July 18, 2012

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Canyons and Craters

This past weekend, Ebb and Flow Arts presented a concert of music for multiple pianos in Kahului, Maui, and I came over to perform in my new piece for 4 pianos, Canyons. It was a pleasure working with the other pianists (Beatrice Scorby, Robert Pollock, and Anne Ku) in putting together the piece, in which all of us play essentially the same music. One pianist leads while the others trail behind…

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July 6, 2012

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Recording in the Ballroom

I recently returned from a trip to the Midwest, where I worked with pianist Derek Polischuk as he recorded the work I wrote for him last year. Since that piece, The Ends of the Earth, uses a number of extended techniques (the first movement is played almost entirely inside the piano), I was interested to see how it might be recorded. We went to Sergei Kvitko’s beautiful recording studio, located on the…

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January 25, 2012

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Vikings of the Sunrise

The University of Hawaii Contemporary Music Ensemble, a group I direct, is taking on a unique piece this Spring. Stephen Scott‘s Vikings of the Sunrise is a piece written for an ensemble of 10 performers, all playing a single piano. But most of this piece isn’t played on the keys. Instead, the ensemble plays directly on the strings by striking them with piano hammers, plucking with guitar picks and –…

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April 23, 2011

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The Ends of the Earth

Last night pianist Derek Kealii Polischuk premiered my new work “The Ends of the Earth” at Michigan State University (which is not at the end of the earth).  It’s a demanding piece, probably the most difficult piece I’ve written.  The score calls upon the performer to use some unfamiliar techniques – one movement is played almost entirely with piano hammers.  He navigated the unfamiliar territory with grace, and the premiere…

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October 24, 2010

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Shaman Ritual

I recently returned from Korea, where I was fortunate enough to attend a ‘performance’ on Jindo island of a shaman ritual called Ssitkim-gut.  This ritual for the dead is filled with singing (accompanied by percussion instruments), mourning, celebration, and drinking. We were told this may have been the last performance by the shaman (in the foreground in the first photo, with her apprentice singing behind her), who was exhausted by the end…

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