commissioned by and dedicated to line upon line percussion (Matthew Teodori, Cullen Faulk, and Adam Bedell). Premiere: January 29, 2016.

Hazardous Materials 1 (the first of what will be a series of several chamber works) is the result of working closely with line upon line percussion and exploring alternatives to traditional mallets. By using a transducer with frame drums, the percussionists are creating sound sculptures as they make contact between the two. This ‘speaker mallet’ creates a situation where musical actions do not necessarily result in sounds that one may expect, evoking spaces that are magnifications of the instruments you see. These instruments become objects whose inherent material qualities are physically explored through digital media.

commissioned by Noa Even and Phil Pierick of Ogni Suono Saxophone duo. Performed on March 19, 2016 at Dreamland Arts. Buffalo, NY

‘Ask’ places its performers in an absurd intersection of identity and musical/theatrical performance, alternating in quick succession between speech and sound, and imposing various methods (text games, musical imitation, theatrical shtick, etc.) on the material. Schmaltzy soap opera meets hysterical debate; authoritative language, boardroom bureaucracy, sales pitches all overlap with a frenzy of musical articulation, creating a fun hybrid-like performance. ‘Ask’ is dedicated to Noa Even and Phil Pierick. Without their dedication and commitment, this work would simply not be possible.

Mellissa Hughes, soprano. April 20th, 2012 at Roulette. MATA Festival.

Brief Description:

  • A position of influence, giving a speech
  • An absence of message yet a desire to persuade
  • Electronic toys: a laryngophone and metal transducers
  • Text from Charles De Gaulle (speech from his response to May ’68 movement in Paris), followed with additional statements of growing desperation and changed tactics in this ill-fated attempt to win over an audience.

Why do we create art and what do we expect it to do? This is the question posed in ’68′. In the beginning we witness the creative act: a poet, writing and speaking out the earliest fragments of his poems; discovering through experiment his voice, both physically and figuratively. It alludes to Isidore Isou, a romanian-born poet who, in 1942, at the age of 17, moved to Paris and wrote a manifesto on ‘lettrisme’, sparking a movement. With each creative moment, our poet’s own energy and imagination are embodied in the actions of the percussion, cello, and the mise-en-scène.

But what of society? What of government? Our poet realizes that his artistic actions have no way of changing society unless he confronts social and economic issues, at the expense of artistic vision. Our poet decides that his art must not simply discover and create and describe, it must enact.
Guy Debord’s Société du Spectacle, a work whose message is as relevant today as it was leading up to Mai ’68, is central to this decision. Our poet accosts us, the audience, urging us to see the spectacle for what it is, and how it is not real society.
Throughout the piece we see the works of Jacques Villegle, constantly putting the mirror to the moment- and in so doing, they make us aware of our present moment.

For three racks of resonating metal sheets. (Listen only with Good speakers)

Dérive, for bass clarinet and cello

Performers: Richard Haynes (Cl) and Jan-Filip Tupa (Vc)

While the title of this piece may be more immediately evocative of the works by composer Pierre Boulez, its significance lies in the sense of the word given by Guy Debord and practiced by the Situationists in France and elsewhere. Literally meaning drift, Debord describes it as follows:

“In a dérive one or more persons during a certain period drop their relations, their work and leisure activities, and all their other usual motives for movement and action, and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there. Chance is a less important factor in this activity than one might think: from a dérive point of view cities have psychogeographical contours, with constant currents, fixed points and vortexes that strongly discourage entry into or exit from certain zones…”

“The ecological analysis of the absolute or relative character of fissures in the urban network, of the role of microclimates, of distinct neighborhoods with no relation to administrative boundaries, and above all of the dominating action of centers of attraction, must be utilized and completed by psychogeographical methods. The objective passional terrain of the dérive must be defined in accordance both with its own logic and with its relations with social morphology.”

While I had known of this term for some time now, it had only recently occurred to me that I compose in this manner. A work lives as a performance, and during this brief moment there is the potential for incredible things to occur that are contingent upon the conditions in the space. An instrument is a terrain in its own right; the performer, with each gesture and every cue, makes decisions that can have significance. Even in a concert hall, things change.

position, influence (first performance, IRCAM, 2007, Donatienne Michel-Dansac, sop)

artaud- last days, 2006:  here