Chamber Music

Dive Deep in Blue, My Sweet

Traditional Score

Flute, Clarinet in Bb, Violin, Cello, Percussion, Piano, Tape, Video, Conductor and Amateur Theremin

9:30

2018-2019

Created for TAK Ensemble

About

Dive Deep in Blue, My Sweet is a weird water world—a queer puddle through which we can just about make out an infinity mirror made of youtube videos, warbled strains of familiar classical music, strange bird calls and stranger songs. Nothing is quite as it seems here… put your white tennis shoes on and follow me. 

(dedicated to Linda Catlin Smith and Cassandra Miller)

Dive Deep in Blue, My Sweet relies on the virtuosity (and generosity!) of performers. For the most part, they perform as individuals (or duos), contributing to a greater sonic environment. The conductor never beats time (beyond potentially giving cues) or indicates expression, but instead acts as a facilitator for the entries and exits of instruments. Partway through, the conductor is even waylaid into playing the theremin!

Performances

  • March 30, 2019 by Continuum as part of PIVOT 2019 (hosted by the Canadian League of Composers) at the Music Gallery, Toronto

Acknowledgements

Dive Deep in Blue, My Sweet was created as a part of PIVOT 2019 (hosted by the Canadian League of Composers)

For a copy of the score please contact me.

Moonriver32

Traditional Score

Unspecified Chamber Ensemble (at least 4 instruments) + solo amplified voice + tape + video

5:00

2018-2019

Created for TAK Ensemble

About

Moonriver32 is dedicated to the memory of my aunt, Patricia Bouk. This piece draws inspiration and material from a number of sources: a recording of a dying carousel playing Moon River, Audrey Hepburn singing the same iconic song in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, my early teenage experience designing roller coasters… The video in Moonriver32 depicts an impossible roller coaster… a kind of whimsical yet nightmarish Audrey Hepburn-themed thrill ride. When I designed roller coasters at an early age, I was concerned with realism. Now, fifteen years later, I am more inspired by conceptual art and Disney’s Imagineering than real world physics….

Performances

Acknowledgements

Moonriver32 was created with the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts. The roller coaster was created using NoLimits 2, and the video was edited in Adobe Premiere Pro.

aaadagio

Traditional Score

String Orchestra (55432)

11:00

2017

Commissioned by the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra

About

For the last three years, I have not written a single note of music. Instead, I’ve made pieces collaboratively with musicians using any means except musical notation. I’ve made pieces that consist solely of orally-transmitted descriptions of an imaginary factory. I’ve made pieces that chew up existing music and spit it out into tangled new configurations. I’ve made pieces for art galleries that contain only speaking, not a note of music to be heard.

This piece for the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra marks my return to traditional musical notation. But with it I bring the great joy and endless possibility that I found using these other compositional methods.

In writing for the MCO, I have chosen to use Barber’s Adagio as a source material. I’ve always been intrigued by the first musical phrase of the piece: the succulent chords, the sense of floating tension…

I like to imagine Barber’s Adagio as a great ship that sails calmly through our collective subconscious. In my piece, aaadagio, we listen to what lies beneath the behemoth ship. What turgid melodies swirl through the deep? What creaking sounds does the ship make while weathering a storm? How does light sound when it glints on the water.

A former composition teacher would often jokingly ask me what the effect would be if I used Barber’s Adagio to end of one of my compositions. This piece is my answer.

(aaadagio is dedicated to Chris Paul Harman, to whom I owe my love of musical provocation)

Performances

  • April 26, 2017, the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra (Winnipeg, MB)

Acknowledgements

I acknowledge the support of the Manitoba Arts Council and the SOCAN Foundation

For a full score or recording, please contact me

smokescreen

Living Score

SATB Choir + Percussion

Open Duration (c.a. 10 minutes)

2016

Commissioned by Architek Percussion and Viva Voce

About

Smokescreen is an orally-transmitted piece created in collaboration with Architek Percussion and Viva Voce in Montreal.

To create the piece, I used a late 14th century work by Solage (fumeaux fume par fumée) as the source material. This mysterious and beautiful motet is stretched into glacially slow intervals punctuated by hazy static and shimmering choral resonances (how’s that for a program note!)

Performances

  • January 17, 2016 at Salle Bourgie, Architek Percussion and Viva Voce, Directed by Peter Schubert (Montreal, QC)
  • April 4, 2016 at Sala Rossa, Architek Percussion (Montreal QC)

Acknowledgements

I acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

 

 

made of my mother’s cravings

Living Score

String Quartet

Open Duration

2014

made in collaboration with Quatuor Bozzini as a part of Composer’s Kitchen 2014

About

I created Made of My Mother’s Cravings in collaboration with the Bozzini String Quartet between June 2014 (Montreal) and November 2014 (Huddersfield). My goal for the project was to investigate the ways in which memory could be used as a process to transform not only musical material (as seen in works by Lucier, Fox, Saunders, and Walshe) but musical scores themselves.

I held private meetings with each member of the quartet, telling them different aspects of the work (pitch, form, affect, timbre, reactions, relationships, concepts, etc). Some information was to be shared with the group, while some was to be kept private. I asked the quartet not to record any of the conversations. The group then assembled the piece using their individual memories of the score, and performed the piece in Montreal. Six months passed by, and the group remounted the piece in Huddersfield, UK. Because there was no written or recorded score, the quartet had to play the piece from memory. Several extraordinary musical transformations occurred. The piece continues to exist solely in recorded artifacts (akin to documentary photos of performance art) and the memory of the performers.

Because living scores exist solely in my memory and the memories of the performers, generally re-performances are instigated by the same ensemble or musician (thus illustrating the transformation of the piece over time). However, living scores can be made transferable either via temporary audio recordings of spoken instructions (which expire after one view/listen) or surrogate conversationalists (as in a game of telephone). These methods ensure the living scores retain their essential ephemerality, which allows for their vibrant transformation over time in human memory.

Performances

  • June 2014, Quatuor Bozzini (Montreal, QC)
  • November 2014, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Quatuor Bozzini (Huddersfield, UK)

Other Documentation

Full recording found below: