Huge thanks to Mary Mackenzie, Joshua Roman, Karen Kim, David Kaplan, Bill Kalinkos, and Daria Binkowski for a transcendent premiere of my latest piece BEAUTY SPREAD UNEARTHLY WHITE, for Pierrot ensemble with soprano. It was a thrill to work with this all-star team of musicians, and an honor to share the bill with composers Joshua Roman, Amir Shpilman, Wang Jie, and good old Arnold Schoenberg for an evening of wildly diverse responses to Schoenberg’s avant garde landmark work Pierrot Lunaire. A huge thanks goes to Seattle Town Hall and their Town Music series, for their adventurous spirit and warm support.
The program was the brainchild of cellist/composer Joshua Roman. Each of us composers was commissioned to compose a new work that somehow reflected their relationship still-to-this-day radical Pierrot Lunaire. We knew nothing of each others’ plans and each worked on our own, and it was very neat to see how differently we all responded. Joshua’s piece sprung from Pierrot’s text and supplanted Schoenberg’s 20th-century infatuation with the Moon with a 21st-century eye to Mars. Amir’s piece took Pierrot’s extended vocal technique and precision to a stunning 21st-century extreme. Wang Jie’s piece picked up on the 20th-century sensuality of Pierrot and unleashed it with a very 21st-century vividness in a mini song cycle of her own. My piece picked up on Schoenberg’s renowned fascination with numbers; its subtitle THREE TO THE SEVENTH is in reference to Schoenberg’s subtitle for Pierrot, Three times Seven Poems from Albert Giraud’s “Pierrot lunaire.” In my piece, every note emerges from a single three-note cell that is replicated on seven different timescales.
I really like this kind of programming, the kind that shows how differently we all can see the very same thing. That is what art does for us, helps us appreciate the differences in our perception.
The whole gang, L to R, Bill Kalinkos, Karen Kim, me, Joshua Roman, Mary Mackenzie, Amir Shpilman, David Kaplan, and Wang Jie.
Composer Amir Shpilman and I getting all over beautiful Seattle.
Quick beer stop.
Post-concert with (L toR) composer Amir Shpilman, the intrepid soprano Mary Mackenzie, and me.
Composers Wang Jie, me, and Amir Shpilman having Alaskan Salmon for lunch at Pike Place Market, Seattle