Composer Highlight: Brendan Faegre / by and Play

Hello, and we are back with our Composer Highlight series! We are rehearsing tons and getting really excited for our Permutations show that we are splitting with the Fragments Duo (Sarah Goldfeather, violin and Justine Aronson, voice) at Cloud City this Wednesday, Dec. 17th at 8 PM.

We performed Brendan's Four Koans on our first concert together on Fire Island back in the Summer of 2012, and it holds a special place in our heart. At that time we didn't even have all four of them, only three! We really wanted to give everyone a chance to get to know him better (and Maya just always wants to know what everyone is snacking on). 

Without further ado, here is the man of the hour!

Can you describe your piece in three words?

four musical koans

Now you can use all of the words that you want!

Great!  I remember when I was a teenager my dad told me about Zen Buddhism and the fascinating techniques they had developed for pursuing enlightenment.  Things like meditation, raking gravel, koans.  The idea of a koan--an irrational statement, story, or question designed to foil the logical mind and allow for an intuitive and spontaneous type of comprehension--stuck with me over the years.  I tried to meditate on a few koans in one of my dad's books, but I didn't have the patience to sit down and contemplate a mysterious question for a week.  However, I found that I did have the patience to sit down for that long and contemplate sounds and musical ideas.  So I composed these four musical koans as a way of translating part of the koan idea into a purely sonic medium, so that audiences, performers, I, and other sonically-inclined folks could all really grapple with the idea.

What inspired you while writing this piece?

Oops.  I think I just said all that in the last question.  I could also add that from the geeky composer side of things, Lasse Thoresen's ideas about "spectromorphology" were a big inspiration.

What are you listening to on repeat these days?

The Bad Plus's "Made Possible"

What is your go-to midnight snack?

Right now, these gluten-free crackers that taste kind of like Saltines, with some olives, and mint tea.

 Any fun winter travel plans? Bundled up, bathing suited up, or staying put?

Going with my wife to visit her family in Argentina for the holidays.  Bathing suited up indeed!


Check out more things from Brendan on his website!