Since 2010, I've collaborated with five friends and fellow composers as Sleeping Giant. (above, pictured from left: Robert Honstein, Timo Andres, Jacob Cooper, <me>, Chris Cerrone, Andrew Norman)
We've presented concerts of our music and written new collaborative works together. Sometimes our differences cause schisms, sometimes our similarities are depressing, but through everything it's still rewarding to work through musical and aesthetic ideas with your friends. Here are some of the projects we've made together:
We recently premiered Hand Eye, an evening-length concert featuring new works by each of the six of us. It's a collection of responses to pieces of contemporary art in the incredible yet privately housed collection of Maxine and Stuart Frankel, who were the chief commissioners of the concert. Each of our works also features one of the six members of eighth blackbird. (My piece, By-By Huey, spotlights their ever-gutsy pianist Lisa Kaplan.) A more colorful take on the project can be gleaned from the above trailer.
Hand Eye's New York premiere took place at Carnegie Hall on January 18, 2016. Read the review.
Eighth blackbird's album Hand Eye was released in Spring 2016 on Cedille Records.
Listen to an excerpt of my piece By-By Huey:
Cellist Ashley Bathgate commissioned Sleeping Giant to compose a new solo suite. Based in varying degrees on single movements of Bach cello suites, these movements are designed to be played consecutively, on their own, or integrated with Bach. Ashley will premiere the project at le Poisson Rouge in New York in January 2016, in a concert presented by the Metropolis Ensemble.
The performance portion of Sleeping Giant's partnership with the Albany Symphony, as a Music Alive residency from NewMusicUSA, kicked off with a concert the ASO marketed as Requiem Reimagined. This piece used Mozart's Requiem and Süssmayr's completion as a canvas to create an unsettling but reverential love song to the ritual of classical music. With video design by Daniel Fish and Josh Thorson projected on the stunning pipe organ of Troy Savings Bank, the Albany Symphony and singers of Albany Pro Musica gave committed and daring performances.
SONGS WITH THEO BLECKMANN
Our second project as part of NewMusicUSA's residency was an evening of vocal music with Theo Bleckmann, backed by the Albany Symphony's resident chamber ensemble Dogs of Desire.
I first worked with Theo on a tour to Liverpool of Ridge Theater's Carbon Copy Building (the first collaborative theatrical work of David Lang, Michael Gordon and Julia Wolfe). His voice is smooth but direct, and he is a musician's musician. It felt great to have him anchor a night of songs. Read the review here.
Our first collaborative work was Histories, a 45-minute collection of interwoven movements based on Stravinsky's seminal 1918 septet l'Histoire du Soldat. Some of us wrote music that used l'Histoire as a canvas to scrawl on, or as samples to cut up and rearrange, while some of us accessed Stravinsky's timbral inventions only ephemerally. One of my contributions to the project, "Randos III," is posted above, as played by Brooklyn's fabulous Deviant Septet.