I am currently working on a series of posts about Trade Winds’ collaboration with the CEMUCHCA Music School in Cap-Haïtien, Haiti. But for now, I will just include this short photo album!
This fall, I'll be wrapping up three works for some amazing musicians who I have come to know in the past 5 years through school or music festivals! The first is Silhouettes for bassoon and piano, a 15-minute, 5-movement work commissioned by my former professor Jeffrey Lyman. Silhouettes was inspired by the Paris Conservatory's concours tradition in that it is a large-scale work in which I explored the concept of "virtuosity" for the bassoon beyond technique (a.k.a. "fast notes") including radical dynamic shifts, very long lyrical phrases, registral endurance in both the high, medium, and low registers, as well as in terms of ensemble as the piano part is nearly an equal voice in terms of texture and sound.
And the second is a work for vibraphone and piano for the electrifying Back Pocket Duo (Annie Jeng, pianist and Colin McCall, percussionist). I met these two during graduate school at the University of Michigan, and since forming in 2016, they have found a musical niche somewhere between pop and classical music. Back Pocket Duo works with composers to develop new repertoire for piano and percussion. Our project focuses on the theme of "empathy" and aims to blur the lines between traditional roles delineated in typical concert music: performer to performer, performer to listener, composer to performer to listener, etc.
EMBLEMS is a wind quintet and collective of musicians who value individuality, storytelling, and collaboration. June 3rd we are giving a concert at the University of Oregon featuring some of our favorite works for wind quintet and a world premiere by Nathan Thatcher, commissioned by Emblems with the support of the Barlow Endowment for Musical Composition. The program will last approximately 50 minutes and the quintet will stay afterward for socialization and Q&A. Special thanks to the University of Oregon SOMD for hosting us!
SEEGER, Ruth Crawford - Suite (1952)
KARLSSON, Finnur - Mirrors (2010)
RUMSEY, Brandon Scott - Emblems (2016)
THATCHER, Nathan - Terms of Venery (2018)
My work that was composed for Third Angle New Music and Tony Arnold will be performed in Portland, Oregon on October 21, 2017 at 5pm at the Bowstring Truss House. The evening will also feature world premieres by my colleagues taking part in the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music: David Coll, Hitomi Oba, Dave Reminick, Nina Shekhar, and Carlos Simon. Together with Gabriela, Tony, and Third Angle, we workshopped all pieces in Boonville, California during March 2017. Click here a PDF of the program!
Trade Winds Ensemble has been an inspiration to me since forming several years ago, and now I am thrilled to be joining the TWQ team on an upcoming project. Together, we have launched a crowdfunding campaign for a project taking place in Chicago in June! Please take a moment today to learn more about what we're up to this summer and consider contributing if possible -- any amount helps!
Trade Winds Quintet is a wind quintet who has partnered with organizations in East Africa, but this summer will do so here in our own country. This summer's curriculum will mirror the one that TWQ implemented in East Africa—to teach social-emotional skills through the arts and facilitate the artistic expression of our students. This summer, I'm joining the team as composer-in-residence to create a composition curriculum for the students we will be working with in Chicago. For two weeks, we will partner with local organizations: RefugeeOne and The People’s Music School.
At RefugeeOne, an organization that provides opportunities for refugees fleeing war, terror, and persecution, we will work with children who are new to Chicago, and use music to help them through their transition to life in America. The People’s Music School is a non-profit that provides tuition free music lessons to thousands of Chicago children each year. We will offer summer programming to supplement these lessons. We will also connect these two organizations so our RefugeeOne students have the chance to take music lessons at The People's Music School following our camp.
In 2017, I will be participating in the inaugural Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy for Music. This first session, taking place in Boonville, California, involves seminar discussions with other participant composers, coachings with mentor Gabriela Lena Frank, and a reading session with Tony Arnold and the Third Angle String Quartet. All of this takes place in an unique, intimate setting that is focused on community involvement, cultivating a richly collaborative learning environment, and vigorous attention to the creative process. The culmination of this Academy will be a performance of my new work and the work of the participant composers in Third Angle's hometown of Portland, Oregon in October 2017. My piece Invocation underscores the opening of the preview video here.