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.

Vanishing Act

This is what a movie score is supposed to do—blend so seamlessly into the entire picture (so to speak) that you don’t even notice it.

Sounds Heard: Annie Gosfield—Almost Truths and Open Deceptions

In the liner notes of her latest recording, Almost Truths and Open Deceptions, Annie Gosfield writes of her “parallel lives” performing music with her own band and writing fully notated compositions for other musicians and ensembles. With both of those worlds represented on this recording, it seems more that her two creative worlds are deeply interconnected, influencing one another and sharing common musical elements and sources of inspiration.

The Notation of Friendship and Formality

Whatever type of notation we use—minimal, maximal, standard practice, or completely made up from scratch—it is not only a road map to bring sounds to life, but it also often tells a parallel story of the lives communicating those sounds.

The Need for Speed

Both composers who are prolific and those who are not have reasons for working at their own paces, and it seems that both options (not to mention those in between) can be valid. There has been life-altering music written at the speed of light, and also in the thickest molasses of slowness.