Composer Highlight: Anthony Vine by and Play

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We couldn’t be more excited to be working with Anthony Vine on this beautiful duo that he wrote for us this Spring! If you are in NYC, the premiere is April 12th at 7pm at Areté Venue & Gallery and we would love to see you there!


Tell us a bit about your piece? What inspired it?


In Terrain, the approach to playing the violin and viola is reversed: one bows near the nut, and the nodes / touch points—established by interwoven paper clips, rather than finger pressure—are near the bridge. The bow is drawn with very lightly and carefully to produce a spectral haze of complex resultant tones. These sonorities are cast in a monochromatic plane that constantly flickers with every slight shift in bow pressure and placement.

It is hard to pinpoint an explicit source of inspiration, but a few scattered things come to mind: the shimmering black paintings of Rauschenberg, the undulating cinder cones along route 395, and the poems of Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge.

If you had to describe the piece with one word what would it be?

wavey

What is bringing you joy these days?

Visiting Anza-Borrego, eating burritos after 8pm, and watching old movies (with subtitles) at Live Wire.

What music have you had on repeat this month?

Offset, Sarah Davachi, and Olivier Demeaux.

Tell us something we don’t know (about yourself or the world at large).

Once in a while, I like to fire up Max and listen to two closely related sine waves that create interference patterns of twenty to thirty minutes, sometimes an hour or so.


Check out more from Anthony here!

Composer Highlight: Sky Macklay by and Play

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After an incredible week workshopping with Sky last summer at Avaloch Farm Music Institute we are ready to bring this piece to life! Wild horses couldn’t hold us back! Come hang on April 12th at 7pm at Areté Venue & Gallery in Brooklyn, NY!


Tell us a bit about your piece? What inspired it?

My piece, Maps (of Friendship) for violin, viola, and video, was inspired by the beautiful friendship and busy lives of Hannah and Maya! I remember reading one of andPlay's bios a few years ago and it mentioned that Hannah and Maya live on opposite sides of New York City, but like to meet in the middle for rehearsals and baked goods. This image of them traveling (relatively) long distances to come together as a duo stuck with me and that was the starting point for my piece. The video includes little cartoon avatars of Hannah and Maya who move around the city and the world. I am fascinated with both our perceptions of time in music and our perceptions of time during transit, so I combined those two interests in this piece. The intersections of time, convenience, comfort, cost, relationships, and values shape our decisions about how far is too far to travel for any particular thing, and these decisions are not only personal, but greatly impacted by infrastructure, weather, and other chaotic factors. This piece expresses the complex emotions and diverse experiences of time we (and especially Maya and Hannah) encounter on different modes of transportation.


If you had to describe the piece with one word what would it be?

sweet


What is bringing you joy these days?Having time to compose and actually finishing pieces!

The fall was my first semester of full-time professoring (at Valparaiso University in Northwest Indiana) and I did not do so well with balancing my teaching and composing. This semester has been more balanced and I've composed a lot more which, though it's usually hard in the moment, really brings me joy. Also my Latin dance exercise class brings me joy because I have an amazing teacher and I see my coordination and isolation of body parts improve in every class!  


What music have you had on repeat this month?

Gluck's Orfeo! It started because I am learning to sing and play "Che faró senza Euridice" just for fun and that lead to listening to the whole opera on repeat.


Tell us something we don’t know (about yourself or the world at large).

For many years I was a certified lifeguard so I know that the correct tempo for CPR is quarter = 103.  

Check out more from Sky here!

Composer Highlight: Catherine Lamb by and Play

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It has been such a pleasure and a new experience for us to work on Prisma Interius VIII by Catherine Lamb for our program, ‘Translucent Harmonies’. She has become an internet friend of andPlay’s, and what a joy that is! We cannot wait to share her beautiful work with you on Tuesday, October 23rd at 8pm at Scandinavia House! Get to know her a little bit in this mini-interview!


aP: Tell us a little bit about your piece.

CL: It is the eighth in a series of nine pieces starting from 2016 under the same name, some of them containing modular orchestrations. The original version of VIII was a duo for violin and clarinet, with the addition of 4 highlighting instruments to “harmonically smear” as well as bridge the musical material to the outside; 2 acoustic instruments and 2 synthesizers filtering what is occurring in the surrounding environment. I think it is also interesting to simply listen to the duo as it is, but imagine how our perceptions in a listening environment might affect the duo’s timbre and vibrancy.

anP: How did you become interested in just intonation/non-tempered tuning?

CL: It was a very gradual process. First it was the growing interest in timbral overlays and spectrality, then the study of Hindusthani music in India, then meeting James Tenney who introduced me to Helmholtz.

aP: What is your relationship to string instruments? Has it changed throughout your compositional journey?

CL: I started to play the viola when I was around eight years old, so strings have been very close to my ears for a long time now. The viola taught me ratio tuning. It also helped me to listen inside an orchestra.

aP: What is a dream trip you would like to go on one day?

CL: Outer Space!

aP: Ideal snack food?

CL: Pani Puri


Check out more of Catherine’s work on her website!

Composer Highlight: Kristofer Svensson by and Play

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We are so close to the premiere performance of ‘Translucent Harmonies’, and we couldn’t be more excited! Kristofer is in town and we have been workshopping with him over the weekend, which is a process that we really cherish. It has been a joy to work on this beautiful new piece, and get a chance to work with him a second time (we worked with him back in 2016)! If you are in NYC you can see a little pre-concert talk with him on October 23rd at Scandinavia House at 7:30pm in the concert hall. Now, get to know him a bit more before then in this mini-interview!


aP: Tell us a little bit about your piece.

KS: The title in Swedish means  "by the stone wall, thought becomes flower". I wanted to create a similar kind of very simple delight that might appear when walking past a stone wall, seeing a flower, and at that moment leaving oneself and one's habitual passions behind to realize the non-separation between mind and flower. The last few years, I have been interested in musical listening experiences that are somehow related to how we might listen to sounds when not listening to music, such as when being in the forest, or being close to the water and listening to foghorns and waves through misty reeds.

aP: How did you become interested in just intonation?

KS: I arrived at Just Intonation (or 'defined intonation') from a few converging paths: I realized early on that equal temperament (or 'non-defined intonation') was the cultural and historical product of a set of particular aesthetic priorities that I did not share (I also thought it sounded rather poor); the movement and interaction of tones was one of the most important musical concerns of mine (much more so than, say, something like gestures); I was interested in meditation and intimate modes of listening; I was enjoying and studying various Asian traditional musics (most importantly the gǔqín). I guess I was also lucky that I met with Just Intonation (JI) early on in my compositional path, before I had developed a set of habits confined to the usage of non-defined intonation, and that I wasn't discouraged by the non-existence of other musicians working with JI in my surroundings, or with the mathematics involved. 

aP: What is your relationship to string instruments? Has it changed throughout your compositional journey?

KS: I try to, as many other composers, find a point where it becomes difficult to distinguish my own will from the will and intentions of the instruments themselves. For every piece I write and the more experience I get from the instruments, the more I move in this direction. I don't want to use the instruments for "my" purposes or to deliver my "Music" but rather the other way around: write music that delivers the instruments themselves. Ideally, this piece for andPlay is about the coming together of the violin-ness of the violin and viola-ness of the viola. Such an approach to instruments could, perhaps, be described as love. 

aP: What is a dream trip you would like to go on one day?

KS: It would be a blessing to one day be able to make a pilgrimage to the holy places of Tibet. I'd love to meet the mountain Gang Rinpoche (Kailash), approaching it from the Rakshastal lake. 

aP: Ideal snack food?

KS: I don't know about ideal, but I've just been spending six weeks on Java and have been snacking away on all the local chips called kripiks; I especially like the ones made from jackfruit (kripik nangka) because it's wonderful taste and because it's usually very dry so that I can eat it with my hands while working. 

aP: What is something that we must see/hear/taste in Sweden on our upcoming tour?


KS: I have been hearing all about Hannah's mania for zoos on previous andPlay trips, so I think a trip to the outdoors zoo Skansen in Stockholm to befriend some Scandi-animals (scandimals) would be fun. 


Check out more from Kristofer on his website (or take a look at some of dreamy pics on instagram @kristofer.svensson)!