illinois. The experiences afforded to me by Phi Kappa Phi have deepened my understanding of collaboration in performing Cassidy’s music and how to better share about his work with others.

Now back in Urbana, coincidentally the place where Cassidy was born, I’m finally ready to get to writing.

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