Six Days, Six Rehearsals, Two Pieces (part 1)

Jubilant concert posterIt was one of those weeks. Two projects getting very much closer to fruition, pretty much at the same time. It’s a nice thing about being a freelance composer that one day is often not like the next — sometimes you’re mostly composing, or mostly copying, or mostly doing administrative things. Less often, but more excitingly, you’re going to rehearsals of your new pieces. It happens that two pieces that I’ve been working on for a while now are both being premiered this month, and that has meant a flurry of rehearsals. (Is there a collective noun for “rehearsals”?) Read more ›

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Order Up!

Golden RectanglesOver the course of those April workshops, the different dances of Book of Love quickly took shape and character, and were further refined over the next few months through some public work-in-progress performances, some of which I was able to see, which kept fuelling my musical imagination. From the musical perspective, after a few movements of “just writing”, there was enough musical time composed that I started having to think about the overall structure and pacing of the music, and to start assigning music to choreography in my own mind so that I knew what choreography remained to have music composed. Read more ›

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Who Are You Wearing?

Baldock workWhich really should be “whom” but does anyone on the Red Carpet say that?

Another important collaborative element that had an influence on the music of Book of Love is the costumes. Kokoro has commissioned British artist Jonathan Baldock to create the set and costumes, and his work is vivid, surprising, and fantastic in every sense of the word. For the workshops this past April, Jonathan was also in Vancouver to observe the elements in progress, and he brought with him a mockup of the main costume. Read more ›

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Real Time Step Time

Kororo 10For me, a crucial part of the development process of Book of Love was the time spent in the dancers’ rehearsal studio, watching the choreography so that I could respond with musical ideas. As much as it was exhilarating, I was still getting used to working without my usual net. And it was really hard to think about music when it was quite easy to sit back and let myself be transported by these four amazing dancers dancing. Read more ›

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Let’s Start At The Very Beginning

Very BeginningA very good place to start. Or not.

For me a new piece starts with a lot of thinking. Long before the first notes are written on the page, I’ve decided on the inspiration for the piece, the title, the general shape, and much of the basic concepts and materials. I’ve heard in my head how the piece starts, how it ends, and I’ve got a bunch of ideas for highlight moments along the piece’s trajectory. Read more ›

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How I Spent My Summer Vacation

book-of-loveOr If It’s Not Terrifying, You’re Not Doing It Right.

I’ve been a professional composer for 20 years now, and in that time I’ve written all kinds of music, for all kinds of ensembles, large and small. For most of it, that has meant having a chat with the commissioner about the parameters of the piece, then spending a lot of time alone, Read more ›

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