The Perfect Nothing Catalog11.28.14
Ellipses in emails are confusing (and obnoxious). But well-chosen musical ellipses—in harmonies, chord progressions, rhythms, and melodies—can transfix. ELLIPSIS RULES is a study of these sorts of gaps and omissions.
Old Motion Parade6.20.14
Commissioned and premiered by the New York Youth Symphony as part of their First Music program, Parade of Old Motion was performed at Queens College on May 4, 2014, and at Carnegie Hall on May 25, 2014, conducted by Joshua Gerson.
“…a short, compelling orchestral essay…” — Anthony Tommasini, NY Times
Old Motion Parade abridges great earth-building processes—impossible to comprehend in proper scale—into a brief, abstract pageant. Parade is a tour of musical decay and recycling: great brass beacons smoothly fade into silence, a jig smears into sonic soup, a jaunty progression in the piano and harp rusts and fragments, and burly orchestral chords weaken, broaden, and finally explode into the landscapes we see before us.
Love (after Rochefoucauld)3.26.14
The Yale Glee Club, Jeffrey Douma, conductor, November 22, 2013
from an epigram by Francois de la Rochefoucauld, translated by Tom Clark
much talked about
I have kept most of Tom Clark’s translation, but have used a couple words from other translations. As much as possible, I tried to illustrate the text through the architecture of this brief setting.
NYFOS, Guitar fest, Pulsing & Shaking, Carnegie Hall12.30.13
There are as yet 4 ways to hear my music live this winter and spring: First, Try the Spirits will be performed by the spectacular duo Colin Davin and Daniel James on January 20, 2PM, at Merkin Hall, as part of the New York Guitar Festival. Second, a couple baritone songs about time, (“I Can Wait” and “Self-same Road”) will be premiered on a New York Festival of Song concert curated by the fabulous Mark Adamo (Tuesday January 28 at 8PM). Third, in February, a group of enterprising NYU students whom I adore will present Mise-En-Place (first time in concert without dance!) as part of their two-day festival, Pulsing & Shaking, which explores the persistent influence of minimalism on contemporary composers. Fourth, my orchestra piece All Decays will be performed for the first time by Joshua Gerson and the New York Youth Symphony, on Sunday, May 25 at 2PM at Carnegie Hall. More information and tickets are available here. Cheers!
“In the 21st century, opera appears to be rather artificial unlike the movies for instance. I think it’s necessary to establish and acknowledge that artificiality. And once that’s done in a very simple way then the audience, I think, can react in a much more spontaneous and emotional way towards what’s being told.”
—George Benjamin, Tanglewood program notes
The Vignelli Canon10.26.13
I have always said that there are three aspects in
Design that are important to me:
Semantic, Syntactic and Pragmatic.
Let’s examine them one at the time.
Semantics, for me, is the search of the meaning of
whatever we have to design…
Mies, my great mentor said: “God is in the details.”
That is the essence of syntax: the discipline
that controls the proper use of grammar in the
construction of phrases and the articulation of a
Whatever we do, if not understood, fails to
communicate and is wasted effort.
We design things which we think are semantically
correct and syntactically consistent but if, at the
point of fruition, no one understands the result, or
the meaning of all that effort, the entire work is
useless. Sometimes it may need some explanation
but it is better when not necessary. Any artifact
should stand by itself in all its clarity.