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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This week: concerts in New York (October 20 – October 26, 2014)


Sasha Bogdanowitsch

Sasha Bogdanowitsch

Christopher Yohmei Blasdel & Sasha Bogdanowitsch present new original works & improvisations for shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) , voice, world instruments & electronics, intermingling ancient instruments alongside contemporary creations.
Monday, October 20 at 7:30 PM
Tickets $12
JACK, 505 ½ Waverly Ave, Brooklyn, NY
..:: Website

Sonic Tapestry | Roomful of Teeth

Roomful of Teeth performs music by Rinde Eckert, Sam Amidon, Brad Wells, and Caroline Shaw as part of the White Light Festival.
Tuesday, October 21 at 7:30 PM
Limited Availability
Clark Studio Theater, 165 West 65th Street New York, NY
..:: Website

The Source | Ted Hearne

Ted Hearne

Ted Hearne

Commissioned and produced by Beth Morrison Projects, The Source is a multimedia oratorio with a libretto by Mark Doten, directed by Daniel Fish with production design by Jim Findlay and video design by Findlay and Fish.
Wednesday, October 22 to October 25 at 7:30 PM
Tickets $20
BAM Fisher, Fishman Space, 321 Ashland Pl, New York, NY
..:: Website

Smetana Trio

Smetana Trio performs an all Czech program at SubCulture.
Wednesday, October 22 at 7:30 PM
Tickets $35
SubCulture, 45 Bleecker Street, Downstairs, New York, NY
..:: Website

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I CARE IF YOU LISTEN Magazine: Issue 9 is out!


Issue 9 is out now!

Issue 9 of I CARE IF YOU LISTEN Magazine is out!

Ti Ra Ki Ta*  by  Thomas Deneuville

Music for Heart and Breath on Deutsche Grammophon  by  Daniel J. Kushner

Aspen Diaries  by  Aaron Holloway-Nahum

Indian Music in New Music  by  Ronni Reich

Michael Harrison: A Portrait  by  David Dies

Getting Started With Arduino  by  Nick Arner

One Another, Once Again  by  Eli Blumm

Play Me a Story  by  Graham Meyer

Trumpet City a video by  Thomas Deneuville

Isaura String Quartet  by  Thomas Deneuville

New Releases  by  Sam Reising

Are you ready to give it a try? Download the free iOS app! We offer a 7-day free trial, and subscribers have access to all past issues. Sweet, no?


Troubadour Blue by Nils Bultmann on Innova

Nils Bultmann Troubadour Blue

Often the viola is not thought of as a solo instrument. It is the connecting timbre between violin and cello, the warm, reedy middle layer that we crave in the orchestra whether we know it our not. Troubadour Blue is an album that revolves almost entirely around this overlooked instrument making it stand out against the cello suites and violin concerti. The composer of the album, as well as a violist, Nils Bultmann shines a favorable and fresh spotlight on his instrument and lends a welcome improvised voice to the composition scene.

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Dan Trueman’s “Nostalgic Synchronic” étude #1: Video Premiere

Nostalgic Synchronic

Throughout the last decade, I have been working with Dan Trueman as a member of So Percussion. A relentless experimenter and exquisite musician, Dan’s music embodies his own unique synthesis of interests: composer, fiddler, programmer, inventor.

The music Dan has written for So Percussion explores these worlds in a jungle of cables, microphones, laptops, and honestly I don’t know what else. He provokes microphone feedback from a concert bass drum, writes Cage-ian quartets in lopsided meters, and tasks us with managing unruly live metronomes.

When he and I first spoke about a solo piece growing out of these projects, we both imagined something similar: woodblocks, drums, and toy instruments with wires splayed out all over the place. It just happened that at the same time he started showing me some new experiments with a “prepared” digital piano. I was immediately gripped by the originality of this instrument, as well as the simplicity. All it requires is a keyboard, a laptop, and some speakers.

Click to Watch the Two Videos!