Composer Highlight: Peter Kramer


We are beyond thrilled to present a new batch of composers to you for our upcoming String Theories concert on March 22nd @ 8 PM at Roulette presented by the String Orchestra of Brooklyn (SOB)! First up is Peter Kramer, an Oberlin grad just like ourselves and a current doctoral candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center. Carrie Frey, violist, friend, and member of Chartreuse introduced us to Peter's piece, Cantus Fractabilis, and we knew that if would be a great piece for this program. We hope to see you at the show so that you can hear this great piece and the amazing scordatura that goes along with it!

What is something you would like the audience to know about your piece?

The piece is partly improvised, inspired by the chaconne and passacaglia forms of the renaissance, the players are tasked to repeat a sequence of chords (a sort of phasing canon) with different techniques and variation at each repetition, an ever-changing scordatura also becomes a feature as the piece progresses, altering the original pitch material. 


What was your inspiration/mind set when writing your piece?

Having studied harpsichord as an undergraduate at Oberlin, I wanted to utilize a sound world and gestural idioms in this piece that reflected the repertoire I was immersed in as a keyboardist.


Do you have any non-music related traditions that you do to get your creativity flowing?

Shower, shave, and a good breakfast!


What is your favorite car/travel snack?

Wasabi almonds!


If you had to live the rest of your life without cheese or chocolate which would you choose?

Cheese and champagne is my #1 favorite food, hotdogs come in second, chocolate is not included on this list... but I eat it with pleasure.


Check out more from Peter at his website and come to the show on Tuesday to hear Cantus Fractabilis!

Artist Highlight: Grace Engel

We would like you to meet our lovely friend and collaborator, Grace Engle. She made the INCREDIBLE poster for our upcoming Notes on Fiction concert at the Center for Fiction (Thursday, Feb. 11th at 7:30). This concert has not only been a great opportunity for us to bring a story and music together, but also to work with an artist on creating a depiction of this magical world that we want to immerse our audience in. Feast you eyes on this and some of the other pieces that Grace is sharing with us!


Tell us a bit about yourself and what you are up to!

First off, thank you so much for not only approaching me for collaboration, but also for these fun questions!

I've been interested in art my whole life but I only got serious about it in the last few years when I went to an artist residency in Missouri. I spent a year there working on technique and learning from fantastic peers. Through the opportunities offered me by my residency, I was able to open up my Etsy store and actually get some income for my weaving and ceramics. 

Now, I'm working as a Wilderness Recovery Guide in Asheville, North Carolina, and experimenting with my art in some exciting new ways! It really fuels my life and brings a level of joy to each day that nothing else ever has.


How does your collaboration with andPlay fit into your body of work/other collabs that you have done?

I was so thrilled when I heard details about the Notes On Fiction performance and immediately had a lot of ideas running through my mind for the poster. I love working on pieces like this because I was given a few parameters about content, and then told to just run with it and let my inspiration take over. It's really great for me as an artist when I feel like I have a lot of flexibility in a commission and that my developing style can come through naturally. 

A lot of my work is figurative but I deeply enjoy drawing flora and fauna, especially when I can get dense with it. I wanted to bring a youthful aspect to the piece and drew inspiration from some of my favorite illustrators, such as Tove Jansson. I'm really excited about the finished piece and I wish I could attend the concert!

What has been inspiring you lately?

Two things leap to mind; Goauche painting and Pat Perry. I've been using watercolors for years but only got into Goauche recently. It's so much fun to play with and it's a really versatile medium.

Pat Perry has been a favorite artist of mine for several years. I look at his art on a daily basis. He's a role model to me in many ways, since he started going to school for art and then decided to quit and just draw on his own. I used to feel like my art could never live up to my own expectations since I didn't attend an art school, but looking at Perry's independently-developed body of work has been a constant relief and inspiration to me. He is truly committed to his craft. 

Favorite 'nobody-is-watching' snack?

Anybody can watch me eat, and that's a fact. I've been eating dried mangoes like it was nobody's business lately. I will also admit that a lot of chocolate goes into my body on a real frequent basis.


What have you andLiked this week? (Anything from a book, movie, tv show, music, podcast, etc.)

I'm living in a Steinbeck world right now! A few months ago, I read The Red Pony which started this domino effect of me only reading Steinbeck novels. I just finished East of Eden and I was incredibly impressed by it! 

Follow Grace on her instagram

and check out her Etsy shop (Maya carries her pencils and pens around in one of these incredible pouches, and cannot stop showing it off!)

the andPlay creation story....

While Maya and I (Hannah) survived blizzard Jonas in our separate boroughs, we thought about our upcoming concert on Feb. 11th at the Center for Fiction (more about that concert next week, but in the meantime you can read our interview with Sugar Vendil here).  This year, we had a goal of having more andPlay + concerts, meaning concerts where we branched out beyond the duo to perform with our extremely talented and fun friends.  So far we jammed with Concert Black at the New Music Gathering (video here) and will eventually have a concert with flutist Martha Cargo on February 17th (our first one was thwarted by the blizzard!).  

 Funny short snowman I found in Inwood Hill Park the day after the blizzard. 

Funny short snowman I found in Inwood Hill Park the day after the blizzard. 

On February 11th we will be performing Franco Donatoni's "About" for violin, viola, and guitar with our good friend Jordan Dodson .  Jordan is not only an incredibly talented guitarist and a goofy guy to hang out with, but was also present at the birth of andPlay!  You can read a little more about our beginnings in our interview with Sugar, but we shared a Fire Island residency with Jordan in 2012.  It was at that residency that we decided to officially become andPlay -- though we did not have the name picked out yet.  If I remember correctly we might have played a trio or two with Jordan on that concert as well (and were both promptly seduced by his tangos, along with the rest of Fire Island).  

This is all to say that we are so thrilled to be working with Jordan again and to be tackling this Donatoni trio!  

 This is the selfie we sent to Jordan once he had listened to the Donatoni and said he liked it!  

This is the selfie we sent to Jordan once he had listened to the Donatoni and said he liked it!  

andLiked this week: Marrakesh Carrot salad from the Joy the Baker.  I offered a bite to Maya and she almost ran away with the tupperware.