Friday, November 30, 2012

S:nk - Premiere Performance

If you missed Wednesday's hoedown (or if you just can't get enough of my music), come by the Atlas black box at cu boulder 7:30 on Saturday. My newest piece, "S:nk" will be performed by the Boulder Laptop Orchestra, in a concert with special guest Pamela Z.  It should be even cooler than the piece I wrote for Shodekeh and laptop orchestra!

In the 1960’s, biologist John Buck traveled to Thailand with his wife Elisabeth to study the patterns and behaviors of native fireflies. Curious how the small insects could find each other to mate in such dense foliage, Buck captured fireflies from the banks of tidal rivers outside Bangkok and brought them back to his hotel room. When the light was turned off, the fireflies slowly started syncing the flashes of light from their abdomens. Within a half-hour, large groups of insects were blinking at the exact same time. They were looking at each other and altering their phase and the tempo of their flashes to match with the rest of the group! One firefly, flashing alone and out of sync in the middle of the rainforest is weak and ineffectual. But an orchestra of fireflies blinking in unison can light up and entire hillside. In S:nk, each musician is a firefly. This composition asks performers to create and synchronize a wide variety of sounds using only audio and visual clues from others onstage. And only when everyone is grooving in perfect synchronicity does the wild cacophony of beeps, bloops, ticks, and pops start to make musical sense.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Girl Who Screamed Dixie - Orava Quartet

One of the more entertaining and educational activities when I visit my in-laws is hearing stories of my wife as a kid. A child who would run, at full sprint, around her childhood home, singing Dixie with abandon. A girl who burst into tears at the age of three when she learned that the South had lost the war. A kid for whom the term unsweetened tea was an oxymoron. Someone whose unstoppable energy and remarkable perseverance makes me wish I had known her growing up. I’ve been with my wife for ten years; she still sings Dixie with abandon.