Current Projects

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Fox Hollow, for string quartet

Fox Hollow is a string quartet commissioned by the Lafayette String Quartet. The work was premiered at Open Space in Victoria, BC, Canada, on November 8, 2013.

The title refers to the Fox Hollow Folk Festival, which I attended as a teenager (and later performed in, as part of "Bottle Hill," an eclectic bluegrass band). The festival was hosted by the Beers Family on their family homestead, and ran from 1966 to 1980. While I have been to many festivals of all kinds before and since, this one stands out as particularly meaningful.

Steve Winter of WSHU describes the festival as follows: "It was a festival of the times, steeped in romance as a world of musical magic and enchantment was created. It was a festival of intimacy and limited attendance that brought together “big names” with lesser known traditional artists. It was purely acoustic — no electricity."

"Fox Hollow" for string quartet is in four connected movements depicting different moods and times of day: "Sawmill Tuning" is based on the modal banjo tuning used in many Appalachian folk songs. "Midday Blues" begins with a mournful viola solo and includes a freely rhythmic heterophony. "Natural Amphitheater" recalls concerts in which the audience sat on the ground on a terraced hillside. Finally, in "Campground Cacophony Under the Stars," multiple overlapping jam sessions expand and recede until the dawn, when it all starts again.


Cadenza for Mozart Concerto

Wrote a new cadenza for the Mozart G Major violin concerto, 1st movement; this new cadenza is shorter than those that are often played and quickly moves to a remote key (in the stratosphere), then works its way back to Earth.


NotomotoN Unstrung - Improvisation for mandolins and signal-processed robotic percussion 

NotomotoN Unstrung is an improvised work for robotic percussion with signal processing, created in collaboration with Andrew Schloss. In this work, I play mandolin, mando-cello and mandolin banjo. The sound is processed via Universal Audio plugins running on an Apollo. The radiodrum 3D controller is used to control the processing and also the playing of the robotic percussion, which is distributed around the hall.


The Library of Babel, for two five-octave marimbas

The Library of Babel is scored for two five-octave marimbas, commissioned by San Francisco Symphony principal percussionist Jack Van Geem. It was premiered at the Zeltsman Marimba Festival in July 2013, performed by Van Geem and Fumito Nunoya. The title refers to a short story by Jorge Luis Borges, which describes a nearly-infinite library containing every possible book of a certain length and format, in every possible language. In addition to every book ever written or someday to be written, the library includes every possible misprint of these books. As the volumes are organized at random, nobody can ever find anything. Yet, somewhere in the library is the answer to every possible question.


The Space Between Us, for two string quartets, robotic percussion and piano

The Space Between Us was commissioned by Other Minds, with support from the James Irvine Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts. It is scored for two spatially-separated string quartets and a set of robotic instruments performed by a percussionist using a 3D sensor. The robotic instruments were created specially for this piece by Seattle sound artist Trimpin, whose work has appeared in galleries throughout the world and who was a winner of a MacArthur "genius" grant. The instruments include a set of 18 chimes that are hung above the audience.

Here is a photo at Trimpin's studio in Seattle, where he is describing to me his ideas for the chime mechanism:

The robotic instruments are controlled remotely by a Radiodrum (a 3-D performance controller with six degrees of freedom.) The work includes a set of chimes that surround the audience and are controlled remotely by the radiodrum, as well as remote control xylophone, glockenspiel and piano.

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