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Posts tagged 'solo trombone'

Katherine Young Joins PSNY


(Katherine Young; photo: Peter Gannushkin)

We're thrilled to welcome composer and bassoonist/improviser Katherine Young to our roster of PSNY composers! Young's compositions exemplify the attention, intuition, embodied knowledge, and indeterminacy that comes from a deep understanding of instrumental possibilities, and her activities over the past ten years show a musical mind open to all of the possibilities of sound.

Young's music can actually proclaim that it is, in fact, "new"—not only new in aesthetic, organization, and style, but also in instrument, performance, and authority. Her scores call for techniques to extend the sonic possibilities of the instruments, and indeed often turning them into systems of body, wood, metal, and electronics. From her experience as a composer, performer, improviser, and collaborator, Young's work manages to be all of these things at once: intentional composition, intuitive improvisation, and close collaboration with performers. We're proud to offer three of Young's works written within the past eight years, each with its own unique sonic world. 

Composed in 2008, Underworld (Dancing) is written for tuba and Wurlitzer electric piano, with each instrument making space for the other within the dimensions of timbre and pitch. The score, which instructs each player within these dimensions, contains gestrual writing, graphic notation, and other innovations designed to allow the "work" to unfold as it is "worked" by the performers, with the instrumentalists reacting both to each other and to each other's instruments. The result is an aural game played between all of these actors, linked by Young's network of associations and resonances. 

Puddles and Crumbs, written in 2014-15 for solo trombone and electronics in collaboration with trombonist Weston Olencki, folds this instrumental dialogue onto itself, augmenting the trombone with electronic effects: reverberation, pitch-shifting, and distortion. A common technique of solo improvisers, routing the signal of an instrument through a chain of effects here actually creates four voices: composer, performer, instrument, and instrumental signal. Young writes that Puddles and Crumbs is a "loving embrace of the by-products, side effects, and detritus of performance." But we could also say that Puddles and Crumbs forces a re-evaluation of "performance" and "side effect", drawing the listener's attention to the middle ground between the two. 

slam creak bzzz, composed in 2012 and revised in 2015, is a string quartet, amplified and augmented to evoke the sound-worlds of mid-century epic cinema. Young translates the phantasmagoric sensory experience of the movie theater into the concert hall, mirroring the effects of cinematic sound design in her composition, which calls on the musicians to play the entire instrument's body, as well as the performer's own human bodies. Check out a recording of slam creak bzzz featuring the Mivos Quartet:

New Works and Performances by Ann Cleare

The music of Ann Cleare speaks to the heart of the problem with "new music": what counts as "new"? Really, truly new? And why must it be that way? Cleare's compositions rethink the possibilities created by instruments: both the sounds that they produce and their configuration within performing ensembles. And even more than this re-tooling, her works also organize these sounds in ways that create spatial, narrative, and timbral tension while keeping the sound-worlds of each composition unified and organic.

For example, take luna (the eye that opens the other eye). This composition for solo saxophone reimagines the instrument as "a dragonfly with eyes so big they cover almost its entire head, giving it a helmeted appearance and a full 360-degree field of vision." Or, take her mire |...| veins for brass quintet: 

Three works by Cleare, including the world premiere of eyam iii for bass flute (with Richard Craig, flute), will be featured in a dual portrait concert on October 25th at Spectrum, shared with composer Timothy McCormack. McCormack's amplified bassoon solo BODY MATTER will be performed by bassoonist Chris Watford, and William Lang performs works for trombone by both composers, alongside trios for trombone, trumpet and clarinet. 

In addition to these performances of her chamber works, Cleare's opera, rinn, recently premiered at Salzburg's Pocket Opera Festival. rinn takes the first two pages of Episode 11 from Joyce's Ulysses, and was performed alongside four other "pocket operas" that take inspiration from Joyce. Check out a clip below:

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