Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Atlanta Composers and Classical Revolution on Friday

Classical Revolution brings classical music to the community by performing in non traditional venues such as bars, cafes, etc. The group was founded in San Francisco, but has spread to other cities throughout the United States. This Friday, June 3rd, at 8pm the Atlanta group will hold a performance at a the TahCha Teahouse in Atlanta. Featured on this program will be works by Atlanta composers Michael Kurth and Nicole Chamberlain.

Michael Kurth will have two pieces performed by Andy Zaplatynsky (former concertmaster for Syracuse), Ronda Respess (ASO violin), William Johnston (viola), and Jennifer Humphreys (ASO cello). The string quartet will perform "Mean Old Pony Tango", a fun latin tango, and "Torcedura Azul", a rhythmically driven piece with some blues influence. Michael Kurth's music has been recently performed by the Riverside Chamber Players and he was commissioned to write a fanfare ,"May Cause Dizziness", for ASO's Robert Spano's 10th anniversary which was performed in March. When Kurth is not writing, you can hear him perform bass with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

Nicole Chamberlain will have her flute and guitar piece, "Valentine", performed by the Chamberlain Duo. The piece was written for her husband, and this will be a world premiere performance. You can hear the composer's next premiere by the Atlanta Opera on October 29 at the Wren's Nest where she has been commissioned to write an children's opera based on the Br'er Rabbit stories.

Classical Revolution events are a great place to meet some of Atlanta's professional classical musicians. Unlike the traditional concert setting, there is no backstage for the musicians to run to after a performance. So many of the musicians will be lingering to listen to peers or to converse about the performance. Don't miss a fantastic networking opportunity to introduce performers to your music!

TahCha Teahouse
3352-c Chamblee Tucker Rd
Atlanta, GA 30341

Suggested donation: $5

This month's ticket drawing: winner receives a pass for 4 tickets to an Atlanta Symphony Orchestra concert of choice at Verizon Ampitheater.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Q&A with Composer Adam Scott Neal

1) Name five influences

The Beatles, John Cage, Claude Debussy, Pink Floyd, and Anton Webern. There are so many others, but these are definitely in the top 10.

2) What are you currently working on? What can we expect to hear from you?

I am working on a lot of things this summer. I am gradually switching to Linux (Ubuntu mainly), so I am learning how to use some great open source programs such as Ardour and MuseScore. I just got The SuperCollider book and am delving further into that. Music-wise, I am revising some pieces, including a generative spectralist piece in SuperCollider featuring synthesized bells and a piece for quarter-tone alto flute and fixed media. If I have time I want to revise a sax
quartet I wrote last fall as well.

3) What's good about the Atlanta music scene? Or, why do you live and/or work here?

The best parts about the Atlanta music scene is that it's small enough to break in and that it's very friendly. After living in the New York City area for two years, I can say that it's nice that our city doesn't really have the cliques and barriers that other cities have.

I am a native, but basically (for four years) expat Atlantan. However, I really believe that Atlanta is ripe for an active alt-classical scene and do what I can to help promote it. There are a few venues that focus on other genres but are friendly to the idea of classical and experimental music, and in my experience, people are more receptive to different genres than one might expect. We have a small core group of people who play out often, and I hope this will
grow. Even though I live in Florida, I like to come up and put on shows in Atlanta. There is an audience here; we just need more musicians to be active about promoting their music, and alt-classical music in general.

4) What is the biggest challenge you face as an Atlanta composer and how do you address it?

The biggest challenge is putting on shows and maintaining an audience. As I said, there are a handful of venues friendly to alt-classical/experimental music, but I understand that they have to pay the bills and won't be as friendly if turnouts are small. Atlanta's size makes for a strange dynamic – small enough to make things happen, but large enough that there can sometimes be too many entertainment/cultural options for your audience. Since playing classical music in bars (as I like to do) is a fairly new idea for a lot of people, they may not think of it as an option for their evening.

5) Who in the local scene would you like to collaborate with and why?

Of course, any musicians who are interested in playing my music! But I am also very keen on collaborating with artists in other fields – visual arts, film, dance. I'd love to work on an experimental show of some sort with the Center for Puppetry Arts.

6) What instrument(s) haven't you written for that you would like to write for?

I recently saw two calls for toy piano compositions, so I listened to some contemporary toy piano works and really loved the sound. Yet another piece for the summer may be for toy piano!

7) How does technology play a role in your work?

It plays many roles. I have written a lot of fixed media works, as well as some live electronic pieces. My Master's thesis included five pieces for laptop quartet (Max/MSP pieces). This year I started an improv group – FLIP – and so far we've been primarily improvising with our laptops. I have made a few pieces involving the Arduino circuit board and plan to explore that further.

I also use technology in my acoustic pieces. A few pieces have used some probabilistic processes to generate material. For the piece I just finished, Etude in Metal for solo percussion, I analyzed the frequency spectrum of my percussionist's gongs, and used the harmonics of his gongs to create the pitch material for the glockenspiel part.

8) When and where is your next performance?

My next performance will be on Saturday, June 11 in Gainesville, FL. I will be doing a solo improv set as part of Hal McGee's Apartment Music series. It will be streaming online here:

9) Where can we find you online?

My website is www.adamscottneal.com. I am also on Twitter, Blogspot, ReverbNation, SoundCloud, CDBaby, and YouTube under "adamscottneal."

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Q&A with Composer Curtis Bryant

1) Name five influences.

Bartók, Brahms, Beethoven, Bach, Beatles come to mind under the letter B.... But, then there's C.... I recognize many mentors, and I can wear many musical hats.

2) What are you currently working on? What can we expect to hear from you?

This summer I'm doing the orchestration of my opera "The Anarchist," in anticipation of a 2013 premiere with Atlanta's Capitol City Opera. I also have a recent piano quartet and a new song cycle that are awaiting premieres. Stay tuned....

3) What's good about the Atlanta music scene? Or, why do you live and/or work here?

I am an Atlanta native with roots that go back to the city's founding, but mostly, I like it here, and I have a cool place in the woods on a private lake that makes for an ideal place to compose.

4) What is the biggest challenge you face as an Atlanta composer and how do you address it?

The music scene here offers a great amount of variety, and there are some good opportunities for performances of new works. But I have to say that the city's major music organizations, such as the Atlanta Symphony and the Atlanta Opera have shown not the slightest interest in the work or talent of Atlanta composers. Another major problem working as a composer in Atlanta and in the South in general is the lack of funding for commissioning new works and the lack of funding for the arts in general.

5) Who in the local scene would you like to collaborate with and why?

I am open to collaboration with any group performing chamber music, orchestral music, opera, art song, or liturgical music.

6) What instrument(s) haven't you written for that you would like to write for?

Never composed anything for the Wagner tuba, Heckelphone or the Theremin. Beyond that, there are several genres that I haven't had the opportunity to write for. Most glaringly absent in my catalog is a concerto. I'd be happy to tackle one for piano or any other major solo instrument, given the promise of a performance. That could include any of the above instruments, as well.

7) How does technology play a role in your work?

I got tired of producing hand-written scores and instrumental parts years ago. I currently use Finale for most of my concert music. I use Logic Pro for most commercial work, including film scores and video game music.

8) When and where is your next performance?

Still waiting for exact dates, but at least 3 premieres are in the wings. The major one with Capitol City Opera is slated for the 2012-13 season.

9) Where can we find you online?

My website is http://www.curtisbryantmusic.com. You can go to the "news" page for updates on performances. I also maintain a group on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=79336280906. Anyone can join my group.

Thanks, Curtis!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Q&A with Composer Nicole Chamberlain

1) Name five influences.

Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland, William Davis (composition teacher at UGA), Osvaldo Golijov, and Brian Chamberlain (husband/composer/guitarist)

2) What are you currently working on? What can we expect to hear from you?

I have been commissioned by the Atlanta Opera to write a small ensemble 45-60 minute children's opera based on the Tales of Br'er Rabbit. The piece is for soprano, mezzo, tenor, baritone, and piano with libretto provided by Madeleine St. Romain. Based on the cultural history of the tales, the music will also get inspiration from blues, jazz, americana, and native american music. The end result, I hope, will be playful and fun music with substance that young and old will enjoy.

3) What's good about the Atlanta music scene? Or, why do you live and/or work here?

Growing up in Savannah there were not many opportunities for musicians. The city has been plagued with trying to support even a part-time orchestra. I knew early on I would not be able to make a living in Savannah as a musician. I happened to move to Atlanta for a day job, but stayed because of the music opportunities. I have been able to establish a network of music friends and colleagues so I have never felt the need to leave. Geographically, Atlanta is a good spot to be as well. With a major airport you can fly anywhere. I am also the middle point between my parents and sister in Savannah to my eldest sister in Clarksville, TN. I can visit all of any of my immediate family with in 4-5 hours.

4) What instrument(s) haven't you written for that you would like to write for?

I have never written for saxophone, and that has been a big regret of mine. At UGA, where I went to school, there was an outstanding saxophone quartet who repeatedly asked me I needed to write for them. What a missed opportunity! Sometimes you just need to make time to write for musicians when they ask you. I cringe when I think of how fabulous a performance and recording I could have from my undergrad years had I just written a saxophone quartet.

5) Who in the local scene would you like to collaborate with and why?

I've had such a fabulous time collaborating with the Atlanta Opera I hope I get to do it again. They've been incredibly supportive and trusting. Of course I would like to get the chance to write and have another orchestral work performed, but who wouldn't? I would love to work with Atlanta Symphony, but I think a highly underrated orchestra that I would love to write for is the Cobb Symphony (now Georgia Symphony). I had the pleasure of performing with the group this past season and throughly enjoyed working with some fabulous and talented musicians. I hope I get the chance to collaborate with them gain either as composer or flutist.

6) When and where is your next performance?

There are a few performance on the horizon. The Walker School Band directed by Erik Kofoed in Marietta, GA is performing my band piece "Hopewell" on May 20th that was commissioned by Hopewell Middle School band directed by Audrey Murphy. In September, the Dahlia Flute Duo is premiering my flute duet "Chatter" at the International Alliance of Women in Music World Congress at the University of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, AZ. Then on October 29, the Atlanta Opera will give the public premiere of "Rabbit Tales" at the Wren's Nest here in Atlanta in conjunction with National Opera Week.

7) Where can we find you online?

and you can sign up for a newsletter here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nicolechamberlain

Thanks, Nicole!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

The Atlanta Opera Commissions Children Opera

Libretto Based on Br’er Rabbit Stories by Joel Chandler Harris

The Atlanta Opera has commissioned a one-hour children’s opera for its 2011-2012 season. The libretto, written by Atlanta-based librettist and playwright, Madeleine St. Romain, will be based on the antics of Br’er Rabbit, a central figure in the Uncle Remus stories popularized by Southern author Joel Chandler Harris in the late 19th Century. The Br’er Rabbit stories can be traced back to “trickster” figures in African folklore, particularly the hare, a character that is prominent in the storytelling traditions of Western, Central and Southern Africa. This production will be a contemporary, light-hearted rendering of several story lines from Native American, African, and Cajun Folklore. The score, composed by Atlanta-based flutist and composer Nicole Chamberlain, will be written for four voice types, and will incorporate melodies and rhythms from African, Native American and Cajun music, as well as the blues. The work, currently entitled Rabbit Tales, will be performed by The Atlanta Opera Studio in elementary schools October 24 through November 18, 2011 and again February 13 through March 30, 2012. There will be a premiere open to the public on October 29, 2011 at the Wren’s Nest, in conjunction with National Opera Week. Further details will be announced at a later date. This is the first opera commission in the company’s history.

To book a performance of Rabbit Tales and to find out more information, contact Emmalee Iden at (404)881-8883 or eiden@atlantaopera.org.

Read full press release here: http://www.atlantaopera.org/media/pdf/Childrens_Opera_050411.pdf

Sunday, May 01, 2011

FREE Bent Frequency show TODAY

Sorry we neglected to post this!

Today, Sunday May 1st
3:00 PM
Ivy Hall, Savannah College of Art and Design (Atlanta campus, natch)
179 Ponce de Leon Ave

Featuring works by Erickson, Rzewski, Mansurian, Thornock, Mellits, and Cage.