Concert I

Alone Together – Kirsten Volness | Lilit Hartunian, violin

When Lilit asked me to write her a looping piece for her Songs of Solitude recital, I flashed back to moments in my early childhood when I would overdub myself singing onto tape, making goofy sequences that played along with the beats on my little Casio keyboard. Those early covert experiments and the sheer joy of play informed the mood and style of this piece. Roberta Sparrow’s last words to Donnie Darko — “every living creature on this earth dies alone” — inspired the title Alone Together.

Smart, transcendent, and immersive, Kirsten Volness’ emotive soundscapes integrate electronics and modern composition techniques with jazz and pop influences. “Irresistible” (San Francisco Chronicle) and “nothing short of gorgeous.” (New York Arts), each of her compositions reveals “an exquisite sound world” (New Classic LA) inspired by nature, myth, spirituality, and environmental and sociopolitical issues. With commissions from the World Future Council Foundation, ASCAP/SEAMUS, BMI Foundation, and The American Opera Project, Volness received MacColl Johnson and RISCA Fellowships. She holds composition degrees from the Universities of Michigan and Minnesota, and is Visiting Assistant Professor at Reed College.

Violinist Lilit Hartunian performs at the forefront of contemporary music innovation in Boston and internationally. She is regularly heard on stage premiering works written for her by leading composers, and has appeared as soloist in the SEAMUS, NYCEMF, Open Sound, and Third Practice festivals. Ms. Hartunian is the Creative Director of the Museum of Fine Arts’ ensemble-in-residence, Vellumsound; in that role, she conceives and performs chamber music programs celebrating the many rich intersections between visual art and music.

She can also be heard performing with such contemporary ensembles as Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Sound Icon, Callithumpian Consort, Guerilla Opera, Equilibrium Ensemble, and others. Her local performances have garnered critical acclaim, and internationally she was one of twelve violinist from the United States chosen to attend the Lucerne Festival Academy under the direction of Pierre Boulez. In addition to her performance career, Lilit Hartunian serves on the violin and chamber music faculty at The Rivers School Conservatory.

Improvisation No. 1 – Brittany J. Green

In this improvisation I use found objects, bass guitar, and live electronics to weave in and out of a soundscape field recording. Found objects used include baoding balls, a necklace, and a food wrapper. The live electronics component utilizes resonators, grain delay, and reverb. The underlying soundscape of the work is a field recording of wooded trails in Durham, NC.

Brittany J. Green (b. 1991) is a North Carolina-based composer, creative, and educator. Described as “cinematic in the best sense” and “searing” (Chicago Classical Review), Brittany’s music is centered around facilitating collaborative, intimate musical spaces that ignite visceral responses. The intersection between sound, movement, and text serves as the focal point of these musical spaces, often questioning and redefining the relationships between these three elements.

Her research and creative interests include mapping aural gestures to gestural recognition technology and exploring virtual reality platforms as a tool for experiencing immersive, intimate musical moments. Her music has been featured at concerts and festivals throughout the United States and Canada, including the Society of Composers National Conference, New York City Electronic Music Festival, SPLICE Institute, the West Fork New Music Festival, and Music by Women Festival. She has presented research at the North Carolina Music Educators Association Conference, East Carolina University’s Research and Creative Arts Week, Darkwater Women in Music Festival, and the Intersection@ Art and Science Symposium. From 2018-2019, Brittany served as composer-in-residence for the PCS/ECU Young Composers Project. Current projects include commissions from Mind on Fire and the JACK Quartet as an inaugural member of JACK Studio Artists, along with an artist residency with TimeSlips and consultant work for PBS’s SoundField. Brittany is currently pursuing a Ph.D in music composition at Duke University as a Dean’s Graduate Fellow.

HEAT it UP! –  Yuanyuan (Kay) HE | Jackie Glazier, clarinet; Yuanyuan (Kay) HE, piano

HEAT it UP! for clarinet, piano, and electronics, was commissioned by clarinetist Jackie Glazier.

Last summer (2018), I moved from Austin, TX to Tucson, AZ. Both cities’ summer can be extremely hot, but in different ways. While Austin tends to be humid and sticky, Tucson is much hotter and drier with periodic monsoon rains. While Austin is mostly flat with some rolling hills around its edges, Tucson is a desert oasis surrounded by rugged mountains where saguaro cacti thrive, which creates that signature southwestern vibe. While dry and dusty, since coming to Tucson, the beauty of Sonoran Desert has truly inspired me in many ways.

I often thought brownish yellow was the only color in the desert, but I have been surprised by the Sonoran Desert’s rich color palette. It has a burning pink sunset over the mountains, the purple Milky Way framed by gigantic pine trees on Mt. Lemmon, creosote bushes with their bright yellow flowers emit the “smell of the rain,” and the rich blue sky is decorated by high definition monsoon storm clouds. All the colors become hotter and brighter under the scorching sun. Immerse yourself in these inspiring colors and let the desert HEAT UP your imagination.

Dr. Yuanyuan (Kay) He is a composer and video artist with roots in China. Her works often explore and intertwine various forms of media to create unique audiovisual experiences that engage the audience. Many of her works involve collaborations with choreographers, dancers, video artists, audio technicians, and stage lighting and design artists. As a multimedia composer, she is very active in the music community. Kay serves as the Creative Director for Electronic Music Midwest (EMM), which is an annual music festival dedicated to programming a wide variety of electroacoustic music and providing high quality electronic media performances. She is also the founder and Director of the Turn Up Multimedia Festival, which works to promote Interdisciplinary Collaboration, Culture-Connecting, and Equality. She is currently Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona, where she teaches composition, electro-acoustic music, and orchestration. 

During her career, Kay has won many awards and been selected for many performances in the U.S. and abroad.  Of note, her piano trio Imprint of the Spring Breeze  won the grand prize at the 2nd ACC International Composition Competition in 2017 (Gwangju, South Korea).  ISCM selected the flute and electronics piece On the Pivot of an Abandoned Carouselfor its 2016 World Music Days (Tongyeong, South Korea).  Passeig de Grácia for orchestra was selected for the 2015 ACO Underwood New Music Readings (New York, NY).  On the Threshold of a Drizzly Reality for cello and electronics was selected for 2014 performances at the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC) in Athens, Greece and the Root Signals music festival (Jacksonville, Florida).  Shadow of Dewdrops was selected as a finalist for TICF2015 (Bangkok, Thailand) and the 2014 installment of Gamma UT (Austin, TX).  Legends of Old Peking won the 2012 Seattle Symphony Celebrate Asia Composition Competition.  Dying Away won the 2011 DuoSolo Emerging Composer Competition (Cortona, Italy).  And, Destiny of Sputnik was chosen for the 2011 Beijing Modern Music Festival Young Composers Project.  

Kay earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and her Master of Music degree at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition from the University of Texas at Austin where she studied under Dr. Russell Pinkston and Dr. Yevgeniy Sharlat.

Hailed for her “robust playing and virtuosic performance” (San Diego Tribune) and “beautiful and clear tone” (The Clarinet Magazine), Jackie Glazier is an active soloist, chamber musician, orchestral clarinetist, pedagogue, and advocate of new music. As assistant professor of clarinet at the University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music, Glazier is a committed pedagogue and mentor to future generations of clarinetists, and a member of the Arizona Wind Quintet. As a soloist and chamber musician, she has performed throughout the United States and in China, Mexico, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Croatia, and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall.

As a soloist and a founding member of the saxophone / clarinet ensemble Duo Entre-Nous, Glazier is active in commissioning and performing new music. She has commissioned and premiered over 20 pieces with composers from the United States, Canada, France, Italy, Argentina, China, and Australia. Duo Entre-Nous has performed internationally and is featured on the album, “Lights and Shadows, Waves and Time,” which was recently released on Parma Records. They are currently working on their debut album, featuring works they have commissioned, set to release on Equilibrium Label in Spring 2021.

As a soloist and chamber musician, Glazier has recorded for Naxos, Toccata Classics, Mark Records, and Navona Records. Her debut solo album, “Magic Forest Scenes” will be released in Summer 2020 on Centaur Records, and contains the music of William Alwyn, Arnold Bax, Eugene Bozza, Paul Richards, Alexander Rosenblatt, and Piotr Szewczyk.

Glazier performed regularly with the Orlando Philharmonic as principal, second, and e-flat clarinet from 2011-2016. She also served as principal clarinet of the Ocala Symphony, where she served from 2012-2016. Currently she performs with the Tucson Symphony and is principal clarinet of the Grammy Award-nominated True Concord Voices Orchestra. Orchestral collaborations include many internationally renowned artists such as Renée Fleming, Joshua Bell, and Yefim Bronfman. Jackie was the first-prize winner of the International Clarinet Association Orchestral Competition at ClarinetFest 2014.

An active clinician and educator, Jackie has presented guest master classes at major universities throughout the United States. She has earned degrees from Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, University of Florida, and Florida State University. Jackie was named one of the University of Florida’s Outstanding Young Alumni in 2018. She is an artist with Buffet-Crampon and Vandoren, and performs exclusively on Buffet-Crampon clarinets and Vandoren reeds.

Hey, I Hope This Heals You – Taylor Neal | Taylor Neal, audio/video editing, Nick Sprague, video recording

Written in one of the strangest seasons of my life Hey, I Hope This Heals You was inspired by Mark Snyder. When meeting about how the ElectroAcoustic Barn Dance would function in this strange new world, Mark said that phrase after being asked what he wants to provide the audience through a streaming experience. Feeling the sensation of growth and healing is indescribable, and is sometimes hard to find. 

This video is two separate performances of this piece played simultaneously. Beginning with an improvisational layer, the piece develops further, simulating the process of healing through waves of harmonic motion and noisy presence. The essence of the piece isn’t necessarily to find healing within the music, but more so to reflect on what that process looks like in your own life. 

Taylor Neal’s music is like sitting in the living room and catching up with a long-time friend. It’s filled with both the comfort of familiarity and curiosity of new beginnings. Through songwriting, Neal is able to feel detached from the world at large, yet close to the things in this world that matter to him. It’s a way for him to creatively express his own thoughts and emotions. Production and recording with others are another way where he works to engage in genuine creativity through collaboration.

As a multi-instrumentalist, composer, songwriter and sound engineer, Neal finds himself through his work in a variety of styles. With an education in music business and electroacoustic music under Mark Snyder, the fundamental and technical knowledge drives his inspiration and creativity. Along with mixing and engineering, Neal plays the French horn, guitar, and keyboard. Placid and calming, his music is sure to put your mind at ease and make you feel at home. 

In 2018, he started producing and playing with indie-rock band Bobby Kid. Since then, he’s produced music for Quarter Roy, Matilda, Howdy, Shane Malone, Tay, and Runners High. His sound lies somewhere between indie-folk and dreamy symphonics. No matter what project he’s working on or contributing to, you’ll be able to hear the warm inviting sound shining through the music. – Carissa Marques, theindiepopsicle

Spelunking – Caroline Louise Miller | Sam Wells, Trumpets; Caroline Louise Miller, Live electronics, soundscapes, video editing

Spelunking is a free improvised collaboration between Caroline Louise Miller and Sam Wells. The soundscapes and improvisation are inspired by spaces found in caves: a bottomless pit, strange geological and crystal formations, underground lakes, beams of light from the surface, and ancient electrical infrastructure.

Caroline Louise Miller’s practice explores affect, tactility, biomusic, and the materiality of digital production. She often works with electronics, theatrical elements, and sonic worlds that bridge genres. Her most current project is a concert-installation with Alarm Will Sound and video artist Stefani Byrd that explores intersections of movement, stasis, and desire with abandoned industrial structures. Caroline’s music appears across the U.S. and internationally, and she has most recently been honored with grants and awards from Chamber Music America, the Matt Marks Impact Fund, Transient Canvas, and Guerilla Opera. In 2018 she won the ISB/David Walter composition competition for Hydra Nightingale, created with improvisor/bassist Kyle Motl. Caroline also works as a curator, and organized multimedia concerts at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography between 2012–2017. In 2019 she launched concerts focused on science-fiction and post-humanist themes. She holds a Ph.D in Music from UC San Diego, and will be Assistant Professor of Sonic Arts at Portland State University beginning in winter 2021.

Sam Wells is a trumpeter, composer, improvisor, and technologist based in Los Angeles. As an advocate for new and exciting music, he actively commissions and performs contemporary works.

Sam has performed throughout North America and Europe, as well as in China. He is a recipient of a 2016 Jerome Fund for New Music award, and his work, stringstrung, is the winner of the 2016 Miami International Guitar Festival Composition Competition. He has performed electroacoustic works for trumpet and presented his own music at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, Chosen Vale International Trumpet Seminar, Electronic Music Midwest, Electroacoustic Barn Dance, NYCEMF, N_SEME, and SEAMUS festivals. Sam and his music have also been featured by the Kansas City Electronic Music and Arts Alliance (KcEMA) and Fulcrum Point Discoveries. He has also been a guest artist/composer at universities throughout North America. 

Sam is a member of Arcus Collective, Kludge, and SPLICE Ensemble. Sam has performed with Contemporaneous, Metropolis Ensemble, TILT Brass, the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra, and the Colorado MahlerFest Orchestra. Sam has recorded on the SEAMUS and Ravello Recordings labels.

Sam is currently enrolled in the Performer-Composer DMA program at the California Institute of the Arts. He has degrees in both performance and composition at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and graduate degrees in Trumpet Performance and Computer Music Composition at Indiana University. He is on faculty at SPLICE Institute, Molloy College, and the California Institute of the Arts.