Friday, March 5, 2010

ACDA Western Division Conference in Tucson

Hey everyone, this is day two of the ACDA Western Division Conference in Tucson, AZ. It's been crazy busy here and I'm already behind trying to blog this event. Please bear with me, and there ain't-a gonna be any pics on this for now1

I'm staying at the cool landmark Hotel Congress built in 1919, and kept as a retro hotel- thus no TV's, old plumbing (ha) and so on. It's a great ole place, not a McHotel, and a hangout for very groovy gen-xers amidst the various bars (5 count 'em, 5) in the building.

Thursday started off with a wonderfully sweet address by the legendary Weston Noble. What a cool speech, as he told a few stories from his childhood but mostly was zeroing in on his new interest in "mirror neurons" and their interactive effect on human communication. How many octogenarians do you know that are still this interested in cutting edge science? In his own sweet way he sounded like he was doing a TED talk!

Following that Daniel Hughes' The Choral Project did a wonderful program including choralography on a few numbers. Daniel is a great guy, and I think I will save talking about Daniel and the choral Project for later when I have more time, and hopefully Daniel can add to the blog.

My biggest reason for being in Tucson was that Incheon City Chorale is the guest professional choir here and Hak-won Yoon decided to place the Agnus Dei from my Missa Brevis Incheon into his interest session about Korean music. I guess I ate enough Korean food in Seoul in October to qualify as an honorary Korean, as I was the only non-Korean composer on the session. Hak-won, with his usual wit and wisdom, taught the directors about basic Korean folk music rhythms and modes and then demonstrated various elements of Korean music with the choir and then sang some short songs by Korean composers in varying styles. Then they also sang my Agnus Dei beautfully and I had a number of nice comments from my peers. It was fun to share this piece here now in America. Hak-won and I also discussed the future of this piece, and we decided to start showing it to US choirs. So, if you are interested in seeing a 13 minute Missa Brevis, SATB divisi, and on the difficult side (fast melismas at times for men and extended ranges for sopranos), let me know! Free perusal scores via pdf file available

The evening concerts featured the Tucson Chamber Artists directed by Eric Holtan, followed by The Crystal Children's Concert Choir from San Francisco, and then Incheon City Chorale.

I thought that the Tucson Chamber Artists gave a wonderful program- a very professional, polished sound while performing difficult music in a very artistic way- the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis of the very talented Scotsman, James MacMillan, followed by some lighter music by Stephen Paulus. I very much admired the intensity of the singing on the McMillen and I felt that Holtan's conducting was rock-solid. This is a group to watch as they continue to grow. I actually felt that the audience was a bit noisy and antsy and was not entering McMillen's rather intense, moderately dissonant, and highly creative world whcih challenges you to engage in your listening. I think they were so much anticipating the Asian folk music coming up that they forgot the respect Mr. Holtan's group, which is a shame.

Time for another session- I'll pick this back up later...

PLUS atmospheric music here and there with singers imitating birdcalls and the sound of rain (or the sound of rainsticks)

MINUS already by morning of day two I've heard FOUR pieces doing these same effects!

THOUGHT maybe start a new trend- write a piece with this atmosphere: construction vehicle backup beeps and other posh urban noises

No comments:

Post a Comment