Conducting / Directing Ensembles
MUSIX - This video captures a program featuring a commercial music ensemble that I directed when I was an adjunct at Folsom Lake College (part of the same district in which I am teaching currently). Each of the pieces were written and performed entirely by the students, except for two standards, "My Funny Valentine" and "Cry Me a River" (still arranged and performed by the students). The concert was an evening-length affair, but I have edited the video down to 9.5 minutes of highlights. The diversity of styles is striking, and the performances are compelling, especially when one considers that most of these young songwriters and performers did not have formal musical training before entering college.
Nomad by Nick Marsella. This is a composition that I conducted, which was part of Nick's evening-length senior composition recital. I have included this work because, while the piece could be deemed a 'classical' stage work, the piece (and Marsella's aesthetic at the time) was heavily influenced by "shoe gaze" and other Post-Rock bands, such as Sigur Ros.
California Tableaux (Club Version) - This video represents one lean manifestation of the Derek Keller Ensemble playing some of the music that I have composed for my developing opera project, California Tableaux (CT). Through music, spoken word, video, and dance, CT dramatically presents pivotal intersections of culture in California since the late 16th Century. The libretto of the entire project is a pastiche of murderous short stories and tall tales, poetry that dreams of new worlds, and folk, pop, and native songs. The aim of the work is to interrogate and celebrate California’s cultural collisions, conflicts and mixtures, from Sir Francis Drake’s alleged landing in Marin County, to our time of scapegoating, racist immigration policy, and erecting walls on our southern border. This video presents a suite of excerpts from the second act, "Tableau II: The Haunted Valley."
Impositions and Consequences (2007)
for soprano, tenor, ten. sax, e-guitar, contrabass,
piano (doubling mellotron), and drums
I would like to share one more link representing my work as a director of The Derek Keller Ensemble. Impositions and Consequences is the title track of an album of my work released on John Zorn's label, Tzadik. The work is a formidable integration of styles, avant garde chamber music, rock, and jazz. This piece not only blurs the distinctions between the 'hi-lo' aesthetic divide, it also interweaves and fuses together the most compelling qualities of these styles without minimizing their respective histories and traditions.