Saturday, July 27, 2013

Westward bound. Thoughts about pertinent things. New Horizons (Projects).

I was going to start this post differently, but then I had a hankering for some pizza (travel food) and had an experience I wanted to share. I have stopped in Ogallala, NE (somewhere way out 80) on my way west to San Diego and found a Valentino's Pizza for dinner. Normally this kind of joint would not be on my short list for places to have dinner but I am in the middle of NE and I wanted pizza. I walked into the Take Out door and voila I was in the kitchen! I mean, there was a "half-door" between me and the dishwashing station, but I didn't notice it at first, just saw piles of dirty dishes and sweaty workers. "Hi, I would like some pizza to go." "Oh, ok, here's a box and just come through here to the buffet." The dining room had the appropriate dim lighting and putrid stench, and people intently tasting every pizza. So, for $11+ I got my 6 small slices, and then said, "Oh, I guess I should have gotten the buffet for $10 then...?" She said, "Yep."

I'm west bound for the eventual destination of San Diego. Today I stopped in Ogallala, NE and tomorrow I will visit Arches National Park and stay in Moab, UT. Finally reaching Cedar City, UT to visit percussionist Lynn Vartan. Lynn and I are getting started on our new Solstice repertoire for our first Chicago season in December. For a couple days we will dig into new duo percussion music that will be performed at Links Hall in Chicago and then in LA in April 2014. Lynn and I believe that as a duo we have what every musician searches for in a collaborating chamber setting, the complete connection. We played together on a few concerts in Iowa last February, you can read about that tour in my last blog post, and we were hooked! It was kismet immediately. If you are a chamber musician and have performed with many other musicians you know what I mean. It is not everyday that a musician can find these collaborators and Lynn and I both have worked with several collaborators.

Many, many of the artists we have both collaborated with have been cherished and worthwhile experiences, and we will likely collaborate with them again, we love collaborating and projects! But when you find that certain artist that "clicks" in many ways other than just their playing, it's rare. Being in a new chamber group also requires commitment to booking, promotion, advertising, commissioning, funding, scheduling, etc. And most of the time those are the areas that one person ends up doing all themselves and most of the time that is a recipe for the groups eventual disbandment.

From Cedar City I will travel to San Diego to see my boyfriend, Korey, and play timpani in the orchestra for his opera summer program, Opera Neo; and see my percussion friend, Cory; my sister, Sarah will also visit; and I will likely meet with some other composers and artists during the month long stay.

Coming up in September is a chance to hear my newest composition for percussion duo, Maneuveresque. Written for Matthew Andreini and Gabor Palotas for their Iowa/Hungary Percussion Project. They commissioned 6 composers; 3 Iowan and 3 Hungarian, to write new duos. They premiered the duos in Hungary (dates and places on my website) in June and July with success and on September 4 they will perform their program at Iowa State University! This project is a great example of the entrepreneurial spirit in the percussion world and I was super happy to be asked to write a new piece for it. They have raised money through crowd-funding, as well as from concert fees. And after just meeting with Matt coming off of his 2 month stint in Hungary he said the reaction to the music was extremely pleasing and the most remarkable thing was that the 6 pieces have 6 distinct, individual characters. Keep and eye out for recordings and published scores.

In later September I will be performing 2 concerts, one at ISU and another at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. The ISU concert will feature some music on cimbalom with Boro Martinec and Mei-Hsuan Huang, violin and piano colleagues respectively at ISU. Also, I will premiere a new marimba work by Jeffrey Holmes, Nereus Sonata. Likely one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult, marimba solos I've seen. It's a jam packed solo of cascading figures, active, big and wide harmonies, and my favorite part, a slithering and off-kilter but sexy fugue. If all goes as planned (with practicing in the sunny town of San Diego) I will also meet with the composer while in CA, as he lives in LA. The ISU concert on September 18 will be live webcast so you can see the world premiere live in real-time here:

Back on the road! Ogallala, NE

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Partial Summation of Spring 2013...

Below you will find a very partial summation of some of the new professional experiences and exquisite collaborations I had during the Winter/Spring semester of 2013. This time of this year was amazingly productive, now that I can take a step back and reflect, with finishing a 200-page dissertation and graduating with a DM from Northwestern University and accomplishing what you will read below!

February, 2013

Matthew Coley visited the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA last February for a week long residency to perform Andrew Ardizzoia's "Glass House Concerto" with the wind ensemble conducted by Gerard Morris. Andrew and Matthew began collaborating on GHC in 2010, and did a partial premiere with Iowa State University's Wind Ensemble, Michael Golemo, conductor in April of 2012. The full premiere of four movements with two solo stone xylophone interludes, almost totally 40 minutes of music, was done with the UPS Wind Ensemble, and can be watched on YouTube by searching the title and composer or soloist. While in Tacoma Matthew and Andrew also held a variety of master classes and lectures. Matthew gave a master class to percussion students and Andrew worked with conducting and composition students. Together they gave lectures in the business school on collaboration and music business.

The concerto came about by several coincidental forces in the collaboration. The first being, Matthew heard Andrew's orchestral piece, "*Some Assembly Required", premiered by the ISU Symphony in 2010 and had been working on a glass project, "CLEARLY", with Co'Motion Dance Theatre at the time as well. Through other concerti, commissioning projects, and collaborations, Matthew had assembled a large collection of consorts of odd percussion instruments; i.e. glass gongs, temple blocks and woodblocks, glass and stone xylophone, and tuned bottles, and had in mind a concerto featuring these collections of instruments. Soon after Matthew approached Andrew about the concerto, Andrew happened to visit the Philip Johnson "Glass House" in New Canaan, CT, which exhibits stark juxtapositions of glass, metal, wood, and stone all over the property. Thus the concerto was born, and the soloist performs on only glass, metal, wood, and stone instruments inside a cage. Future performances and a recording are in the works.

Upon returning from Tacoma Matthew jumped into collaborations with percussionist and duo partner, Lynn Vartan. Lynn visited Iowa State University to perform with the percussion ensemble and teach a master class. Lynn, Matthew, and the ISU Percussion Ensemble performed a joint concert at ISU in late February. Lynn and Matthew's duo, Solstice, then went on tour and performed concerts and master classes at the University of Northern Iowa (Randy Hogancamp and Matt Andreini, hosts) and the University of Iowa (Dan Moore, host). Solstice will be performing in Chicago and LA during their 2013-2014 season.

April 2013

On April 5 and 6, Matthew Coley hosted the 2013 Iowa Day of Percussion at Iowa State University! The event brought in guest artists from Texas, California, North Dakota, and Arizona, as well as students and other professional percussionists from all over Iowa, and was sponsored by the Iowa Arts Council, ISU, and the Percussive Arts Society.

The Crossing 32nd Street ensemble performed a concert with students, Matthew, and guest artist Cory Hills on April 5.

April 6 kicked off with FUNdamental clinics by snare drummer Brian Nozny, who had also taught a master class at ISU on April 4, and timpanist Jacob Theiben.

During the morning sessions of April 6 Marshalltown High School Percussion Ensemble received a two-hour clinic with Iowa Percussion Group artists Matt Andreini, Dan Krumm, and Stan Dahl. The High School and Collegiate Competitions were held, and Ames High School student Grant Simmons and ISU student Ryan Pearson won!

Crossing 32nd Street held a master class on their repertoire including a demo of Steve Reich's "Drumming" with ISU students, Matthew, and Cory Hills.

Guest Artist Jamal Mohamed held a master class on hand drums and world music in the afternoon with a preview of the evening concert to come.

The afternoon and evening of April 6 was a tour de force of performances. The Recital Hall at ISU had music performed constantly for about 7.5 hours!

Organist Lynda Hakken began the afternoon with a concert featuring the Iowa Percussion Group on Lou Harrison's Concerto for Organ and Percussion Orchestra.

Following that the Iowa Percussion Group rehearsed Gary Ziek's "Concerto for Solo Percussion and Percussion Ensemble" with the Collegiate Competition Winner, Ryan Pearson.

The Collegiate Percussion Ensemble Showcase Concert then took place with performances by: University of Northern Iowa, Central College, Iowa State University, Davenport North High School, and University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

The evening concert was an awesome array of performances by guest artists, including Jamal Mohamed, Cory Hills, Iowa Percussion Group, and Crossing 32nd Street, as well as competitions winners and other students.

Pictured below is Jamal Mohamed with Matthew, John Kizilarmut, Mike Giles, Stan Dahl, Cory Hills, and Brian Nozny (photo by Robin Doty). The evening concluded with a FULL performance of Steve Reich's "Drumming"!

Arthur Lipner visited ISU for a week at the end of April and performed with the Jazz Bands,
Percussion Ensemble, and Jazz Combos. He also taught private lessons and a master class with ISU percussionists and presented his documentary Talking Sticks to the music school. 

The Percussion Ensemble performed his composition "Mallet Fantasia", a concerto for vibraphone and marimba soloist with percussion ensemble and choir. The Ames Children's Choir, Gene LeVasseur, director, were also guest performers on April 24.