[Throwbacks.] Tercets

Lago MaggioreBack in 2011, I had just come state-side from six months of study abroad in Budapest when I up and headed back across the Atlantic for a music festival in bella Italia: SoundSCAPE in Maccagno.  [I’ve mentioned SoundSCAPE before, in my post about Jane Rigler’s Two Seamingbut I don’t think I expressed just how beautiful Lago Maggiore is or how inspiring SoundSCAPE was.  If you like new music, don’t hesitate; just go!]

At any rate, I recently found a recording that resulted from a SoundSCAPE collaboration: the world premiere of Kyle Rowan‘s Tercets, expanding.  It was an exhilarating, hold-on-to-your-hats work to perform, and my colleagues Gleb Kanasevich and Joseph Tomasso were amazing musicians.  Kyle did such a fascinating job playing with textures between flute, clarinet, and alto saxophone; I love the way this piece simmers and percolates.  For a listen, check out Kyle’s SoundCloud here.

Tercets, expanding

Premiering Tercets, Expanding with Gleb and Joseph at SoundSCAPE, 2011.

A Seasoned Musician?

Amadeus

Wolfgang and his powdered wig conducting the FSO.

June has arrived, and my first season with the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra has
come to a close.  Puns aside, it has been such a blast!  I have learned so much from my incredibly friendly woodwind and brass colleagues and have gotten to play amazing repertoire, to boot.  Some season highlights include: being part of a live production of
Amadeus
 in collaboration with the Cape Fear Regional Theatre, playing piccolo in Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, and my first ever performance of John Philip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever–on Sousa’s 160th birthday.  For a little peek into what this year was like, check out this flattering review of our Season finale in April: “This performance [of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique] ranked among the best, live or on record.”  Wow!  In short, I feel incredibly blessed.

IMG_6213Meanwhile, in March, I was blessed to begin work at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts’ Community Music School.  My little studio has
taught me so very much in the last three months; I can’t wait to continue working with the students very soon!

Of course, my first year as a DMA student has also ended.  The end of the semester brought me two exciting multimedia experiences.  The first: performances of MAX patches written by members of the Greensboro Laptop Orkestra (GLOrk).

Second, Dr. Michael S. Rothkopf (composer of Coloured Inks) asked me to perform an excerpt of his work Gitanjali with three lovely dancers at UNCSA’s M3 Spree.  Flute, computer, and dance–what an incredible experience!

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“Of the Energies,” by Kate McFalls, at UNCSA’s M3 Spree.

Hired! and other updates.

IMG_5695Time sure does seem to fly when you’re having fun, and the last months have been quite the whirlwind!  I auditioned for the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra‘s second flute opening in May 2014 and still am wildly ecstatic to have been selected for the job.   I played my first concert with the FSO in September, beginning my professional orchestra career with good old Beethoven 5.  While this year is still a probational period for me, it has been such an honor and privilege to perform with such fine musicians!  Check out my profile with the symphony here.

After three amazing weeks in China over the summer, I came back to compete at the Rosen-Schaffel competition in Boone, NC, where I finally proved to myself that I can play from memory.

In November, my good friend Elizabeth Milligan and I performed I Dream of Coloured Inks on a recital featuring compositions by Michael S. Rothkopf at UNCSA’s Watson Hall.  It was amazing to be on a program with some of my former professors.

And now?  I’m working hard at learning Max/MSP, not to mention researching potential dissertation topics.

Remember that time Sir James Galway came to hear a few UNC School of the Arts students play in a masterclass?  I found out, much later, he mentioned us in his blog!  “…the students play to a very high level.”  What a compliment!

I Dream of Coloured Inks.

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IMG_4312Once upon a time, I was given the opportunity to perform a work called Improvisation for Flute and Computer by Dr. Michael S. Rothkopf.  [You can read about that multimedia experience and listen to a recording here.]

Since then, Dr. Rothkopf kindly composed me a work  for two flutes and computer.  His source of inspiration: the Hungarian poem “Mostan színes tintákról álmodom” (“I Dream of Coloured Inks”) by Kosztolányi Dezső.  As theIMG_4317 work evolved, the opportunity arose for the piece to become multimedia artwork with the
addition of a visual component!  A lighting program (influenced by the artwork of James Turrell) was generated by four Design & Production students at UNCSA, with the help of their lighting instructor Norman Coates.

In a performance of Improvisation or Coloured Inks, the computer (Max/MSP) listens to six elements of the sound being generated by the two flutes and makes decisions pertaining to how it will respond musically. Now, however, with the addition of the lighting program in Coloured Inks, the computer also responds visually.

The work was premiered on April 30, 2014 at UNCSA and received a second performance at UMBC in May 2014.  Because the lighting program is being further developed, a link to the work will be available after a third performance late this year.

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Freischütz and Nostalgia.

Opera glovesPrepare yourselves for some opera!  Now’s the time to pull on your dress gloves, should you have them.

Der Freischütz, composed in 1821, was an extremely influential opera in its day, propelling the genre towards its evolution from the opera of the classical period to the through-composed operas of the late Romantic period.  Richard Wagner and his contemporaries were certainly inspired by its composer, Carl Maria von Weber.  The opera itself draws upon Faustian ideas, telling the tale of a man who tries to damn the soul of a friend in an effort to keep his own soul.  (Some friend, right?)  In contrast, the opera’s heroine, Agathe, personifies prayerfulness–and, you guessed it, Agathe is in love with the guy that’s doomed.  Opera wouldn’t be opera without a love interest–it’d be Einstein on the Beach.  The themes from the opera Taffanel uses in his Fantaisie sur le Freischütz revolve primarily around Agathe’s character.  The first theme, “Leise, leise fromme Weise” (or, “Softly, gentle air”) is a prayer of hope.  “Und ob die Wolke” (“And even if clouds veil it”) is a prayer in which she pleads for protection.  The last theme is a coy tune that a friend sings to Agathe in order to cheer her up, called: Kommt ein schlanker Bursch gegangen” or “Whenever an attractive boy walks by.”

I guess I’m in a bit of a nostalgic mood today.  This was the first piece I learned in my time at UNCSA, and it will be the last piece I play representing UNCSA at the Rosen-Schaffel Competition–so I thought I’d post my recording of the piece from last summer.

Recording Rigler.

IMG_3984First off, I’m back on the New World Symphony semifinal sub-list!  Huzzah!

UNCSA’s Master of Music program is very practical; hence, graduate students are required to take a recording class–a class which proved to be one of my favorites at the school.  The craft of the music technician always mystified me, with their mixers and bouncing and Toast.  Needless to say, it was exciting to get to work with software such as Digital Performer!

My recording of Jane Rigler‘s Two Seaming is the result.  I first heard the piece in my junior year as an undergrad.  The dynamic between the two flute parts really struck me; in a live performance, who is playing what becomes ambiguous.  My first performance of the work took place at SoundSCAPE in Maccagno, Italy, with my rivetingly musical teacher Lisa Cella.

In planning the project, I decided to record both parts of the duo myself.  Then came a good many hours of EQing and editing.  You can listen to the finished product here.

 

 

 

The Voice of the Whale.

Krisztina Dér, “electric” flute
Emily Grissing, “electric” cello
Richard Auvil, “electric” piano

Vox Balaenae for three masked players (1971), by George Crumb (b. 1929)
Vocalise (…for the beginning of time)
Variations on Sea-Theme
~ Sea Theme
~ Archeozoic [Var. I]
~ Proterozoic [Var. II]
~ Paleozoic [Var. III]
~ Mesozoic [Var. IV]
~ Cenozoic [Var. V]
Sea-Nocturne (…for the end of time)

January 18, 2014.

20140118_130608“Exuberant, uninterrupted rivers of sound”–these are the words zoologist Robert Searle Payne used to describe the musical sounds produced by humpback whales, which he discovered in 1969.  Payne’s recording of the whale song was given to George Crumb by the New York Camerata, commissioning a work inspired by the voice of the whale (or, Vox Balaenae, in latin).

Vox Balaenae is a synergy of theatrics, extended techniques, musical quotations, and a submarine-sound environment, with the use of amplification (hence the “electric” instruments).  Both the masks worn by the musicians and the deep-blue light in which they perform symbolize (according to the score) “the powerful impersonal forces of nature” by “effacing a sense of human projection.”  The variations are named after geological periods which describe the formation of the world.  The Archeozoic period was defined by volcanic activity and heat, while the Proterozoic period transitioned our planet to the oxygenated (and, thereby, complex-life friendly) atmosphere of the Paleozoic period.  The Mesozoic period is called the “Age of Reptiles” in contrast to the Cenozoic period, the “Age of Mammals.”    Technicalities aside, Vox Balaenae is a work of captivating, mysterious, timeless beauty–very much like a whale itself.

This performance took place on my second Master’s recital: January 18, 2014, in Watson Hall at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.  Richard Auvil (piano) and Emily Grissing (cello) were both gracious enough to help me make my cetaceous dreams come true!

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