I've been spending the past week at IRCAM with computer music designer Augustin Muller. We are taking our first steps towards developing the electronics for our new work for Exaudi. This included a recording session at IRCAM's Anechoic chamber of some very delicate earthy sounds - part of the work's ecological theme. It also included a special visit from Cordelia Lynn, who had just finished the second half of the text!
Last week I took a quick trip from London to Paris to meet with my new publisher Durand. We will be working on my new piece for Exaudi together, and on my new opera Like flesh. I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the Durand-Salabert-Eschig family!
In her review of Festival de Royaumont, Michèle Tosi at ResMusica referred to me as the barefoot composer and compared any bed but one's to Sciarrino. Both are great compliments. Read her review HERE.
I've been hiding at an abbey for the past few weeks, listening to cows and mosquitos late at night, working on a nocturnal piece inspired by Fiona Sampson's beautiful poem Drowned Man. It's been intense and difficult. And also fun and exciting putting it all together with Juliet Fraser, Antoine Maisonhaute and Hélène Colombotti. They will perform it tomorrow in the abbey, at 17h45, just before the bells start ringing, with the sound of rain in the background...
Two years ago, set designer and director Aurélie Lemaignen introduced me to Rilke's play The White Princess. She read this section to me: "tout est le rêve que nous rêvons ; ce qui est court peut alors être long, ce qui est long l’est à n’en plus finir. Et le temps est espace." Time as space, she said, is your music.
A year later, through a commission from the Academie of the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, we began a collaboration with writer Cordelia Lynn on an operatic scene inspired by Rilke's play. It took us on a journey, which Aix documented beautifully in this interview. Yesterday evening, sopranos Jennifer Courcier and Magali Simard Galdes, and percussionist Dorian Selmi gave it a beautiful premiere at the festival.
Pierre Rigaudière at Diapason featured you'll drown, dear in his review of IRCAM's Festival ManiFeste earlier this week. Read it HERE (scroll all the way to the end of the article). My deepest thanks go to the production team at IRCAM for crafting every dimension of this performance in such a detailed and subtle way. This review is as much theirs as it is mine.
6 months in 9 minutes. This is the most collaborative works I have ever created. It wouldn't have been possible without the absolute dedication of Aurélie, Cordelia and Juliette. Even after so many rehearsals, I was moved at the premiere last night, watching and listening to the work we created together.
My composition for the Cursus has been in the works for the past few months, and the team at IRCAM has been documenting the process! Take a look HERE at episode 3 in this series of short video documentaries, where Juliette, Cordelia and I try out the first musical sketches for our composition you'll drown, dear, and receive feedback and advice from the brilliant Hèctor Parra.
The Cité International des Arts has been my home for the past 6 months. I have been to countless open studios (really I stopped counting), met artists from literally everywhere, learned how to do printmaking and carve wood...
Thanks to Ensemble Regards and the production team at the Cité, I was able to share my music with this wonderful creative community this past Monday. My deep thanks go to them and to everyone who came out on that rainy night.
I was in NYC this past weekend to celebrate the work of two foundations that are very important to me: The Fulbright Foundation and the Terezin Music Foundation. They have played an important role in my personal and artistic growth. And they continue to play an important role in the lives of so many other artists and scholars. Many thanks to the members of Ghostlight Chorus for bringing this new music and poetry to life so beautifully!
I can still smell the ancient oak trees, the figs and rosemary, the low clouds... I am very thankful to Jonathan Kulp and William Plummer from the University of Lafayette for their hospitality, to the Lafayette Chamber Singers for their moving performance of The Song About the Child, and to the Acadiana Center for the Arts and International Alliance of Women in Music for putting it all together and including my voice on their panel on women in music. The Louisiana I got to discover through their eyes was magical.
My first month at IRCAM has just ended, and I'm excited to share my first experiment. Give it a listen HERE. Many thanks to Jack Stulz for trying out different viola preparations together. And to artist Dalia Meiri at the Cité des Arts for showing me how to carve a bow!
I'm thrilled to be joining the international community of artists at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris from August 2016 through May 2017!
Today I got the good news that I received the Alfred Hertz Memorial Traveling Scholarship to support my upcoming residency at IRCAM.
In September I will begin a 10-month training and composition residency at the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM) in Paris. I will be studying new tools in music technology and computer assisted composition with composer Hèctor Parra and the different research teams at IRCAM. I'm very excited about this opportunity to go deeper into MaxMSP, OpenMusic, Antescofo and other IRCAM tools, and to make music in this new environment.
Spitfire Company is taking Sniper's Lake on the road again. This time to Stavanger (Norway) and Prague (CZ). In Stavanger they will be performing at Tou Scene, an unusual performance space where the dancers will be running towards the audience. Should be interesting!
It was so wonderful to get this CD in the mail this morning! It features my bass clarinet concerto Crumb Child along with beautiful pieces by Christiann Wolff, Bernhard Lang, Helmut Oehring, Petr Kotik, and other fellow composers from the 2013 Ostrava Days Festival. The performance is by the fantastic Czech clarinetist Irvin Venys and the equally fantastic Ostravska Banda Orchestra, under the baton of Carl Bettendorf.
Jeremy Eischler from the Boston Globe describes Mother Tongue as "vividly imagined" in his enthusiastic review of Sunday's concert. It's been a week. I'm back home in San Francisco. And I'm still thinking of that concert. And still feeling thankful to the Terezín Music Foundation and the Boston Children's Chorus (and their wonderful soloist Maddy Kline!). Now I just need to figure out what to do with all this new vocal music in my head...
A year ago I was commissioned by the Terezin Music Foundation to write two new choral works in honor of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi camps. Tomorrow these works will be heard for the first time in the US at Boston's magnificent Symphony Hall. I am so honored to be in the company of Andris Nelsons and members of the BSO, of fellow composers Pablo Ortiz and David Post, of the Boston Children's Choir and Coro Allegro, of poet Richard Blanco, and of the foundation's inspiring director Mark Ludwig.