Representative Works (6)
Farewell...(grief cycles) for violin, dbl. viola,
and audio playback (2000/08)
Farewell... addresses the idea of traumatic loss. When dealing with loss, one can experience various and sometimes radically shifting emotional states. Four emotional states are represented here through four different musical behaviors. At the beginning of the work, these behaviors shift or blend very coarsely at first, similar to the way in which people sometimes experience shifting moods and emotions when grieving. Over a cycle of four movements, the musical behaviors intercut and combine at greater and more extreme degrees, to the point where elements of all four behaviors are compressed together to create “hybrid” states. I offer a metaphorical example: one could be laughing, then laughing nervously, then break into uncontrollable tears; one may wish to “talk about it,” yet not be able to find the words to describe the way s/he feels.
Farewell was composed for and is dedicated to Mark Menzies.
PDF of SCORE - 28
California Tableaux "Tableau I:
Songs, Stories, Prayers, and a Plate of Brass" (2017)
Through music, spoken work, video, and dance, California Tableaux dramatically presents pivotal inter-sections of race in California since the late 16th Century. With a libretto assembled as a pastiche of murderous short stories, tall tales, poetry that dreams of new worlds, and folk, pop, and native songs, the opera interrogates and celebrates California's cultural collisions, conflicts, and mixtures, from Sir Francis Drake's alleged landing in Marin,
to our time of scapegoating, racist immigration policy, and erecting walls on our southern border. "Tableaux I" will be premiered at UC Davis in November, 2020.
The audio clip represents a little over 17 min. of Tableau I. The amplified ensemble of mixed winds, string quartet, and rock band are realized with plugin instruments and myself providing all vocal and guitar parts. (Synopsis & Libretto here)
NorCal Water Music (2019)
for chamber ensemble
NorCal Water Music
photo: Jonathan Reveles
NorCal Water Music is the third piece in a developing series of compositions that break the 'fourth wall' of concert music performance that I call The Modular Music Project, in which I integrate performers and interactivity between computers and mobile devices to create music along the deterministic–improvisational–aleatoric continuum. The movements, their components, and video animations are modular: the musicians can play the movements and their sections/parts thereof in different arrangements; the video projections can be broadcast at different times; and the audience can navigate and playback related media they retrieve from media platforms. With this piece and others in the series, I seek to create ‘living’ multimedia works through communicative flexibility between myself, the performers and the audience to address socio-political challenges of our contemporary moment.
The first video in the playlist is the the world premiere of NorCal..., performed by Citywater at the Crocker Art Museum on Nov. 10, the last day of the 42nd Annual Festival of New American Music. NorCal... dives into issues concerning one of California’s most important resources - water - and celebrates the beauty,, complexity, and fragility of the Sacramento River Watershed. The ensemble realizes music derived from computer-animated maps of the watershed, overlaid by musical notation. The ensemble determines an order of the movements and their respective components. As video-jockey, I cue that order with the animations projected on a screen in the concert hall. Each video features a different geographical area of the watershed. (I also created all the visual aspects of the of the project).
Between movements, there are short video interludes featuring the ecological sounds found at a particular waterway. At these moments, the audience is invited to view on their mobile devices a short video with its own soundtrack accessible from my website, thus creating streams of motivic echoes across the hall. At this performance (and future ones), Citywater, myself and the audience sustain a multidimensional, and sometimes fragile aqua-sonorous musical space.
The remaining videos in the playlist here constitute the media that I project and make make available on my website for the audience to view on their mobile devices.
For a movement-by-movement set of time-points, please visit this video of the piece on my youtube page.
PDF of SCORE - 30': this score reflects the order in which the ensemble chose to play the movements and their components
The End Times Are a'Changin': fantasia on a theme by Dylan (2018) for guitar and socio-multimedia