Archive for the ‘5 questions to’ Category


5 Questions to Paul Dresher (Composer)

At Roulette, on Sunday, October 26, the Paul Dresher Double Duo will perform Double Ikat Part 2, Dresher’s invented instrument duo Glimpsed From Afar, John Cage‘s Six Melodies for Violin & Keyboard Instrument and Martin Bresnick‘s Fantasia on A Theme By Willie Dixon. TwoSense performing the world premiere of Dresher’s three movement duo for cello & piano Family Matters. We asked 5 questions to Dresher.

Paul Dresher - Photo by Andrew Constantini

Paul Dresher – Photo by Andrew Constantini

When you are composing for traditional instruments or those of your own invention, are the processes different? Do you find yourself adapting the language of one onto the other?

A composer always has to be very conscious of the instruments they are writing for and when working with invented instruments, it’s really no different. One has to understand what the instrument and the performer are technically capable of and then one builds one’s work in relationship to that. Of course, because my approach to inventing instruments sometimes results in – when I’ve been successful – musical resources that are not easily produced by conventional instruments, one has to be well aware of how those resources interact well, or not, with conventional instrumental resources. For example, the Quadrachord – because of it’s long string length (140 inches) and low open string fundamental pitches (at the bottom of the piano range) – is able to easily and with complete pitch accuracy play the intervals of harmonic series up to the 24th harmonic and beyond. But it is very limited when it comes to playing accurately in equal temperament. So, when I compose for the Quadrachord in combination with other traditional instruments, I have to be continuously aware of the contrasting intonational resources and thus I’ve had to develop some unique strategies in order to make such instrumental combinations possible.

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5 Questions to Matthew Gallagher (visual and sonic artist)

Matthew Gallagher is a multifaceted artist working in a wide range of visual and sonic media. An Oberlin grad (Studio Art and Technology in Music and Related Arts), he is rapidly gaining traction in the Cleveland art world and is a frequent performer in the burgeoning experimental music scene.

Matthew Gallagher at 3 Door Studios, Oberlin (photo: Will Roane)

Matthew Gallagher at 3 Door Studios, Oberlin (photo: Will Roane)

Your artistic instincts take you in multiple directions, what is the underlying aesthetic that motivates your work?

Discovery is the key word. No matter what media I’m working with, the process must be experimental, generative, and uncover more questions than answers. As an artist, I think of myself as a facilitator of reactions. My work is very formulaic, in that I design specific variables and then process them with some sort of chance influence to create a product. It’s an empowering spiritual practice for me. It allows me to pursue hypotheses and experiment in a non-institutional framework.

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5 Questions to Du Yun (composer, artistic director of MATA)

Tomorrow night, MATA will hold its annual Benefit at Tibet House (tickets are still available) and will honor two of new music’s leading advocates: Robert Sirota and Steve Smith. We decided to talk to MATA’s recently-appointed artistic director: Du Yun (first name: Yun, last name: Du). Born and raised in Shanghai, China, and currently based in New York, Du Yun is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, and performance artist, working at the intersection of orchestral and chamber music, opera, theater, cabaret, pop music, oral traditions, visual arts and noise. We had 5 questions. She had five answers.

Du Yun

Du Yun

First of all, belated congratulations on your appointment! What do you hope to bring to MATA during your tenure?

Thank you. It was beyond my delight to succeed Yotam Haber’s position at MATA.

MATA has reached an all time high in its number of submissions and its scopes of initiatives. However, the artistic vision will stay the same, which translates to: never the same, ever so new, indefinable and tirelessly creating shifts. And I hope to continue building a tight community for our MATA composers, MATA musicians, MATA artists, and our MATA Alums.

Music, more than ever, is equally about creating content as well as presenting a context. In that regard, MATA also function as a presenting organization. We are thinking about ways we could pioneer in presenting that vigorous duality; we are thinking about how do we reflect and challenge, champion and advocate our composers’ ever shifting and diversifying attributes in their creative practices.

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5 questions to Nick Hallett (singer, composer, multi-arts producer)

Composer, vocalist, and curator-producer Nick Hallett presents a concert of his songs later this month at Joe’s Pub, curiously titled Hallettiade, in the vein of Schubert’s legendary salons. We talked with him about the community he is creating for this evening, along with other highlights of his fall season. 

Nick Hallett (photo by Sabine Rogers)

Nick Hallett (photo by Sabine Rogers)

Your multifaceted artistic practice begins with the voice, how did your early training set the stage?

My musical education was primarily performance-based. I resisted the temptation of composition and studio art classes in favor of studying voice pedagogy, opera, electronic music, avant-garde theater, film/video, and dance. My current practice centers on the voice not only as a means of musical interpretation, but as a source of embodied creativity and inspiration for all kinds of cultural production. Just as my voice box is capable of communicating a diversity of sounds and genres of music, my proverbial voice extends way beyond singing, into art-making and community building, especially through my activities as a curator and cultural producer. At the core of this concern is what voices are drawn to do, and for me this starts with singing songs.

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5 Questions to Leon Fleisher (Pianist and Conductor)

Bridge Records released All the Things You Are, Leon Fleisher’s first solo album in nearly a decade. Consisting largely of works for left hand, the album also features works composed for Leon Fleisher by George Perle, Leon Kirchner, and Dina Koston as well as renditions of favorites by George Gershwin and Jerome Kern.

Leon Fleisher - Photo Joanne Savio

Leon Fleisher – Photo Joanne Savio

After seeing pictures of your studio, I was struck by the prevalence of satellite imagery of galaxies and nebulae hanging on the walls. What does this imagery convey to you, and what is its perceived relationship to music?

It’s my feeling that a lot of the music that we play, specifically German music actually, reaches heavenward, it seems to be involved with existential questions: What is man’s purpose in life? How does he relate to the universe? How is he like a brook? How is he like the leaf of a tree? These are all things that, I think — specifically German music — relates to as opposed to, for example, French music … which is sensual and sensory … and Russian music, which is very subjective, personal. The universe conveys movement; it passes through time and I think that it is subject to the same … you know, people talk about music and math, but I think the much more relevant comparison would be music and physics, and because it is movement I find that is subject to the laws of movement in physics.

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