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June 8, 7p

Emy-Lou Biedenharn Recital Hall

University of Louisiana at Monroe

Monroe, LA 71209

[Livestream Link]

Program

Opus 9 by Ermir Bejo (Texas)

 

Biomimicry by Kyle Krause (New York)

 

Perpetuum by Christopher Prosser (Texas)

Polarities by Mendel Lee (Louisiana)

Echoes of Wild Petals by Daniel Fawcett (California)

Three O'Sullivan Settings by Christopher Mortlock (New Zealand)

 

Notes

Opus 9 contends with processes whose underlying symmetries translate to distinctive musical and temporal gestures. The pervasive polyrhythmic hocketing and various “loop” repetitions and returns demarcate two of the most common groups of gestures. At the same time, there exists a related surface interaction among recognizable musical shapes, repeated melodic fragments, ostinati, preponderance of quarter-tone intervals, adaptation of local soundscape ecologies, and momentary allusions. Ultimately, their interaction highlights a desire for asymmetric and playful musical variations.
 

Written in the Fall of 2020, Biomimicry is a response to the technological ecology of the Covid-19 era. It is scored for violin, cello, piano (four hands), and digital media. As the title implies, the work explores the correlations and interactions between the natural world, the human element, and technology. The work was also designed to facilitate recording and rehearsing remotely, allowing for each performer to have their own metric freedom from the ensemble as a whole. Humpback whale song (recorded by and provided courtesy of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve), a mechanical drone, and the quotation of a traditional English whaling song give the work a sonorous and maritime vibe.

Perpetuum is the Latin word for perpetual, which means never ending or changing. This is one of the adjectives used by Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, the fifth century Greek theologian and philosopher, to describe the Seraphim in his work "Celestial Hierarchies," which is a description of the ordering of the angels, the Seraphim being the highest order, closest to God. My piece does not try to mimic the sound of the Seraphim, but draws inspiration from the author's description of a heavenly body suspended in eternal perpetual motion.

Throughout most of my creative career, I've inflicted a self-imposed separation between my work as a composer, my work as a marching band and percussion arranger, and my passion for complex electronica and djent music. This separation came from a mentality that my "serious" work needed to conform to an aspirational "classical masterpiece" standard that always pushed my own boundaries and had a high compositional craft meticulousness that was at odds with marching and electronic music that I wrote more quickly and mostly for fun. I've recently come to realize that this mental segregation has actively hindered an important part of my musical identity in my work, one that I've developed and loved for decades. I've since been determined to break down those barriers and trust that all of my musical influences and skills can work harmoniously to strengthen my creative output. Polarities was written in this spirit, a quick and light-hearted etude that is a love letter to two of my strongest and oldest musical influences - minimalist composer Steve Reich and UK-based electronica duo Plaid. It also represents my continuing journey to embrace and be true to my entire creative self.

Echoes of Wild Petals is a set of 4 small songs for small ensemble. In addition to the ensemble of voice and acoustic instruments, the piece makes use of electronic media. Each song is a setting of a poem by the Canadian writer and poet Paul Cameron Brown (1948- ). Since reading his work, “The Land of Look Behind”, I had wanted to set his work as much of it can speak to us in a modern context.

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