Filtering by Tag: viola

5 Pieces for String Quartet and Guitar (2013)

5 Pieces (2013)
for String Quartet and Guitar
Written for the Lungs and Limbs ensemble

Based on water-focused photos by local Vancouver photographer, Sarah (last name coming soon...), these pieces presented me with a real challenge: working with visual elements. Going beyond the toddler-style of my drawings, visual details have a very weak hold in my brain. Even with the aid of a police sketch artist, I fear that those closest to me would appear like complete strangers, based on my descriptions!

Anecdotes aside, working from an image is not my comfort zone, and wouldn't be the first place I'd go for inspiration. With that said, I took on the challenge and came up with some new ways of thinking. In one piece, I based the shape of the musical gesture on the patten formed by rocks in a pond. Another picture reminded me of a rollicking tide... a perfect excuse to write a sea chanty. Because the whole approach reminded me of some issues I worked though in a recent Composer/Choreographer collaboration, I was even moved to include a theme I wrote during that workshop!

The whole project was organized by Chantal Lemire, violist and music theorist extraordinaire! She asked seven composers to write five one-minute pieces, each based on one of the five photos. In concert, the photos will be presented via video. We were encouraged to write for any subset of the whole ensemble, and I certainly did:

  1. Cello Solo
  2. String Quartet
  3. Viola Solo
  4. 2 Violins and Guitar
  5. String Quartet and Guitar
PDF and Recordings will be made available after the premiere.

Compassion & Sacrifice (2012)

Compassion & Sacrifice (2012)

for Speaking Violist and Speaking Pianist

Premiered by Chantal Lemire, viola; and Michael Park, piano

Click here for a PDF of the Score.

Compassion & Sacrifice is many things to many people.

For the composer, it is a speaking duo for viola and piano. For the performers, it is the unique challenge of having to speak while playing their instruments. For arts lovers, it is a critique of how arts funding is portrayed in the right-wing media.

Compassion & Sacrifice is the latest creation from one of Vancouver's most vibrant collaborative teams: Michael Park and Ray Hsu.

In response to the jaw-dropping Sun News Media interview between Krista Erickson and iconic dancer, Margie Gillis, Michael and Ray discussed the interview at length, becoming obsessed with the ideas of media analysis, copyright, and fair dealing. Using those discussions as the basis, Ray sculpted a dialogue between musicians nested with quotations from the interview. By musicalizing that dialogue, Michael has ensured that it's not one you'll soon forget.

In his rather puckish way, Ray Hsu live tweeted from the world premiere that, "The concert ranged from the beautiful, the weird, and the feel good. I think mine was the weird one."

The original video that started it all is available online at the Sun News Network's website, original aired June 1, 2011. It features Krista Erickson interviewing iconic dancer, Margie Gillis.