I gave a flute masterclass with the class of Teresa Beaman the whole afternoon. It’s remarkable to me how practicing scales, thinking in phrases and playing from the heart are still relevant to us.
Shackle played an evening concert to a full hall of students, faculty and Fresno enthusiasts. California was in the throes of a heatwave and we were hot in more ways than one.
I love Mills College. From the days I was the test case for the development of music software with Larry Polansky and my periodic returns, to the concert Shackle played here in April. The faculty and students change but the feeling of kindred spirits keeps on.
The San Francisco Center for New Music is a courageous and important initiative right in the center of San Francisco. We need spaces and driven people like them to keep the experiments alive and well.
Shackle spent a few days in the gorgeous mountains of Colorado Springs teaching and performing. We were impressed with the variation of backgrounds and diversity of ambitions of this small department. And as the first stop of our tour, we were spoiled with interesting work, great hosting and deep discussions with Glen Whitehead, Jane Rigler, Colin Macallister and their array of students.
More than a few audience members spent parts of the performance with their eyes closed as images floated through their heads in response to our music. Each time we play together we find ways to gently push and wiggle and blend into musical situations unique to our duo. Playing with Tom stretches me and stretches time.
It’s been raining in Seattle ever since that day.
Composer Scott Miller put me to work at St. Cloud State University teaching composition, lecturing and collaborating on two concerts, one in St. Cloud and one at Studio Z in St. Paul.
We took his piece The Strange Fine-Tuning of Our Universe that we performed at KISS2013 in Brussels a giant step further to where I can perform it on the road without him. A sad but practical decision.
We also played my work LonelyStats in duo and quintet form. I’ve revised it to where I recite text about Annabelle Lee from the All American Girls’ Baseball League and Marina Raskova from the Russian Night Witches. My music doesn’t evolve in my head, it evolves on stage from performance to performance.
I had a great time playing Kristian Twombly’s piece The Ship. A conceptual gem. And joining forces with the Fifth Column with Brett Wartchow, Nathan Hanson, Pat O’Keefe and Scott Miller at Studio Z could become a delightful habit if we can keep it up.
The latest newness I had the pleasure of taking part in was the launch of the label Unsounds’ e-store. The digital releases include THE HUM, a set of two works by bassist Joe Williamson and I which we played at the opening. The event was held at Splendor with a devoted audience, many of whom had never been there before.
Joe and I spent the next days creating new work for our next release.
Getting from Athens to Bristol was almost as eventful as playing the concerts.
MAZE flew from Athens home to Amsterdam and then the next morning took off for Bristol, England. Dario, our bass player, got held up at security and missed the flight. Security is to be blamed for not recognizing a simple bluetooth pedal! After the travel day from hell, Dario managed to arrive just in time for the gig which was MAZE playing music to The Bell and the Glass and Screenplay films by Christian Marclay at Arnolfini.
One added benefit to playing at festivals is to catch up with old friends and colleagues and to meet new ones. One particularly special morning hour was spent hanging out with Ellen Fullman and witnessing her play her strings.
I had a free night on 19 February in Athens. My friend and colleague Nicoleta Chatzopoulou set up a lecture at the The Contemporary Music Research Center that founded in 1979 (and officially established in 1986) by Iannis Xenakis. The center revolves around artists and scientists exploring the boundaries between music, art, science and aesthetics.
We wove our way into lively discussions about composer/performer roles in the current European music life and got into the nitty gritty of composing for improvisers. Subjects that I’ve been pondering for over 30 years that are still ripe!