A Week in April 2006

The spring is coming into it’s own out here in the bay area – this last week was a busy one, being involved in three different concerts in different contexts. Early in the week I played on a concert which featured a string quartet. The 2nd year compostion majors got a grant to pay for a string quartet to play their new compsitions. Paul Scriver wrote a piece for the quartet plus flute, piano and bass clarinet. I played bass clarinet and actually had to borrow his horn as mine, though has a nice tone & I like the feel of the instrument, tends to have trouble with intonation (which I think is mainly due to when it was made – back in the 20s I believe). I enjoyed the piece Paul wrote, some moments which dealt strictly with the instruments timbres, others which involved precise timing to achieve the right musical effect. The quartet which was hired was young & friendly, maybe not super-pro yet, but on their way to being solid. I definitely like the fact that there is challenging new music being written and played out here in the bay, except for a few experiences, notably with Guillermo Gregorio, there could have been more of it going on in Chicago.
There was an electronic music concert at Mills; an exchange between several of the music schools in California, CalArts, Stanford, UCSB, UCSD. Steini Gunnarson & I played as Son of Gunnar, Ton of Shel. We had a ten minute allotment of time, but tried to pack lots into it. Alto, Bass Clarinet, Guitar and lots of different processing. I had a bit of a technological failure at the beginning so Steini stalled the proceedings by rambling on about “as we approach the singularity….” always good to have someone be able to stall for you. Lewis Keller form CalArts brought a nice piece which utilized the sounds of two ibooks – he wrote a piece for wurlitzer and accompanied it by the whirring, static tones of the ibooks – I was impressed with the intonation between the two instruments – some complained that he didn’t do much with the sounds, but I thought that it was a good piece – he limited what he could do and built a piece around it.
The Pink Canoes played on that concert and also on Saturday night at 21 Grand. Both sets were short – 10 minutes and 20 minutes respectively. Both times we set up in a way that we could all actually hear each other and it helped immensely. The past few shows we had tried to get creative with our set-ups only to realize later that it was close to impossible to hear each other and therefore be able to react and make music together. On these nights there were ebbs and flows, space was given between the five of us and the results were much better than in the past.