ArtEZ University of the Arts based in Arnhem, The Netherlands, asked me to come give a workshop for their Lost in Transition general study day on 16 March where they bring creative students from different art disciplines together. It was the Netherland’s national election day and I had just returned from weeks in North America. What a way to land.
We spent 3.5 hours making, interpreting and remaking one another’s works based on the concepts and practical expressions of transitions. I was flabbergasted and touched to be part of such original, resourceful and wise work coming from these young artists.
David Dramm and I took it upon ourselves to tour together after a 22 year hiatus. We started with a concert at our homebase, Splendor Amsterdam, where we could try a few things out before we hit the road.
I played radical repertoire including works by Sam Pluta, Hugo Morales, David Dramm, Yannis Kyriakides and myself and David told stories about our former tours. We ended the concert with a story that we told together.
First stop was Chicago which is not on the west coast and David was not there. Sam Pluta and I recorded his sonically intense and tremendous to perform Delay/Line. I gave a couple of composition seminars and we joined our favorite bassoon players Katie Young and Dana Jessen for an improv concert at Elastic Arts that was reminiscent of a concert in Splendor that Shackle produced a couple of years ago.
Recording Sam Pluta’s Delay/Line. Univ of Chicago.
David and I met up in Vancouver where he met with the students of John Korsrud and joined me for a concert produced by Music on Main. We get together with David Pay, the director of Music on Main, in the Netherlands and it was a treat to finally spend time with him on his own turf. What a stunning venue the Fox Cabaret is!
Vancouver is the home of the NOW Society run by colleague and close friend, Lisa Cay Miller. We managed to squeeze in a play at the NOW Society INsphere Sessions. I like the way Lisa hears and reacts when we play together. Jeff Younger joined us as did a few others. Nice night of improv with a lot of circular breathing.
Next came a residency at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. I fell in love with the mountain that hovers over the campus. The snowy cliffs and peaks bewitched us with light and shadows moment to moment for four days. I collaborated with six student composers and recorded their flute/electronics compositions. A gratifying lip-buster and just the beginning. We will work together again in Amsterdam in June in a BYU/Splendor exchange residency. David taught lessons for a full day, we gave a joint lecture on Splendor and our work, I led an improv class and we finished with a concert. The rewards of spending time with the musical community of BYU were felt by all.
Another early flight took us to San Francisco where we got in a car and drove to Santa Cruz, American style. We gave another Composition Colloquim and enjoyed the challenge of tweaking our duo presentation. The students told us we brought a freshness to the seminar formant by handing the lead back and forth and into the public.
Our concert was in the Radius Gallery run by the Indexical Foundation. Bravo Indexical for creating a vibrant series with a curious audience from scratch!
The last concert was at the San Francisco Center For New Music. The audience included some new and some dear old friends. Performing for them in such an intimate space gave the concert a sort of conversational flavor. Hello, we’re here to tell you our stories.
Meerenai Shin was the curator for the Center For New Music Concert and this was her last concert.
I was in San Diego, California on January 21, 2017:
We, San Diego Women’s March, peacefully marched in San Diego in solidarity with the Women’s March in DC. We are dedicated to a free and open society. Together we stand united in our respect for all people and we resist the marginalization of anyone. As a diverse, inclusive community of compassionate people, we seek to strengthen and continue our commitment to work for the protection of women’s rights. We stand firm in agreement that women’s rights are human rights.
San Diego, 21 January 2017
With flutist colleagues Jane Rigler and Lisa Cella
My Splendor members concert for 2017 was a run-through of the concert that David Dramm and I will be taking on tour to the West Coast of North America.
I play works by Sam Pluta, Hugo Morales, David Dramm, Yannis Kyriakides and me and David tells stories about our tours from years past mixed with the story of Telemachus.
Now that we know how it feels to perform it, we can tweak it, thanks to the valuable comments by our trustworthy friends and colleagues who came.
7090 celebrated their 15 years by putting on a marathon evening of performances with the artists they’ve worked with over the years in the Orgelpark in Amsterdam.
The Orgelpark has become home to many musicians with their diverse and adventuresome programming and their welcoming of concert ideas.
Years ago I created Treads for 7090. It’s a Max Patch and has undergone more than a few revisions. This time we did the unplugged, super short version with iPads and improv. Nice to revisit a piece with such close friends.
As a composer/performer/improviser and self-taught nerd I am often faced with the conundrum of how to present my work in a way that would be artistically and technically useful without slighting the importance of the necessary performative eruptions that my music needs to come to life.
This time I got to taste the vibe of the UCSD music students while also solving some programming issues in Utter.
I first heard about the legendary John Fonville when I was a Teaching Assistant at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, in the late 1970’s. John had finished his doctorate not long before my arrival and had left a significant mark including his reputation as an adventuresome flutist. I felt that I was following in the footsteps of someone with whom I shared some musical passions and I had never even met the man!
Some years went by and in 1985 I thought a doctorate would be the next path for me so I paid John a visit at UCSD.
Click: We did indeed share some musical passions.
For the next two years we played microtones, multiphonics and developed a duo that the world has never seen the likes of. We commissioned, we improvised and we worked with our friends and colleagues knowing that, in our initmate cirlce, we were forging ground for the flute repertoire of the late 20th century. A bit presumptious of us but we were super motivated to the point of obsessive in our mission.
Our duo continued for a few years with our last performances in Europe at the end of the 1980’s.
Then John and I continued our separate career paths, meeting up occassionally in San Diego when I would pass through.
I still often meet John in my mind, thinking about his particular musicality, virtuosity and unique approach to dealing with the flute. I also think warmly about all those hours we spent learning the Mong Songs, Unengraced and By and taking turns ranting about the injustices of life.
Our music lives on.
One of Splendor’s calling cards is that we like to keep our members on their toes. We opened 2017 in a different location than the last few Parades and we put together a performance space in the round that was all about Opera. The SplendOpeRa.
Imagine, about 30 musicians playing new, old and improvised music that was somehow linked to Opera for 70 minutes in a warehouse with the public in the middle and the performers moving from podium to podium around them!
We made our way to Berlin for a short stay on a snowy day. The concert was part of The Kontraklang Tactile Paths Festival which was a continued celebration of Christopher William’s PhD accomplishments.
We played works that we love to play by Justin Bennett, Yannis Kyriakides and me plus the added extra of Jitterbug by Annea Lockwood who came over from the US to be part of the festivities.
Defending a PhD with music. That made my day!
Especially since I got to see old friends who served as external experts and play part of Cardew’s Treatise.
Check out the dissertation by Christopher Williams here.
Justin Bennett, Reinier van Houdt, me, Christopher Williams.