Author Archives: Alexandra Gardner

Success Stories

It happens with the onset of every new year—as people take a bit of time to assess where they have been and look ahead to where they are going and/or where they wish to go, discussions revolving around the nature of success crop up.

The Role of Analysis: A Different Angle

A couple of weeks ago, David Smooke picked up a topic that had also been on my mind: how important is analysis to the performance of a new composition? My thoughts have been spinning on this topic since then, so I wanted to approach it from a slightly different angle.

Sounds Heard: Michael Harrison & Maya Beiser—Time Loops

For the recording Time Loops cellist Maya Beiser teams up with composer/pianist Michael Harrison to perform a number of Harrison’s works inspired by “music from ancient Greece and the Renaissance, Indian ragas and Minimalism.” All of his music is performed in just intonation, and the result is an ear-openingly clear, bright sound that fits the instrument beautifully and highlights the ecstatic, spiritual nature of the compositions.

Adventures in Orchestra, Part 3: Final Thoughts

A lot of ground has been covered in Part 1 and Part 2 of this little series on working with an orchestra. Here are a few final points, based largely on questions people have asked about the process and timeline of this composition for the Seattle Symphony.

Adventures in Orchestra, Part 2: Unlikely Collaborators

Before I signed on to the Seattle Symphony’s Sonic Evolution project, the orchestra had decided that this year one of the works would include a soloist, and I was invited to work with Alan White, long time drummer of the band Yes. My initial thought was, “How on earth am I going to deal with an honest-to-goodness rock star?”

Nat Evans: Outward Bound

Over the past two years in cities throughout the U.S., groups of people have been gathering, digital music players in hand and headphones in place, to watch the sun rise or set. It must be an odd sight for anyone stumbling across these scenes—25 to 50 people all “plugged in,” intently facing in the direction of the sun. They are all listening to the same music by composer Nat Evans.

Adventures in Orchestra, Part 1: Locking Down the End Game

I have been keeping notes about what I learned during the process of creating my orchestra piece, and there are so many things that could be helpful to others that I wanted to begin putting them out there for other composers who are or will be working with an orchestra for the first time.

Seattle Symphony: Partying Like It’s 1962

Designed to take place in the grand lobby of Benaroya Hall—a welcoming space with gigantic windows overlooking the city—the inaugural concert of the Seattle Symphony series called [untitled] celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair by presenting works composed exclusively in 1962.