In January I had a series of performances; my masters recital and two dates with composer/performer Elliot Cole.
My masters recital consisted of repertoire that I have commissioned (Brian Harnetty – “Could I tell you a little story about that?”/Nick Zammuto – “Green Yellow Green Red”), a new-ish work (Matthew Burtner – “cloudprints”), a percussion standard (Minoru Miki – “Time for Marimba”), and two rare, early pieces of electroacoustic music from John Cage.
It’s important for me to acknowledge the history of my field, but also to keep pushing it forward – I felt that this collection of pieces displayed that desire.
The two pieces by John Cage fit both bills simultaneously. “Imaginary Landscape No. 1” for piano, percussion and two turntables is a rarely performed work due to the turntablists needing rare RCA/Victor test tone 78s. I was able to borrow the records necessary from Allen Otte of the Percussion Group Cincinnati for my performance. The other Cage work was “Imaginary Landscape No. 2,” but not the version we know of. There was an earlier version of the piece for the same instrumentation as number 1 that Cage withdrew from his catalog a couple of years after writing it. Using scores that were located in the John Cage archive of the New York Public Library, I was able to present the work for, possibly, the first time since Cage and his group performed it in the late 1930s.
Over the past couple of years I’ve developed a working relationship with composer Matthew Burtner. Last year we presented a concert of his multimedia works as a part of the Athens International Film Festival and this year we will premiering his new evening length piece “Deep Earth” for ensemble, electronics and video projections at the film fest. I’m really taken by Matthew’s work and decided to include his piece “cloudprints” on my program. “cloudprints” has a variable instrumentation so for this performance I choose to use piano, percussion and two performers playing laptop sine wave generators. I also created some video projections from videos of clouds that I found on the internet to try and create a more immersive environment for the audience.
Brian Harnetty’s “Could I tell you a little story about that?” was one of two works on the program that I commissioned. I worked with Brian on his album “The Star-Faced One” and found his work incredibly interesting, so I started asking him to write a piece for me. After a couple of years he finally had time to get around to writing it. The result is a work for vibraphone and 4 cassette tapes.
I also did two dates with my group, nobrow.music.collective, and composer Elliot Cole for his midwest tour or “Hanuman’s Leap.” Elliot set a portion of the epic Ramayana for 8 voices and percussion, but performs the vocal parts solo by recording 7 parts and singing the 8th live. His setting incorporates many different musical elements (throat singing, beat poetry, hip-hop, and reggae to name a few) that are woven together into a unique piece that doesn’t come across as trying cover a broad spectrum of influences just to do it (if that makes sense). Elliot is completing his doctoral studies at Princeton and is really starting to make a name for himself, so it was a really great experience to perform with him at the Union and at the Chameleon in Cincinnati.