Composer Highlight: Brian Petuch / by and Play

The news is ABLAZE with talk of snowmageddon 2016 that is supposed to happen this Saturday, but worry not! As long as we can get there (and let's be real, we will believe the hype when we see it) our show is STILL HAPPENING (Sat., Jan. 23rd at Spectrum @ 7 PM). You should definitely come too, because this guy (Brian) will be there and we are playing his incredible piece, The Pequod for andPlay + electronics. Can't wait! Now see what Brian has to say...

Tell us a bit about your piece. 

The Pequod is a reference to the ship in Moby Dick. I read Moby Dick last summer for the first time while on the coast of Oregon. The immensity and dark Pacific coast only made the book more real to me. While reading I contemplated the scope of the Pequod’s journey on the vast sea, the scope of Captain Ahab's futile quest to conquer Moby Dick which led to the Pequod's inevitable demise. It was both beautiful and terrifying. I came to see it as a futile quest to conquer mortality in an unforgiving and impartial world. That's essentially what I was trying to express with this piece. I didn't start the piece with the Pequod in mind, but as I was writing it I was also reading Moby Dick so I eventually made the connection about what I was doing. The entire title of my piece is "The Pequod - On Infinite Blueness", I arrived at from a wonderful quote in the book that summarizes my sentiments.

"Ah! how they still strove through that infinite blueness to seek out that thing that might destroy them!"


Did you have any particularly invigorating or difficult times when writing your piece for andPlay?

I've been writing very energetic and fun sounding pieces recently. To make a switch to something brooding, introverted, and intense was a challenge. Usually my music has a very overt rhythmic drive, but The Pequod is freer. For that it was much more difficult. It was also a relief to work on something I found artistically fulfilling. I'm happy with it and I hope everyone can take something positive from it!


What music has most recently inspired you (to write, dance, since, be a better person, etc.)?

I've been on a big Bach and Ligeti kick recently. That comes in cycles. And I always listen to Stravinsky. I guess I've prematurely grown into my old man form. Also I've been digging that band Death Grips. So maybe I haven't reached maximum elder status just yet.


You are stranded on a desert island. What snack do you bring?

Hmmm. Are we talking about a snack for survival? I'd probably die there pretty quickly so I'd bring the most delicious thing, chips and spicy salsa.


Lastly, do you have a fun fact that you have learned recently?

All this talk about chips and salsa made me hungry so I googled it and found out that the origins of salsa go all the way back to the Incas!


Check out more from Brian at his website and soundcloud!