Composer Highlight: Bethany Younge / by and Play


We are so excited to finally bring Bethany Younge's new piece out into the world. It really challenged us technically with a tough vocalization + playing part, but all of the hard work has paid off and ing ing ing ing ing ing ing ing ing ing ing into has us feeling powerful! We cannot wait to share it on Saturday, April 21st at Areté Venue and Gallery at 7:30pm!


What was your experience like writing for violin/viola duo? Was there anything unexpected about the writing process?

Strings are always harder for me to write for because I never learned how to play any stringed instruments and I'm very much a hands-on composer. With that in mind, I made a tape part from my vocalizations to serve as a guide for treating the strings as voices. All the actual string playing is very much secondary, serving mostly as an impulse or impetus behind all other sonic matter. 

What is your relationship to the voice in your compositions? How did you know you wanted to use speaking/singing in your piece for andPlay?

When instrumentalists use their own voices, I imagine their instruments are speaking through their bodies. The violin and viola instruments function as the mind behind the mechanics of the throat, tongue, teeth, lips to communicate. I also suspected that by having the string players speak, there'd be a strong connection to the non-spoken vocalizations in the electronic track. The disassembled words and vocalizations in both the tape part and the spoken text seem unnatural, processed, technological much in the same way that string instruments are a technology. Maybe I'm trying to break or challenge the barriers between technology and human voice. 

Is there anything you would like the audience to know before hearing the piece?

The many voices (strings, human voice, electronic voice) compete to be heard. Do you hear 3 voices, 2 voices, or 1 giant conglomerate voice, or no voices at all? 

What are some of your bucket-list travel destinations?

Chile, Ecuador, Japan

If you could only bring one snack for a ten hour flight what would it be?

bagel chips


Check out more of Bethany's work on her website!