Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Arise for 18 solo string players

This is a long, long, long overdue update.

I spent much of 2014 working on a commission from A Far Cry (Boston-based conductorless chamber orchestra) in which I got to realize a long-nurtured vision of musicians in the treetops, playing birdsongs, with fragments of string quartet melodies wafting in and out.

While I didn't yet put musicians in trees, the three levels of four-sided, surround-balconies of the Calderwood Hall at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was a pretty amazing space to explore this visual and sonic idea, and experimenting with the musicians in the space (testing sound, hearing and sightlines) over three months was pretty thrilling!

It's the most fully-realized of my projects exploring three-dimensional sound composition, not to mention three years of birdsong research (17 species, four geographical locales represented). In addition to solo parts, and singing instrumentalists, I had the musicians organized in three different string quartets (strewn across various levels and sides of the hall) which played snatches of melodies. So fun!!!!

Here is a little taster - if you'd like to learn more, you can read the program notes here:

Birdsong-based,  site-specific composition for 18 solo string players of A Far Cry 
and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
April 2013