re:Write official music video!

re:Write

Video credits: Stock footage from Internet Archive (https://archive.org). Additional live footage from NMASS Festival courtesy of COTFG (http://friendlyghost.org). Edited by Meerenai Shim.

Download the single - BandcampiTunesSpotify

Audio credits: single released June 30, 2017. Performed by A/B Duo: Meerenai Shim, flute. Christopher G. Jones, percussion and vocals. Written/produced by Andrew M. Rodriguez. Mastered by Zach Herchen.

New Single! re:Write is out now!

We commissioned re:Write from Andrew M. Rodriguez and we loved it so much that we decided to record it and release it as a single right away!

re:Write has a chill electronic pop vibe. You can hear the Postal Service influences on the track. 

"To fully comprehend why re:Write is what it is, one must first understand who A/B Duo are, because without A/B Duo there would be no re:Write. When I first heard recordings of this flute and percussion duo, I didn’t think of it is “chamber music”. I heard them as an indie band, a rock band, a punk band--a couple of musicians doing things their own way, outside of the norm. This perception helped to shape my approach of writing (and rewriting) this piece."      - Andrew M. Rodriguez

Many thanks to Andrew for writing the piece, mixing the track, and being an all-around pro!

re:Write can also be found on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, CD Baby, Spotify, and Pandora!

Instead of fancy recording studios, we tracked the flute. percussion, and vocals ourselves in a rehearsal room at the Eastman School of Music. 

Instead of fancy recording studios, we tracked the flute. percussion, and vocals ourselves in a rehearsal room at the Eastman School of Music. 

We're back!

It's been a few months since our last blog post. What have we been doing? A lot. Just not as a duo. We scheduled a little break for a few reasons:

1. We scheduled a little break from performing so that Chris could focus on studying for his DMA written exams. And he must have put the break to good use because he passed! One huge step towards Dr. Jones!

2. Recently, Meerenai joined Areon Flutes and Chris joined Clocks in Motion. Even though they are both part-time ensembles there's a lot to do when one joins a group.

We are now back in business and will be performing again starting in May!

Since our last blog post, we played a few shows in the San Francisco Bay Area, including at SF Music Day:


We have also received some awesome reviews for "Variety Show" in Fanfare Magazine and Bandcamp Daily! If you haven't checked it out yet, we hope you will soon!


vibrant and wide-ranging
— Bandcamp Daily
There is much delicacy here; the performance is simply beautiful.
— Fanfare Magazine

Gratitude

We want to take a moment to thank all of the people who backed our Kickstarter project and made it possible for us to produce our upcoming album, Variety Show. We are lucky to be surrounded by well-wishers and supportive people but then when those people actually (many who are struggling artist too) put their hard-earned money behind our projects, we are really moved. Really, we can feel your collective wind on our sails! :)

Thank you to those who gave money to our campaign.

Thank you to our colleagues, teachers, and gate keepers who took a chance on us and gave us advice, an opportunity, or a venue.

Thank you to our friends and family who housed us on tour or donated their time and efforts so that we can pursue our passion.

Thank you to those of you who took time out of your busy day to come out to one of our shows. We loved seeing everyone of you there at every show.

Thank you to the composers who wrote pieces for us, often at below-market rates. 

Dear Mario Godoy, John Hain, Lanier Sammons, Ellen Wall, Gahlord Dewald, Curious Quail, Amy Likar, Alberto Hernandez, Sarah Goldstein Post, Jonathan Thompson, Cory Tiffin, Steven Ralph, Zach Herchen, Wes Flinn, Jared Yackiw, Jay C. Batzner, Manny Hernandez, Ryan Rey, Nathan Brown, Belinda Brouette, Kate Botelho, DL Brown, Kristin Elliott, Ellen and Stewart Satterfield, Matthew Pellegrino, David MacDonald, Kira Dralle, David Drexler, Dan Fendel, Mark Boseman, Robert Rabinowitz, Derek Stults, Kyle Flens, Jason Charney, Caleb Herron, Margaret Whelehan, Kevin Keller, Garrett Mendelow, P. D. Waltman, Edo Frenkel, Daniel Pate, Adam Neal, Dan McManus, Jenna Nishida, Jamie Wind Whitmarsh, Evan Runyon, Wei-Han Wu, Kendra Emery, Eddie Rothmel, Mark Connor, Don and Zandra Hill, Emlyn Johnson, Andrea Venet-Wills, Annie Stevens, Matthew Wallace, Holly Roadfeldt, Doug Machiz, Zack Browning, Brendon Randall-Myers, Rebecca Schmidt, Marisa Garber, Valerie Coleman-Page, Pavel Sullivan, Nicole Chamberlain, Barbara von Schilcher, Dan Thorpe, Lee Hartman, Peter Whitbeck, Gordon Fry, Ben Willis, Ivan Trevino, Lorraine Jones, Linda Reinkemeyer, Jill Quigley, Kristin Robinett, Jim Kuemmerle, U Chang and Kae Sook Shim, Brooks Frederickson, Julie Johansson, Anthony Joseph Lanman, Frances and Paul Stephan, Janice Misurell-Mitchell, Sarah Gartin, Miguel Rodriguez, Elizabeth Satterfield, Cathy Satterfield, Matt Sharrock, Aaron Jay Myers, Christopher Condon, Andrei Strizek, Carolyn Whitbeck, Shana Norton, Dale Trumbore, Thomas Whitbeck, Hannah Addario-Berry, Sara Allison, Sean Connors, Elizabeth Polischuck, Anna Norris, Apple Orange Pair, Jill Heinke Moen, Josh Ingojo, Sandra and John Warren, Bailey and Phil Whitbeck, Drew Baker, Debbie Girolamo, Jessica Rudman, Zach Nowak, Erik Jones, Chris Pine, Doctor Popular, Thomas Caprio, David Farrell, David Abraham, Giacomo Fiore, John H. Beck, Jennifer Bellor, Nikki Morton, Yun Chang, Chuck Furlong, Dani Metzger, Alan Theisen, Brian Stotz, Garrett Shatzer, Tom Dempster, Andrew Rodriguez, Kim Hickey, Aaron Gervais, Bill Cahn, Matt Payne, Isaac Schankler, Arlene & Larry Dunn, Stephen Lias, Claire Conwell, Ian Dicke, Philippa Thompson, Philip Gelb, Emma Logan, Andrea Reinkemeyer, Kristina Finch, Aleks Sternfeld-Dunn, Ned McGowan, Andrea La Rose, Dan Yang, Nicole Philipp, Anne McKennon, Post-Haste Reed Duo, Michelle McQuade Dewhirst, John Rush, Douglas Laustsen, Sue Rupp, Simon Hutchinson, and Ken Ueno,

Thank you for believing in us.

Love,

Meerenai and Chris

PS. If you pre-ordered a CD or download via Kickstarter, your CD/download is in the mail! If you missed your chance, you can pre-order the album now at abduomusic.bandcamp.com.

Pre-order our first full-length album

Variety Show

We have commissioned and performed some fantastic music since performing as a duo in 2013. Now it's time to record them professionally so that we can share this great music with a wider audience!

Variety Show will feature compositions by Drew Baker, Brooks Frederckson, Brendon Randall- Myers, Ian Dicke, Zack Browning, Andrea Reinkemeyer, and Ned McGowan.

The Drew Baker piece is already recorded and mixed. We will be recording the rest of the compositions this month at Fantasy Studios, in Berkeley, CA. We plan to release the album in CD and digital download formats in early October 2016 on the Aerocade Music label. 

Your contributions will go towards studio rental, paying for mechanical licenses, manufacturing CDs and publicity for the album.

 

                  Meerenai's drawing that will be used on the new t-shirts and coasters, that could be yours!

                  Meerenai's drawing that will be used on the new t-shirts and coasters, that could be yours!

Top 5 unusual things we had to do for music

We've seen some weird/unusual stuff in the compositions we have performed over the years. Many of those unusual things translate into difficult things because they are things that we never expected to have to do. Here's our short list of the most unusual or difficult things we had to learn in order to perform some pieces.

 

Chris

(Composition - why it was unusual/difficult)

Ken Ueno building - Its not often that percussionists have to learn how to play non-percussion related instruments. But in Ken's piece I had to learn how to play the flute. At the beginning and the end of the work the percussionist plays a long tone on a flute headjoint for a minimum of 20 seconds. Definitely no small feat! After taking some lessons with Meerenai and putting in some practice time on my breath control I have a new appreciation for flutists. 

Sidney Hodkinson Kerberos - This is a piece for solo snare drum and voice, that requires the percussionist to simultaneously speak and play. Performing the proper inflection of each word while coordinating my snare drum part was definitely a new experience. Combined with the aggressive nature of the text and aesthetic required a level of commitment to the performance that embodied the spirit of Kerberos, the multi-headed dog that guards the underworld in Greek mythology.

Mark Applebaum Straitjacket - The last movement, Taquinoid, requires each percussionist to complete a portion of a mural on a large piece of paper. The music is comprised of short rhythmic measures which correlate to the strokes of the pen on paper. Each percussionist plays unison rhythm, but with varying shapes that when you reach the end of the movement creates one large mural thats been drawn over 5 individual pieces of paper. Definitely check out a video of it on youtube if you've never seen it!

Janice Misurell-Mitchell The Art of Noise - As a percussionist, I'm often asked to play a variety of instruments in one piece. It's one of my favorite parts of playing percussion, the variety of instruments. Janice takes the art of variety (see what I did there) to a whole new level, in this one piece I play 38 different instruments over a12-minute work. Needless to say, the "choreography" of moves to each instrument was just as crucial as learning all the notes. 

George Crumb Music for a Summer Evening - In the 2nd movement, entitled "wanderer-fantasy" both percussionists play slide whistles into the piano strings with the pedal depressed, creating an ethereal and dream-like atmosphere. Crumb creates a stunning texture but the difficulty is that the slide whistles parts are melodic with specific pitch and rhythm that interact to create various dyads. We had to mark on the slide whistle where our starting pitch was and then use our ears to correctly find each successive pitch. Glad I paid attention in aural skills class!

 

Meerenai

(Composition - why it was unusual/difficult)

Cornelius Boots Chthonic Flute Suite - The 3rd movement of this piece requires that the flutist playing the 1st flute part blow across what I like to call the butt end of the flute in the style of a ney and change pitches by depressing the keys in the foot joint and body of the flute. (!!!) It's genius, fun, effective, and really hard to get a consistently good sound from the very first note.

Ivan Trevino Things We Dream About - When Ivan asked me if I'd be cool with playing a little bit of drums on this piece, I said, "of course!" I said to myself, "how hard could it be?" Although the drum part for the flutist in this piece is rudimentary, it was a major challenge to keep a steady beat and actually learn a completely new instrument. This piece inspired me to take drum lessons. (Chris played all the drum parts when we recorded this piece!)

Ian Dicke Chaper One, Page One - This is a great piece for one flutist with a lot of looping and singing. The reason why I include this piece on this list is because I'm not a good singer. The flutist has to actually sing, for real. Not into the flute for a sound effect, but actually sing words in beautiful phrases. For someone who has never had a singing lesson, this is a major challenge.

Janice Misurell-Mitchell The Art of Noise - This was the first piece I've had to learn that combined many tricky aspects of performing contemporary classical music: most of the extended flute techniques, playing percussion instruments, and learning to perform while wearing a headset microphone.

Michael Gordon Yo Shakespeare - Both of the flute parts in the piece double on pan pipes. The pan pipe parts are really fast and it's very difficult to play on one intact actual tune-able pan pipe set. And, of course, I had zero actual pan pipe experience other than messing around on them now and then. I think this was the first time that I had to make instruments for a piece. I took a couple cheap bamboo pan pipe sets that I bought a long time ago and disassembled them, reassembled into useful pitch groups, and enlisted the help of my husband and his Dremel tool to cut the pipes into the correct frequencies.

 

What are some of the unusual things you've had to do in order to perform a piece? Let us know in the comments!

Brendon Randall-Myers

We are excited to share a little bit about Brendon Randall-Myers. We commissioned a new piece from Brendon and are looking forward to performing it in the 2015-2016 season.


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Q&A TIME WITH BRENDON RANDALL-MYERS:

A/B: Any pre/during/post composition rituals?
Brendon: During: being good to myself (runs everyday, good nutrition and good sleep). Post: crash and treat body like a trashcan (b-movies and frozen pizza. Anything that lets me turn my brain off).

A/B: Favorite drink after finishing a composition?
Brendon: Something hoppy and drunk-inducing.

A/B: Stay-cation or vacation?
Brendon: Don't leave the apartment unless dragged

A/B: Rom-com or Action-Thriller?
Brendon: Self-aware genre flicks...uh but definitely a penchant for action/martial arts/scifi/horror/thriller/etc.

A/B: Nsync or Backstreet?
Brendon: No

A/B: Cake or Pie?
Brendon: Pie

A/B: Favorite live musical moment?
Brendon: First moshpit at a Converge show in Worchester, MA. I've never really gotten over it.

A/B: Apple or Microsoft?
Brendon: Apple computer/Microsoft phone

A/B: Sibelius or Finale?
Brendon: Sibelius

A/B: Favorite Artist?
Brendon: Too many. Lately listening to lots of Ravel and Grisey, Deerhoof's Offend Maggie, Shellac's 1000 Hurts, and Matt Weston's not to be taken away. This summer I listened to Melt Banana's Fetch so many times I thought I was going crazy.

A/B: What was your first Instrument?
Brendon: Trombone

A/B: Guilty Pleasure?
Brendon: lparchive.org

A/B: Favorite breakfast food?
Brendon: 2-egg omelette, half a bagel, kiwi+berries, water. I'm a creature of habit.

A/B: Vinyl, cassette tape, compact discs, or mp3?
Brendon: ugh mp3s I guess

A/B: Your first LP, tape, CD, etc. purchase?
Brendon: Beck - Mutations

A/B: What was your first composition?
Brendon: 4-chord post-Metallica folk metal emo (I was an angsty homeschooled 12-year-old in rural West Virginia, what do you want from me)


BIO

Brendon Randall-Myers

Brendon Randall-Myers

Praised as "a unique musical voice" (Dustin Soiseth, The Loose Filter Project), Brendon Randall-Myers is a composer and guitarist working in experimental rock, classical music, and free improvisation. His music is viscerally direct, and challenges audiences to consider their boundaries and expectations by creating unstable, physically charged performances.

Brendon has received commissions from the Guitar Foundation of America, the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, the Norfolk Summer Festival, and the Guerilla Composers Guild, and from performers such as The Living Earth Show, Bearthoven, New Keys, Friction Quartet, clarinetist Gleb Kanasevich, Mobius Trio, Nonsemble 6, and violinist Todd Reynolds. His work has received support from the American Composers Forum, and he was the recipient of an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award in both 2013 and 2014.

An active guitarist, Brendon is a co-founder of the punk- and math rock-inflected composing/improvising groups Grains and Marateck, and a frequent performer of contemporary music. He has appeared with Dither Quartet, on the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, the Switchboard Music Festival, with Experiments in Opera, and on the Flea Theater's Music with a View series, among others.

Recent music includes East for keyboard ensemble New Keys, which was premiered in May 2014 at the group's 10th anniversary concert, Indefatigable Optimism for orchestra, which was premiered by the Yale Philharmonia in December 2013, and Inside Out for mixed sextet, which was premiered at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival at MASS MoCA in the summer of 2013. Gladwell, an exploration of music as a virus scored for 100 guitars, was premiered in 2012 by David Tanenbaum and the Guitar Foundation of America Bay Area Chapter guitar orchestra.

Current and upcoming projects include Juiced for Friction Quartet, new pieces for New York- based trio Bearthoven and the bi-coastal A/B Duo, the launch of a new composer/performer ensemble, and Marateck's debut album.

Brendon grew up home-schooled in rural West Virginia, and holds degrees from Pomona College and the Yale School of Music, where he studied with David Lang and Martin Bresnick. When not coaxing notes of his brain or guitar, he enjoys running, eating burritos, and consuming questionable sci-fi.

Visit Brendon's website for the latest news: www.brendonrandallmyers.com

Olivia Kieffer

We commissioned the Atlanta based percussionist and composer Olivia Kieffer.

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Olivia is bandleader, composer, and drummer for the Clibber Jones Ensemble, a 7-piece Chamber Rock band in Atlanta.


BIO:

Olivia Kieffer (b. 1980) hails from Appleton, Wisconsin. She joined the music faculty at Reinhardt University in 2009, where she teaches Applied Lessons, Percussion Methods, World Music, and directs the Reinhardt University Percussion Ensemble. Ms. Kieffer earned a Bachelor of Music at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and a Master of Music at Georgia State University. She studied with Allen Otte of the Percussion Group Cincinnati, and with Stuart Gerber. She feels at home in both the classical and rock world, and has been heard on recordings with Christopher Adler, Emory University Wind Ensemble, Georgia Brass Band, Tay0, and Clibber Jones Ensemble. Active in Atlanta’s vibrant New Music scene, she has performed with the Terminus Ensemble, Chamber Cartel, and Sonic Generator, and was co-founder of the Percussion Repertoire Group Atlanta. Ms. Kieffer has been a proud member of Chix With Stix Percussion Group since 2004. She is composer (under the pseudonym Clibber Jones), bandleader, and drummer for the 7-piece chamber rock group, Clibber Jones Ensemble. Her compositions are published through Living Creatures Press. Olivia’s music and her involvement in Chix with Stix and the Clibber Jones Ensemble have been highlighted in ArtsAtl, TomTom Magazine, the Atlanta Creative Music podcast, and WABE (90.1FM).

To see what she's up to now, please visit oliviakieffer.com.


Q&A TIME WITH OLIVIA KIEFFER:

A/B: Any pre/during/post composition rituals?
Olivia: The most consistent thing would be working at a messy desk every time.

A/B: Favorite drink after finishing a composition?
Olivia: Plymouth Gin, bitters, and club soda! (also called a Pink Gin by the British)

A/B: Rom-com or Action-Thriller?
Olivia: "Waiting for Guffman", which is both, obvs.

A/B: Favorite live musical moment?
Olivia: The most magical concert I ever attended was Tom Waits at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, in 2008.
Two of the most powerful experiences I've had as a performer were: Playing timpani on Mahler's Symphony No. 1, and performing "Drumming" in its entirety.

A/B: Sibelius or Finale?
Olivia: The first and only music notation software I've learned to use is Sibelius 7, and I think it's pretty good.
Notation takes the longest time! It is the one area in life where I am meticulous. I always spend way more time notating a piece than I do composing it. Yikes!

A/B: Favorite Artist?
Olivia: Pauline Baynes. She created all of the artwork in the Chronicles of Narnia books. I have tattoos of her woodcuts; that's how much I love her!

A/B: What was your first Instrument?
Olivia: My first instrument was the piano, which I started in first grade, and I was such a terrible student that my parents decided it was best if I took a break from piano for awhiles. Later I joined band class on Percussion, and that was the Golden Ticket!

A/B: Favorite Book?
Olivia: "A Wrinkle In Time" by Madeleine L'Engle.

A/B: Ideal vacation spot?
Olivia: I've always dreamed of staying in a house on a beach somewhere with the breeze and the water, all by myself for a few weeks, with no worries, and all I would do is compose and sleep.

A/B: Favorite breakfast food?
Olivia: Sushi, or, pizza.

A/B: Your proudest moment?
Olivia: One of my most exciting moments was my first composition lesson, which was with Marc Mellits via Skype. He helped me work some things out with my first commission, which was an electric guitar solo for my dear friend and bandmate, Darren Nelsen. I love Marc's music so much, and having those 2 "firsts" together was so uplifting!

A/B: Favorite movie?
Olivia: It's a tie between "Clue" and "Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)"

A/B: Your first LP, tape, CD, etc. purchase?
Olivia: "Hangin' Tough" by New Kids on the Block, on tape of course!

A/B: What was your first composition?
Olivia: "Workout With Jane Fonda", which was part of an electronic album of tunes that I wrote in 2008, called "Workout With Clibber Jones!". https://soundcloud.com/clibber/workout-with-jane-fonda
It's pretty amazing for aerobic dancing! Try it out!

Alan Theisen

We commissioned composer and saxophonist Alan Theisen! Yeah!

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BIO:

Alan Theisen (b. 4 October 1981) is professor of music at Mars Hill University where he is the coordinator of music theory and composition. He previously taught at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University (Bloomington) after receiving his Ph.D. in music theory and composition from Florida State University and degrees (B.M. - Music History & M.M. Music Theory) from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Theisen's compositions have been performed throughout the United States and Europe. His music, frequently commissioned by chamber and large ensembles, has been described by composer Dimitri Terzakis as being "the product of a unique talent." Commissioning organizations include the Argot Trio, A/B Duo, Force Majeure Quintet, Tromboteam!, Samford University, Trio Bel Canto, the Mana Quartet, Duo Fujin, members of the US Army bands, and the Asheville Community Band. Theisen's works combine an expressive melodic sensibility, a diverse harmonic language, and elaborate formal designs. 

Theisen also specializes in the analysis & pedagogy of post-1900/contemporary classical music and has presented research on these topics at multiple national and regional music conferences. Theisen is Past President of the South Central Society for Music Theory, serves on the executive board of Music Theory Southeast as a Member-At-Large, and was recently appointed to the editorial board of the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy (online division). He remains active as a saxophonist (classical recitals, wind ensembles, jazz bands, musical theater productions) and performed in two World Saxophone Congresses (2000 & 2003).

Theisen has performed with the Asheville Jazz Orchestra, the Russ Wilson Orchestra, Rational Discourse (an Asheville-based progressive jazz-rock group), and has served as a musician for the Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre and Asheville Community Theatre.

To see what he's up to now, please visit alantheisen.com.


Q&A TIME WITH ALAN THEISEN:

A/B: Any pre/during/post composition rituals?
Alan: Bourbon, stress

A/B: Favorite drink after finishing a composition?
Alan: Single-malt scotch

A/B: Stay-cation or vacation?
Alan: Vacation

A/B: Rom-com or Action-Thriller?
Alan: Complicated Action-Thriller

A/B: Nsync or Backstreet?
Alan: Justin Timberlake and those other four dudes

A/B: Cake or Pie?
Alan: Cake

A/B: Favorite live musical moment?
Alan: Hearing Chicago Symphony Orchestra finish performing the end of Mahler 9. Tears.

A/B: Apple or Microsoft?
Alan: Apple

A/B: Sibelius or Finale?
Alan: Finale

A/B: Favorite Artist?
Alan: Wassily Kandinsky

A/B: What was your first Instrument?
Alan: Saxophone

A/B: Favorite Book?
Alan: Fiction: "The Island of the Day Before" by Umberto Eco. Non-fiction: "Lutoslawski on Music"

A/B: Ideal vacation spot?
Alan: Somewhere far from here

A/B: Guilty pleasure?
Alan: I don't feel guilty about anything that gives me pleasure

A/B: Favorite Sesame Street character?
Alan: Oscar the Grouch

A/B: Favorite breakfast food?
Alan: D) All of the Above

A/B: Your proudest moment?
Alan: Any time a student of mine succeeds musically

A/B: Vinyl, cassette tape, compact discs, or mp3?
Alan: MP3. I know this makes me a jerk.

A/B: Name one item on your bucket list.
Alan: Perform as narrator for Berio's Sinfonia movement III.

A/B: Favorite movie?
Alan: Lawrence of Arabia

A/B: Your first LP, tape, CD, etc. purchase?
Alan: Tape of MC Hammer's "Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em"

A/B: What was your first composition?
Alan: Incidental music for my high school's production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

 

Photos and fun stuff

We've been sharing silly photos, video, and more on our social media accounts for a while. Here are a few of our favorite posts collected in one place for your viewing pleasure!

Recorded while we were working on "Ricochet" by Ned McGowan. (Meerenai is jealous that she can't flip her flutes during her rests!)

Did you know that we made a video game? Check it out.

Did you know that we made a video game? Check it out.

Ken Ueno

We commissioned the California-based composer, vocalist, improviser, and cross-disciplinary artist Ken Ueno to write a piece for us. We will be premiering his piece during the 2015-2016 season.

WHY?

Meerenai met Ken at the Aspen Music Festival many moons ago. Her first introduction to Ken's music was when she was unceremoniously assigned one of his pieces to conduct at an Aspen Contemporary Ensemble concert. Everyone in the conducting class initially felt sorry for Meerenai because Ken's score for No How On was the only handwritten one in the bunch. It turned out to be one of the better pieces on that concert though so she was happy to be a part of its premiere!

Fast forward to a few years ago...

Ken and Meerenai ended up in the Bay Area and casually discussed possibilities of working together. Finally when we were looking for composers to commission in 2012, Ken's name was on the short list.

We look forward to working with Ken on a new piece and trust that he now has an army of copyists, unlike his grad student days.  :)


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BIO: 

Ken's_AAB_Portrait-2.jpg

Winner of the 2006-2007 Rome Prize and the 2010-2011 Berlin Prize, Ken Ueno, is a composer, vocalist, improviser, and cross-disciplinary artist. His music coalesces diverse influences into a democratic sonic landscape. In addition to Heavy Metal sub-tone singing and Tuvan throat singing, he is also informed by European avant-garde instrumental techniques, American experimentalism, and sawari,  "beautiful noise," an aesthetic in traditional Japanese music.

In recent years, Ken has been collaborating with visual artists, architects, and video art ists to create unique cross-disciplinary art works. With the artist, Angela Bulloch, he has created several audio installations (driven with custom software), which provide audio input that affect the way her mechanical drawing machine sculptures draw. These works have been exhibited at Art Basel as well as at Angela’s solo exhibition at the Wolfsburg Castle. In collaborating with the architect, Patrick Tighe, Ken created a custom software-driven 8-channel sound installation that provided the sonic environment for Tighe’s robotically carved foam construction. Working with the landscape architect, Jose Parral, Ken has collaborated on videos, interactive video installations, and a multi-room intervention at the art space Rialto, in Rome, Italy.

Ken is currently an Associate Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. To see what he's up to now, please visit http://kenueno.com.


Q&A TIME WITH KEN UENO:

A/B:  Any pre/during/post composition rituals?

Ken:  Composing IS the ritual in life.

A/B:  Favorite drink after finishing a composition?

Ken:  Lagavulin

A/B:  Stay-cation or vacation?

Ken:  Constantly in exile.  For serious, I have no home right now.  So, I keep traveling.

A/B:  Rom-com or Action-Thriller?

Ken:  Neither. Experimental film. I'm a snob.

A/B:  Nsync or Backstreet?

Ken:  The Shaggs.

A/B:  Cake or Pie?

Ken:  Depends.

A/B:  Favorite live musical moment?

Ken:  Seeing Jeff Beck and Stevie Ray Vaughan double bill in LA back in the day.

A/B:  Apple or Microsoft?

Ken:  Apple. 

A/B:  Sibelius or Finale?

Ken:  Finale.

A/B:  Favorite Artist?

Ken:  Judith Scott

A/B:  Favorite Book?

Ken:  Ulysses

A/B:  Ideal vacation spot?

Ken:  Somewhere I've never been.

A/B:  Guilty pleasure?

Ken:  Kamen Rider!

A/B:  Favorite Sesame Street character?

Ken:  Big Bird

A/B:  Favorite breakfast food?

Ken:  Irish Full

A/B:  Your proudest moment?

Ken:  Passing my pre-school interview, when I was 2.

A/B:  Vinyl, cassette tape, compact discs, or mp3?

Ken:  Live.

A/B:  Name one item on your bucket list.

Ken:  Perform with Ryuichi Sakamoto!

A/B:  Favorite movie?

Ken:  8 1/2

A/B:  Your first LP, tape, CD, etc. purchase?

Ken:  Soundtrack to "Round Midnight," I think.  On CD.

Ned McGowan

Ned McGowan

Ned McGowan

We commissioned Ned McGowan, an American composer and flutist living in Amsterdam! We are looking forward to premiering his piece on Saturday, October 11, 2014 in San Francisco.

WHY?

Meerenai met Ned at the Aspen Music Festival many moons ago when she was a conducting student and Ned was a flutist in the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble. Fast forward to three years ago - Meerenai was thinking about buying a contrabass flute and discovered Ned to be an expert performer of the Hogenhuis contrabass flute wrote who wrote a really fantastic concerto for the instrument. (Meerenai swears that she will perform that piece before she dies!)

We can't imagine a better composer to write a piece for contrabass flute and percussion. We are absolutely thrilled to have our very own Ned McGowan piece!


VIDEO SELECTION

Movement 4 from Six Pieces Mecaniques: "n' est-ce pas spatial?" Performed by Calefax and Eric Vloeimans in Haarlem in 2014. Composition by Ned McGowan.

Q&A WITH NED MCGOWAN

A/B: Any pre/during/post composition rituals?

Ned: Zoethout tea and long walks during

A/B: Favorite drink after finishing a composition?

Ned: Scotch. Usually Talisker or Balvenie.

A/B: Stay-cation or vacation?

Ned: Working vacation. We try to go with the family for a few extra days when there is a concert in another city. But I took down the world map and put up the Netherlands and Europe maps.

A/B: Favorite live musical moment?

Ned: Performing in India.

A/B: Apple or Microsoft?

Ned: Apple to the core.

A/B: Sibelius or Finale?

Ned: Finale from the beginning.

A/B: Favorite Artist?

Ned: Devo.

A/B: What was your first Instrument?

Ned: Recorder.

A/B: Ideal vacation spot?

Ned: Is in or near to nature.

A/B: Favorite breakfast food?

Ned: Bacon, eggs and miso soup.

A/B: Your proudest moment?

Ned: Day my son was born.

A/B: Vinyl, cassette tape, compact discs, or mp3?

Ned: Getting into vinyl these days…

A/B: Name one item on your bucket list.

Ned: Have a better marathon experience.

A/B: What was your first composition?

Ned: Why? For solo flute


BIO

“McGowan’s music strives for an idiom in which various musics – American popular, European classical and avant-garde, Carnatic, a fascination with proportionally intricate rhythms, the use of microtones in the search for new subtleties of melody – and many others, rub against each other and generate new meanings.” This is how musicologist Bob Gilmore describes composer and flutist Ned McGowan. Born in the United States in 1970 and living in the Netherlands since 1994, McGowan has built his career by collaborating closely with ensembles such as Calefax and Hexnut.

His taste for diversity emerged already as a teenager who took classical flute lessons, played jazz and listened to rock.  After finishing studies in flute at the San Francisco Conservatory and the Cleveland Institute of Music, he moved to Amsterdam to continue his research.  Over the course of eight years, he studied both flute and composition in Amsterdam and The Hague, exploring a wide range of subjects – from extended techniques to Carnatic forms and rhythms, from jazz improvisation to West-African drumming. His compositional voice was profoundly influenced by these experiences, even though he never directly follows any of these traditions stylistically.

Then, in 2007, his specific fascination with Carnatic music led to a series of extended stays in India studying performance, rhythm and composition.  “What fascinates me is the Carnatic use of rhythmical complexities developed through a tradition of performance.” This is clear in McGowan’s music, and emerges in his strong focus on rhythmically driven, technically virtuosic pieces, which while “very complex in many ways, are especially well put together” (Hans van Lissum, www.cut-up.com, 2007).  Another approach to his Indian influence can be heard in the long stretched out phrases in Sound becomes visible in the form of radiance, the piece he wrote in 2010 as winner of the Harvey Gaul competition from the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble: “a radical work that reorients the listener's relationship to time.” (Mark Kanny, Pittsburgh Tribune, 2010)

But despite whatever complexity McGowan might write, his music is never bookish; it is written with both the performers and the listeners in mind. In his debut in Carnegie Hall with the American Composers Orchestra, he “proved there’s still plenty of life in old-fashioned virtuosity with “Bantammer Swing,” a playful, athletic concerto for his unwieldy contrabass flute," according to Steve Smith of the New York Times. Similarly, Ned’s piece Tools, winner of the Henriette Bosmans Prize from the Dutch Composer’s Union GeNeCo, was described as “brutal and humorous” (GeNeCo, 2004), while at the same time “packed with discreet acoustic rooms, some more resonant than others, but all proving that... subtlety pays off” (Guy Livingston, Paris Transatlantic, 2006).  In 2012 McGowan composed the worlds first concerto for iPad (tablet computer) and orchestra, which saw it’s premiere with soloist Keiko Shichijo and the Rotterdam Sinfonia, conducted by Conrad van Alphen. Upcoming performances are scheduled for the USA and Japan.

Bantammer Swing, Tools and the iPad Concerto are only some of pieces that have come into the public eye: Melting Igloos and Moonrise both made it to the final of the Gaudeamus Competition Prize.  “Wood Burn [written for Calefax] grew to be the highpoint of the evening” (Mark van de Voort, the Brabants Dagblad). These and other compositions have been played throughout the world including at festivals Aspen (USA), Gaudeamus (NL), Grachten (NL), MATA (USA), Dag in de Branding (NL), Nederlandse Muziek Dagen (NL), North Sea Jazz (NL), November Music (NL), Voorwaarts Maart (BE), SinusTon (DE) en Huddersfield (GB), and performed by ensembles Aleph (FR), Array Music (CAN), Atlantic Chamber Ensemble (USA), Duo Blow (BE), Calefax (NL), David Kweksilber Big Band (NL), Flexible Music (CAN), Great Noise (USA), Hexnut (NL),  Insomnio (NL), Klang (NL), MMM… (JP), musikFabrik (DE), Nederlands Blazers Ensemble (NL), Nederlands Fluit Orkest (NL), BlowUp Flute Octet (NL), Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble (USA),  Sax n Stix (NL), Spinifex (NL), Ensemble Scala (NL), Trio Scordatura (NL), Ensemble Verge (USA), Wervelwind (NL), Zapp4 (NL), the Dutch orchestras Radio Kamer Filharmonie, Radio Filharmonisch Orkest, Gelders Orkest, Rotterdam Sinfonia, Ricciotti Ensemble, the American Composers Orchestra (USA), Valdosta Symphony Orchestra (USA) and by many soloists including Susanna Borsch, Helen Bledsoe, Keiko Shichijo, Guy Livingston, Tatiana Koleva/Rutger Oterloo, Greg Oakes, Derek Bermel, Egbert Jan Louwerse en Eric Vloeimans. Current commissions include from festivals Acht Bruggen (DE), National Flute Convention Soloist Competition and from ensembles A/B Duo (USA) and Duo Sonoro (NL/MEX).

Ned is also highly active in fostering the Amsterdam musical community through the Karnatic Lab Foundation, an organization he founded with Gijs Levelt in 1999 to promote both composed and improvised new music. Going strong after more than ten years, this Karnatic Lab ran a monthly concert series between 1999 and 2012, has its own record label (Karnatic Lab Records) and house several ensembles, including McGowan’s own quintet, Hexnut.

Hexnut is his special group that grew out of the original instrumentation for his piece Tools, plus a singer.  They are “a tribe of dedicated musicians who perform the most fiendishly difficult rhythms with flair and ease…” (Paris Atlantic).  The band reflects Ned’s affinity for the edgy, risky and yet extremely precise – the embodiment of “brutal and humorous.” It is a perfect example of the juxtaposition, assimilation and contradiction of styles within improvisation and composition that Ned is constantly inventing. In Hexnut, Ned is often seen behind his contrabass flute, which has become one of his specialties. In 2011 Hexnut is presented the project WRENCH in collaboration with the photographs from the Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky.

Also in the mix are his more academic activities: since the 2011 academic season Ned teaches composition at the HKU University of the Arts Utrecht and his own course on advanced rhythm at the Utrecht’s Conservatorium. Between 2000 and 2005, he was also the director of the Dutch microtonal institute, the Huygens-Fokker Foundation, and now resides on its board. In 2014, he was awarded the Alumni Achievement Award from his Alma Mater, the Cleveland Institute of Music.   

Terri Hron

Avaloch Farm Music Institute

Our very own rehearsal cabin at Avaloch.

Our very own rehearsal cabin at Avaloch.

We just completed our two-week residency at Avaloch Farm. It's quite an amazing place. It's the only artist colony residency offered to chamber groups in the USA. Composers, writers, and visual artists have several artist colonies or residencies available to them but performing musicians rarely get the opportunity to just practice whatever they want, whenever they want, in their own rehearsal space in a beautiful and peaceful setting. Musicians only need to cover their travel expenses and everything else is taken care of by Avaloch.

There are many groups like us whose members live far away from each other. Any time they spend together is always precious. A typical tour for us includes meeting up 3 days before, rehearsing as much as possible, then drive any number of hours to our first show. Very rarely are we offered the opportunity to get together and take some time to nurture our projects. Avaloch allowed us to take the time to rehearse, brainstorm for the future, relax, and get some administrative work in, all without the pressures of doing this on tour, or having to premiere a piece after only a couple rehearsals.

Chef Will Gamble made us gourmet dishes for every meal, including amazing vegan creations for Meerenai.

Chef Will Gamble made us gourmet dishes for every meal, including amazing vegan creations for Meerenai.

Avaloch was conceived as an artist colony for chamber musicians modeled after the MacDowell colony by cellist Deborah Sherr and philanthropist Dr. Fred Tauber. 2014 was the second season of Avaloch Farm so the facilities were brand new and every detail was well-thought out. Every chamber ensemble has their own dedicated rehearsal space (some with excellent grand pianos). Each musician had their own room in two-bedroom suites. The basement of the living area had individual practice rooms, a small gym, and a game room with pool and ping pong tables. Three gourmet meals were prepared for us each day by resident chef Will Gamble in the amazing kitchen with its own herb garden.

We will never forget the bottomless cookie jar and bottomless coffee carafes!

We will never forget the bottomless cookie jar and bottomless coffee carafes!

In some ways these past two weeks were the best working vacation we could imagine. We went canoeing on the lake (on the Avaloch property) with pianist Rosabel Choi and played frisbee with the Asylum Quartet.  We also played a few board games together in the main hall after day-long rehearsals and administrative meetings.

Whenever an ensemble wanted to play a short concert or try out a work in progress, we gathered in the main hall before or after dinner to listen to each other. These mini-concerts were also highlight of our stay. The other groups that were there in the first two weeks of June were as varied as you can image: Asylum Quartet (saxophone quartet), Liber Ensemble (a capella early music quartet), and pianist Rosabel Choi. Listening to these other amazing musicians and such a wide variety of musical styles was such a treat. We were honored to be in their presence and thoroughly enjoyed their company. In the evenings we shared wine together or happily kicked their butts in Taboo and Scrabble.

Performing Isla for flute, vibraphone, and live audio processing (2012) by Ian Dicke at Avaloch Farm Music Institute

Of course Meerenai had a tough time being away from her beloved Lucy. Luckily, Avaloch had a couple of “pups” around to provide some much enjoyed dog-therapy.

Jessie

Jessie

Meerenai and Snoozer

Meerenai and Snoozer

We are so thankful that this place exists. While here, we have learned two new pieces that we will premiere in the Fall. We also worked out all the details on three pieces that we will record this August.

Thank you to Deb, Fred, Will, Diane, and everyone at Avaloch Farm Music Instritute!

Thank you to Deb, Fred, Will, Diane, and everyone at Avaloch Farm Music Instritute!

Ian Dicke

We've been playing Isla by Ian Dicke non-stop since December 2013 because it's one of our favorite pieces so we think it's about time that we wrote a little profile about Ian on our blog.

Isla was commissioned by our friends Kristin Hayes and Eric Peterson of the Peterson-Hayes Duo. It is a remix of Isla de Niños by Elisa Ferrari. 

Our performance of Isla by Ian Dicke during our residency at Avaloch Farm Music Institute. (June 9, 2014)


BIO

Dicke_2013.jpg

Ian Dicke (b. 1982) is a composer inspired by social-political culture and interactive technology. Active in a diverse array of genres and multi-media, Dicke’s music exhibits a clarity of expression while integrating acoustic ensembles with cutting edge audio processing techniques. Praised for his “refreshingly well-structured” (Feast of Music) and “uncommonly memorable” (Sequenza 21) catalogue of works, Dicke currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Digital Composition at the University of California, Riverside.

Dicke’s music has been commissioned and performed by ensembles and festivals around the world, including the New World Symphony, Alarm Will Sound, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, ISCM World New Music Days, and the Atlantic Coast Center Band Director’s Association. Upcoming projects in the 2013-2014 season include a new work for the Friction Quartet and an interactive electronics and video piece for the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, Sweden.

Dicke has received grants, awards, and recognition from the Fulbright Program, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, New Music USA, New York Youth Symphony, ASCAP, and BMI, among others. He has been an artist in residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Art342, and spent the 2012-2013 academic year living in Sweden as a Fulbright scholar researching interactive musical interfaces and environments.

In addition to his creative activities as a composer, Dicke is also the founder and curator of the Outpost Concert Series in Riverside, CA and co-directs Fast Forward Austin, a music festival held annually in Austin, TX. Both organizations are dedicated to presenting adventurous music and fostering community engagement through key outreach initiatives and collaborative projects.

Dicke holds degrees from The University of Texas at Austin (D.M.A), University of Michigan (M.M.), and San Francisco Conservatory of Music (B.M.). For more information on works in progress, upcoming performances, commissioning, and score rentals, visit his website.


Q & A WITH IAN DICKE

A/B: Stay-cation or vacation?
Ian: Vacation!!!

A/B: Nsync or Backstreet?
Ian: I never quantified it scientifically, but Nsync's writers seemed to use more chords than the Backstreet Boys, so they were always my de facto 90's boy band preference.

A/B: Sibelius or Finale?
Ian: I've been using Sibelius since 2001, but will probably abandon the platform if Avid continues to charge for iterative updates.

A/B: What was your first Instrument?
Ian: Guitar (big surprise!)

A/B: Guilty pleasure?
Ian: Playing around with Max/Msp (I'm such a computer dork).

A/B: Favorite breakfast food?
Ian: Breakfast tacos!

A/B: What was your first composition?
Ian: Motives for the left hand, solo piano. It's a Scriabin knock-off that helped me get accepted into the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Little did I know that writing that piece would completely change the course of my life!

News: New Collaborations and Happenings

#1

We are excited to announce that we have commissioned the following composers to write new works for us to premiere during the 2014-2016 seasons:

  • Brooks Frederickson
  • Olivia Kieffer
  • Brendon Randall-Myers
  • Ryan Ross Smith
  • Alan Theisen

We will have profiles of these composers up on our website in the coming months. 

With the addition of these five composers' works, we will soon have a total of 15 compositions written for our duo. The composers we commissioned earlier last year are: Drew Baker, Zack Browning, Andrea La Rose, Jenna Lyle, Ned McGowan, Carolyn O’Brien, Matthew Joseph Payne, Ivan Trevino, Francisco Castillo Trigueros and Ken Ueno.

#2

Thanks to a grant we received from the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music's Musical Grant Program, we will be premiering some of these compositions in San Francisco in October 2014. Details TBA!

#3

We are also honored to be awarded a residency at the Avaloch Farm Music Institute in New Hampshire for two weeks in June. We will spend our time there rehearsing the new compositions for performances during the upcoming season.

Other cool projects are in the works. Sign up for our mailing list if you don't want to miss anything!

Show and Tell: Wintery Spring Tour 2014

The week before we started this tour, we named it "Operation Enduring Patience" but luckily, it turned out to be a pleasant (but cold) tour!

February 28-March 8

Greater Rochester International Airport on Feb 28th.

Greater Rochester International Airport on Feb 28th.

Meerenai flew into Rochester so that we could rehearse before hitting the road for our concerts during Chris’ spring break. We worked on putting together Sol Moon Rocker, a new piece by Zack Browning. We also had a great coaching with composer Ivan Trevino on his piece Things We Dream About:

After our coaching with Ivan Trevino.

After our coaching with Ivan Trevino.

We feared that this tour would become "Operation Enduring Patience" when we started having technical problems (again) with our midi pedals and the Max/MSP patch for Ian Dicke's piece, Isla. Luckily, with some hardware changes and some tweaking of the Max patch by Ian, we were able to get it to work again! Honestly, this piece has been really difficult to put together because the pedaling and playing is really tricky. Since we both have other pedals (Chris has the vibraphone pedal and Meerenai has her bluetooth pedal that turns pages on her iPad) and we are using midi "pedal" devices that aren't the easiest to work with, this piece takes a lot of time and patience to rehearse. We spent most of our rehearsal time for this piece trying to get the Max patch and pedals to work together. Despite the technical difficulties, we continue to perform this piece over and over again because it's an outstanding composition and it's one of our favorites. We can't thank Ian enough for his many (MANY!!) adjustments to his Max patch for our unconventional midi device setup. Thank you Ian Dicke!!

Chris' many pedals for the Kent and Oberlin shows.

Chris' many pedals for the Kent and Oberlin shows.

We also got a really great write up in Cleveland Classical about our two shows in Ohio. Many thanks to Mike Telin for a great preview!


Sunday, March 9

Drove from Rochester to Medina, OH to stay with Meerenai’s friend, flutist Kelly Wilson (and family), for our few days in Ohio.

During our downtime at Kelly's place, Meerenai entertained herself with a toy that Kelly's kids generously shared with her:


Monday, March 10

Woke up early to get to Kent State University to load in all our instruments and get set up for student composition readings. We read about 10 compositions from Kent State students. The writing styles and length of pieces were varied. We were particularly honored to have read the first official composition written by one of the students. Reading new compositions can be sort of scary/thrilling but we did our best and had a good time. We always wish that we had more than a few seconds to take a look at the pieces before launching into a reading but we were able to let the composers get an idea of what they wrote and exchange some ideas on notation or sounds.

We had a nice break after the reading to get ready for the evening performance.  The evening performance was well-received and we were satisfied with our performance. Our program for this concert and the next one at the Oberlin Conservatory consisted of:

Echoloquacious by Matthew Joseph Payne
Things We Dream About by Ivan Trevino
Nocturne by Carolyn O’Brien
Isla by Ian Dicke
Limb by Drew Baker
Sol Moon Rocker by Zack Browning (premiered at Kent State!)

We still did most of the heavy lifting (literally and figuratively) for load-in and setup, etc but we felt pampered by the assistance from the Kent State faculty, staff and students. Not only did we get a lot of help in loading instruments in and out, Tony Donofrio hung out with us for dinner, Frank Wiley took us out for drinks after the show, the percussion and composition faculty/students helped us break down out instruments and load out. Most importantly, we had 2.5 hours (such a luxury!) to set up and soundcheck for our concert.

Thank you Tony Donofrio, Frank Wiley, and Kent State University for inviting us! Thanks to everyone who came to our concert.


Tuesday, March 11

We got very lucky with the weather this day and was able to take some new photos outdoors in Cleveland. Many thanks to Yevgen Gulenko of Human Artist Photography for the beautiful photos:


Wednesday, March 12

A day of snowstorms didn’t stop us from presenting a workshop at Kendal at Oberlin called “Making Contemporary Music” organized by Larry and Arlene Dunn. We performed excerpts from Carolyn O’Brien’s Nocturne and Ian Dicke’s Isla and showed off some extended techniques and discussed notation. The participants in the workshop had excellent questions and comments which made it a lively discussion and good time.

(Click on the image below for video:)


Thursday, March 13

We had a relatively short setup and sound check period for the concert at the Oberlin Conservatory but we were able to get it done in 1.5 hours! Every piece on our program, except one, required different amplification or electronics so every piece needs to be sound checked for levels to accommodate different halls and sound systems. We don’t have a dedicated sound person or roadies, so we are doing 99% of the setting up of instruments and equipment before our shows.

With Arlene and Larry Dunn after the concert at Oberlin Conservatory.

With Arlene and Larry Dunn after the concert at Oberlin Conservatory.

The concert at Oberlin went well too but it was a bit more taxing than the one at Kent State because we didn’t have much of a break between sound-check and the performance. A couple margaritas after the show made it all better though. Many thanks to Oberlin flute professor Alexa Still for inviting us!


Friday, March 14

We woke up early to drive to New York in time to catch a performance by Ivan Trevino’s awesome cello-rock band Break of Reality.

Our day off was spent driving 8 hours and catching a friend’s concert. And we wouldn’t change a thing!


Saturday, March 15

While in New York, we split up and stayed with different friends. Although we get along quite well spending almost 24 hours a day together while on tour, it’s good to have a little break from each other too.

Meerenai stayed with a Banglewood friend in Jersey City and continued her tradition of eating as much vegan pizza as possible while in the NYC area. Chris stayed with grad school friends in Brooklyn and caught up with some old friends around the city.

We had another gloriously long load-in and sound check period which started 3 hours before the concert at Spectrum. This time, we had to carry the vibraphone and everything else up a flight of stairs but we did it with plenty of time to spare.

This was our “Happy Hour” show. We planned a program of all LOUD music that can compete with the live music from the bar downstairs.

Program:

Flight of the Bleeper Bird by Matthew Joseph Payne
metalStaind by Adam Cuthbért
Rebonds (part A) by Iannis Xenakis
Things We Dream About by Ivan Trevino
Echoloquacious by Matthew Joseph Payne

Here's a video of Adam Cuthbért's metalStaind from this concert:


Sunday, March 16

By this time, we were eager to play our last show of the tour and get back home to our own beds. 

We were particularly thrilled that two of our composers came to this concert (again at Spectrum). Zack Browning and Drew Baker were able to speak about their pieces before we performed them.  It’s always special when the composer is present.  This was the first time that we met Zack in person too.

Photo with Drew Baker after the show (Drew Baker's Instagram photo):

Our program this night:
Sol Moon Rocker by Zack Browning
Nocturne by Carolyn O’Brien
Long Distance by Steven Snowden
Isla by Ian Dicke
Limb by Drew Baker

We even got a great review in The Flute View:

The first piece performed was entitled “Sol Moon Rocker” by composer Zack Browning, and it contained both interpolations of popular rock songs as well as some fun flute and piccolo playing. Next was Carolyn O’Brien’s piece “Nocturne,” which was by far my favorite, as it was written for the strange combination of contrabass flute and djembe. I was unsure of what contrabass flute and djembe would sound like, but Shim and Jones’ unique instruments complimented each other quite well. The high ranges of the contrabass flute and the djembe’s overtones created a multi-layered soundscape of awesomeness.
— The Flute View

We really wanted to check out the New Music Bake Sale that was also happening this day in NYC but we just didn’t have enough time! Chris had to be back at school in Rochester at 7:30am on Monday morning so we drove straight back to Rochester after the Spectrum show. We got back to Rochester at 3am and Chris made it to school on time. Meerenai flew back to sunny California on Monday afternoon.

Can’t wait for more adventures in June 2014!

Review: New York - March 16, 2014

Fluter Scooter of The Flute View wrote a nice review of our March 16, 2014 concert at Spectrum in New York City. Subscribe to the magazine to read the entire review. Here's an excerpt:

The first piece performed was entitled “Sol Moon Rocker” by composer Zack Browning, and it contained both interpolations of popular rock songs as well as some fun flute and piccolo playing. Next was Carolyn O’Brien’s piece “Nocturne,” which was by far my favorite, as it was written for the strange combination of contrabass flute and djembe. I was unsure of what contrabass flute and djembe would sound like, but Shim and Jones’ unique instruments complimented each other quite well. The high ranges of the contrabass flute and the djembe’s overtones created a multi-layered soundscape of awesomeness.
— The Flute View

Francisco Castillo Trigueros

We commissioned Chicago-based composer, Francisco Castillo Trigueros! We are looking forward to premiering his piece in the 2014-15 season!

WHY?

Chris and Francisco met in 2011 when Chris played a piece by Francisco at the University of Chicago. Between rehearsals, Francisco introduced Chris to a local coffee shop where Chris had the best latte he's ever had. Since then, Chris has wanted to play more of Francisco's music so when the A/B Duo commissioning project started, Francisco was on top of Chris' list of composers.

AUDIO SELECTION: 

Prisma for Solo Oboe, 6 East-Asian Instruments, and Strings by Francisco Castillo Trigueros


BIO

Francisco Website.jpeg

Francisco Castillo Trigueros (b. 1983) is a composer of contemporary chamber, orchestral and electronic music from Mexico City residing in Chicago. He has received numerous distinctions such as the BMI Student Composer Award, honorable mentions in the 2010 and 2011 Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, and several nominations for the Gaudeamus Music Week Prize in The Netherlands.

Castillo Trigueros has worked extensively with intercultural ensembles. His intercultural work draws from his multi-cultural raising in Mexico, and deals with issues of identity, diversity, and hybridity. It presents diversity while creating unity. In his work Prisma, for oboe, 6 East Asian instruments, and strings, the distinctive eastern and western sound worlds are blended together to create a unified fluid timbre.

Francisco has also composed numerous pieces for traditional music ensembles and orchestras, often including the use of electronics. His pieces are often inspired by visual art. His work Nealika, which he wrote in 2009-10 for eighth blackbird, is inspired by the fluid symmetry and colorful patterns found in Huichol visual art. His work Emblema | Blau for flute, string quartet, and percussion, is structured using one of the most emblematic figures in Mexican culture: the pyramid. 

Francisco's recent collaboration with biochemist Josiah Zayner on The Chromochord, an instrument that allows the sonification of nano-sized light-responsive proteins found in plants, has been featured in several publications including Scientific American.   

Orchestras, ensembles and performers that have performed his music include the Holland Symfonia, Orchestre National de Lorraine, Chicago Composers Orchestra, eighth blackbird, ensemble dal niente, Atlas Ensemble, Nieuw Ensemble, Asko Ensemble, Pacifica String Quartet, Spektral String Quartet, Fonema Consort, Jason Alder, Brian Conelly, Ryan Muncy, and Shanna Gutierrez.

His mentors and teachers include Augusta Read Thomas, Shulamit Ran, Kotoka Susuki, Howard Sandroff at the University of Chicago; Theo Loevendie, Richard Ayres, Fabio Nieder at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam; Shih-Hui Chen, Kurt Stallman, Pierre Jalbert at Rice University; and Haruko Shimizu and Jose Tavarez in Mexico City.

Castillo Trigueros is currently pursuing a Ph.D at the University of Chicago, where he served as Computer Music Studio Manager for three years, and teaching digital music composition at Columbia College Chicago and theory and composition at the New Music School.

Francisco's website.


Q&A WITH FRANCISCO CASTILLO TRIGUEROS

A/B: Any pre/during/post composition rituals?

Francisco: During: Walking a lot... and by walking I don't mean taking long walks on the beach, I mean pacing around my apartment until ideas crystallize.

A/B: Favorite live musical moment?

Francisco: Mitsuko Uchida playing Schubert Impromptu in G flat minor in the Concertgebouw.

A/B: Favorite Book?

Francisco: Roberto Bolaño's Los detectives salvajes or 2666

A/B: Favorite Sesame Street character?

Francisco: Abelardo (http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Abelardo_Montoya)

A/B: Name one item on your bucket list.

Francisco: Traveling to Iran!