NorCal Water Music, a new commission

July 16, 2018

 

I am pleased to announce that City Water, Sacramento's preeminent new music ensemble has commissioned me to write a new piece for them!   

 

I have decided to address California’s most important resource: water.  The images a couple of the places where I have begun recording the sounds of ecosystems along the Sacramento River watershed:  a spot along the Silver Fork American River, a tributary the the South Fork American River, and another in the Delta.  Over the rest of the summer, I will be recording the sounds and shooting video of water along several legs of the Sacramento River Watershed.  These source recordings will be combined with City Water's musicians 'playing the water’:  they will perform behaviors of music derived from the contours of rivers found on maps of the Sacramento River watershed and images of electromagnetic surveys of California’s groundwater.  Video projection accompanied by the same source recordings of California’s creeks, rivers, and streams will blend with the musician’s performance.  And as collaborators, the audience will submerge themselves with the ensemble through their mobile devices to play back audio-visual vignettes, guiding themselves through video playlists online to create audio-visual streams across the concert hall.  The musicians and audience will thus work together to sustain a multidimensional, and sometimes fragile aqua-sonorous musical space.  This space will be re-created at every performance due to the composition’s modular form.  The musicians will play their parts in different arrangements, the video projections will be broadcast at different intervals (and orders), and with each new audience, the video playlists will be navigated anew.  

 

This piece 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.  I utilize real-time interactivity between computers and mobile devices using messaging ‘apps’ to create music along the deterministic - improvisational - aleatoric continuum.  In this project 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.  

 

Image credits:  Derek Keller, Dr. Lyndsay Ball U.S. (USGS Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center, Devner CO), the Sacramento River Watershed Program, and Bernadette Mondok.

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