Next week I'll be boarding an airplane to Fairbanks, Alaska to hear a performance of a percussion ensemble work I wrote a few years ago, Unrelated, at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. While hearing a work be revived again is always nice, I am particularly interested to hear this work again in a new context, as I specify in the score that one of the intentions of this work is to reflect, magnify and draw attention to the specific sounds inherent in different geographic locations. From the score:
The only time Unrelated has been performed live thus far is at Seattle Pacific University in 2009. At that performance the players collected rocks from around campus, and also constructed huge bundles of branches laurel cuttings to shake - laurels a ubiquitous towering hedge we see everywhere in Seattle. Fairbanks is already blanketed in snow, and the professor who has kindly organized this performance, percussionist Bonnie Whiting Smith, made sure that her players had gathered branches and carefully tucked them away by mid-September, and collected stones from the Chena river before it became too cold. So, I am curious to hear how it'll sound in this new context. The third movement of Unrelated has also had a bit of a life on its own outside of this concert work. I took this movement and re-worked it, then added some electronics. This re-worked new piece, Collective Resonance, was featured in the 2011 Music Issue of The Believer, and is available at all the usual digital retailers.
Besides working with the percussionists and hearing the performance of Unrelated, I'll also be working with Bonnie to review a bunch of material I've been writing for her that will ultimately end us as a rather long piece for solo percussionist. So far it's looking like this new piece will be incorporating a lot of things we're both interested in: the percussionist speaking, field recordings, natural objects...and snare drum. This is going to be a really fun trip, and hopefully I won't lose a toe due to frostbite: it's supposed to be -10° when I get in on Wednesday.