Monday night was the awesome concert which featured the works that all 10 fellow composers had written for the festival. They were all creative and inspiring works that were performed expertly! The three groups were led by Vicki Ray, Todd Reynolds, and Nick Photinos. My group was conducted by Nick (of Eighth Blackbird) and featured the music of Stephen Feigenbaum, Erik DeLuca, and Finola Merivale. It was a lot of fun working with the composers and the group.
I took part in 2 of the lunch time recitals. The first was Tuesday, playing "In a Day" by Finola Merivale for tenor saxophone and loop pedal. It was so much fun to finally get to play with loop pedal and to work with Finola. She is a very talented composer and a wonderful person, check her out! The second performance involved all 10 composer fellows and 9 of the performers at the festival. It was an Exquisite corpse project. The premise is day 1 a composer writes 10 measures and then passes their last measure onto the next composer who writes another 10 measures and passes their last on, lather, rinse, repeat for 10 days and you have a wonderful piece! You can see the video of our performance on youtube or my listen page. It was a fun way to get to work with a lot of people at the festival. The composers worked really well together and all the performers came in and laid it down solid in rehearsal.
Our morning session for the last week was incredibly exciting and engaging. The orchestra of original instruments was led by Mark Stewart, one of the most musically inspiring people I have ever met. One of his most exciting qualities is his belief that everyone should be allowed to make sound/music and no one should feel excluded. To paraphrase one of his sayings "I believe the word musician is too often used to exclude people from their birth rite as sound makers". In an open and encouraging environment like that anything is possible and music is always fun. He taught us a little bit about Quebecois clogging, we made beautiful sounds whirling plastic ridged tubing, sang and hummed, and got to explore the Gunner instruments which will soon be on display at Mass MOCA.
One of my favorite lunchtime recital moments happened the last week. Daniel Cutchen played "Imaginary Landscapes" by John Cage and beckoned us to come as close as we could for the quiet piece being played over the sounds of the waterfall. Some of us laid down under the piano and it was a beautiful moment, if you've never had the opportunity to lie under a piano while it's being played I recommend it.
And it all came to an exciting end with the marathon on Saturday! A "six hour" (7.5) concert of music we had been preparing together for 3 weeks. Some of the highlights for me were "Fuel" by Julia Wolfe, the Orchestra of Original Instruments, "Almost Truths and Open Deceptions" by Annie Gosfield", "These Broken Wings" by David Lang, and "The Sad Park" by Michael Gordon. For a great review of the marathon check out this article.
I finally got to meet one of my musical idols, Bill Ryan! Pictured below is our ensemble playing "Drive" on the marathon. Bill made the drive (no joke intended) all the way from Michigan with some of his composition students to be there for the marathon. His music inspired me at a very early point in my musical career, and is what brought me to this community in the first place. So it felt very special and appropriate to get to play his music at the festival. It was an honor.
Other Great Blogs and Articles about the festival