It’s no secret that I enjoy Louis Andriessen’s music…a lot. So, I was super excited to get to talk with Dacia Clay about Andriessen’s music at KUHA for this week’s Classical Classroom. You can check that out here. Check out any of the other 36 episodes on the site, as well.
Houston had the misfortune to lose a very important component to its (only) local Classical music radio station this past Fall. A number of talented hosts and personalities that routinely engaged local artists and their/our work were let go in a rather unfortunate manner, and with that the city lost a large a great source for local talent to help share and promote their work to the “masses.” It is shows like Classical Classroom that still offer a small chance for local classical buffs to connect.
My violin, clarinet, and piano trio, shifting landscape, has been included on the Incipitsify channel on youtube. This is great because not only do I FINALLY have some music up on youtube, but my piece is included in a channel with so much other awesome music! This has been a great way for me to sample a ton of really cool pieces by some stellar contemporary music composers. A few of my favorites on the channel are Ken Ueno’s …blood blossoms, Andrew Norman’s Companion Guide to Rome, and Chaya Czernowin’s Sahaf.
shifting landscape. Check it out:
My friends Nicholas Leh Baker and Faith Jones of Duo Scordatura released their self-titled, debut album a few months ago. The album features a number of pieces that were commissioned by and written for the duo (violin and viola), including one of my own: Turbine. They did a fantastic job with this recording and performed the hell out of my piece. The group received a rather nice review by Andrew Sigler over at New Music Box, which you can read here. Of my piece, Sigler had this to say:
George Heathco’s Turbine features a Q&A between the two instruments that quickly overlap and become a sort of hockety canon starting in the lower registers and ascending by and by as the piece develops. A bright harmonic tonal center sways from dark to light and back again, as an ostinato in the viola plays against double stops in the violin. Pizz moments make their way into this trading texture, one that never gets too busy but always feels full and focused. This leads to a more legato section followed by a reductive ending in which a long phrase played between the instruments gets pared away until there is nothing left.
I love writing for Duo Scordatura, as they are incredibly passionate about playing any and all music, especially by younger composers and friends! I have now written a couple of pieces for the group, the other being Hammerballet, which augments the group by adding a piano. In addition to those, I’ll be writing another piece for them as part of an upcoming commissioning project. Many more details will be announced as the project draws near.
Hey gang! I wanted to put up a blurb about a little crowd-funding campaign that Luke Hubley and I are running over at the Liminal Space camp. We’re trying to raise money for our next concert, which will be on December 11th at The Barn. Unlike most other concerts we’ve presented, we’ve decided to go way out on a limb, take a bit of a financial risk, and to produce something that we feel will be truly special: presenting Steve Reich’s 2×5, with original dance by Lydia Hance and Frame Dance Productions! This is huge for us, as it represents the first time we’ve reached out to another organization to initiate an interdisciplinary performance of this type. Here is a bit of some “official writing” from our page:
“We are pleased to announce that the second concert season of Liminal Space Contemporary Music Ensemble is well underway! Our successful first season consisted of thirteen performances, including premieres of newly commissioned works, collaborations, and contemporary music rarely performed in Houston. This season, we are preparing a memorable evening featuring the Houston premiere of Steve Reich’s 2×5 with original dance and choreography by Lydia Hance and Frame Dance Productions, as well as performances of Orianna Webb‘s Sustenance Variations, and works by Eric Martin and Rob McClure, both commissioned by our New Music Initiative. As Liminal Space ventures further into presenting groundbreaking contemporary works, we are honored to have the opportunity to work with Frame Dance Productions, well known in the Houston arts community for their innovative and collaborative presence. We hope that you will plan to join us for this special event on December 11th at The Barn – Dance Source Performing Arts Space, just outside downtown Houston. We’ve been very fortunate to have community support for the performances we’ve presented in the past. With this project, we have decided to take a large leap to expand not only the performance venue size, but also the scope of our collaborative efforts. However, to do this means that both operating and production costs will be significantly higher than in projects past, as everything from venue and music rental to program and promotional material costs have increased for this project. We would like your help to reach our $2,500 goal, and ask for your financial support in bringing this unique artistic endeavor into fruition. Even the smallest things cost money, so contributions of any size are more than welcome and will absolutely go a long way. Any and every contribution matters! In the event that we do not meet our goal, we are still able to keep any donations made to us.” Please visit our indiegogo page, and consider contributing to the project! CLICK HERE
You can watch the amazing film about the concert that I compiled, directed, and scored here:
In other awesome news, as part of an Intersection Ensemble Houston performance, my song for voice and marimba, “Slumber,” was performed on Friday, November 8th. Mezzo-soprano Cecy Duarte and Luke performed the hell out of the piece, and unlike most other times, I actually got the performance on recording! I’ve been blessed with having outstanding vocalists perform this work. Over the past Summer, soprano Misha Penton sang the work. Both Cecilia and Misha did stunning work on the piece, and both brought something a little different to the work that I would not have thought about. What individuals can bring to a work is just astounding to me. Anyway, here is a link to the performance:
My Summer has been rather exciting, so far.
To start, Liminal Space traveled up to Norman, Oklahoma back in May. We had a performance at the University of Oklahoma for the National Conference on Percussion Pedagogy on May 19h. Also performing in Norman that night was Mother Nature. As I was leaving our hotel room to head to our rehearsal, some serious dark clouds rolled in and it started to hail. No sprinkles. No thunderous warning shots. Just pea-sized hail. As my luck goes, I took a stupidly wrong turn and headed down the highway through the hail, now accompanied by a torrential downpour. Once I was about a mile from the hotel, I hear off in the distance what sounded like an air raid siren. The sound of a tornado siren for the first time is rather frightening when you are driving alone in an unfamiliar place. The hail strengthened and grew to the size of marbles, and I managed to survive after finding a gas station awning to pull under. To my surprise later that evening, a tornado had in fact touched down and caused some tremendous damage nearby. The next night, nature’s encore would prove to be especially disastrous for Moore, Ok, which was just up the road from the conference in Norman.
I posted the flyer on this site for the Forecast Music performance of my piece Shifting Landscape in Winston-Salem. The performance was lovely, and I got to make a few new friends. My original plan for my off-time in Winston-Salem were to take a little time to explore the city and have some solid me-time. However, the hotel I booked was several miles north of downtown, and apparently a little out of the way for the ensemble members. No bus. Cabs weren’t cheap. I got the me-time I wanted, but in the comfort of my hotel room. It was relaxing and I was able to begin work on a new piece for violinist Nicholas Baker. Before my flight out, I did get to travel to Raleigh for a bit.
The week following that trip was marked by a number of rehearsals and a performance of a number brand new songs that were written in rather short amount of time. The Houston Grand Opera’s community outreach arm, HGOco, put together a wonderful collaborative project that set poetry by fourth and fifth grade students to music by several composers from the University of Houston. I was amazed to find that I can churn out three brand new songs in a week’s time! The project was a blast and culminated in a wonderful performance. Here is a brief article that goes into a little more detail.
On June 2nd, Liminal Space had the final concert of our inaugural season. The program included Marc Mellits’ Black, John Cage’s In a Landscape, Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint, and two world premieres by Mark Buller and Eric Martin. The concert was great, I absolutely had a blast performing Electric Counterpoint. It felt very special to be present brand new music to a very supportive audience. The performance was even reviewed by andrew Sigler on NewMusicBox!
Liminal Space has had a very lucky season opener, as far as press goes. In July, Liminal Space was included in an Arts and Culture article on adventurous programming. Also on the list are a host of Houston’s heavy hitter ensembles and presenters, many of whom I have looked up to over the years. It is very humbling to be on that list, but it is also extremely exciting and a tad bit validating!
My summer wouldn’t be complete without spending five weeks teaching music with many of Houston’s finest musicians to many of Houston’s finest high schoolers at American Festival for the Arts. I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of this organization for the last few years.
LASTLY, I finished the song cycle that has been mentioned numerous times on this blog. I collaborated with Misha Penton, who wrote a fantastic set of poems based on fairytales. We started talking about this project back in December 2011/January 2012. Sometime shortly after that, she began sending me various texts and poems to be set to music. At the time, my intentions were to have the songs finished by the end of the Summer of 2012. “By September” was my mantra. Well, as things can go with schedules, mine began to take on a different set priorities that required more and more of my time. I was called to teach a couple of classes at UH, ReGifting Lions had its premiere and run, Liminal Space began, and Cthulhu rose! September turned into November, which turned into December, into Spring, into mid-May, and finally into June…of 2013. What eventually solidified things was finally sitting down and setting a date. DEADLINES! Those things definitely help get the ball rolling. I’m pleased that tonight we will be premiering ravens and radishes: a telling of tales, a song cycle for soprano, electric guitar, and cello. With the help of cellist Daniel Saenz, we are showing this thing off at a private house concert, which will be followed up by a week of recording the piece. Other performances are in the works and likely to surface soon! On a similar note, also on the house concert program will be another piece of mine for mezzo-soprano and marimba, called Slumber. The words were written by Pant Factory vocalist Ben Cunningham. This is the third performance of this piece, and it sounds great in the hands of Luke Hubley and Misha. Expect an audio clip very soon!
The next big “thing” after this recording is the weekend beach vacation that my family will be sharing with some close friends.
I’m going to post a couple of flyers for a couple of upcoming performances. The first is going to be in Winston-Salem, NC on June 24th. Forecast Music will be performing Shifting Landscape.
The other performance will be on June 2nd. My not-so-rock band Liminal Space Contemporary Music Ensemble will be premiering works by Houston composer friend Mark Buller and Texas composer Eric Martin.
Liminal Space made it to Sequenza21, for our concert of David Lang’s music. The article was written by a fellow composer and artist in the Houston area: Chris Becker.
Here is the page for Forecast Music announcing their performance of Shifting Landscape.
I have a few announcements to make:
1) My group, Liminal Space Contemporary Music Ensemble, is performing a concert of David Lang‘s music on Sunday, March 24th, at 7:30pm, at 14 Pews. Anyone who has known me or my music for even a little while should already know how excited I am to present this music. Luke Hubley and I will be joined by cellist Daniel Saenz, composer/pianist Mark Buller, keyboardist Jeremy Nuncio, and composer/guitarist Chapman Welch. Works include: how to pray, lend/lease, string of pearls, warmth, and arrangements of selections from memory pieces.
2) My piece Shifting Landscape has been getting a little bit of buzz recently. SOLI Chamber Ensemble will be performing it on back-to-back nights in San Antonio, Tx. The first will be at Gallery Nord on Monday, March 25, 2013 at 7:30PM. The second will be at Ruth Taylor Recital Hall at Trinity University on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 7:30PM. If you are in town, please drop by and check out one (OR BOTH) of these performances. I’m especially excited about this group of performances, as I am sharing the program with some great names: Thomas Adès, Tania Leon, David Stocks, Marcus Rubio, and Rob Smith (one my former teachers at UH). After quite a few email conversations back and forth, I have come to the conclusion that all composers need fantastic performers for WAY more than just performing and promoting our music; crazy good performers can have such a crazy good eye for notational detail. I sent SOLI what I thought was a very well-edited piece, only to be sent an unnamed number of (minor and tiny) mistakes and oversights on my part. I couldn’t be more pleased that a group of musicians as great as these guys are combing through my piece.
3) In addition to the SOLI performance, Shifting Landscape recently won the Forecast Music call-for-scores. It will be included on a program for their concert on May 24th in Winston-Salem, NC. There aren’t many details as of yet, but I’ll keep everyone posted for sure.
4) Lastly, I was asked to be a member of FrenetiCore‘s inaugural artist board. The details are still a little limited as of yet, but I know that this will be a fun venture. As usual, I’ll keep you posted!