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Friday, February 26, 2010

French painter Claude Nguyen inspired by Oliver's composition Dust for clarinet and surround audio

French painter Claude Nguyen has started a blog where he will detail the paintings he will create as a direct result of detailed listening to my composition Dust for clarinet and surround audio. Although the site is live now, it will fill up with content as the project progresses throughout the spring months.

Le peintre français, Claude Nguyen, lance un blog ou il présentera ses peintures d'après ma composition DUST pour clarinette et support audio. Le blog détaillera son progrès dans les mois qui viennent.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Triple Gold

From Vancouver Sun music critic David Duke's blog. Read the full article.

Reviewer David Gordon Duke was unable to attend the premiere of my composition Five-ring Concerto last night but did write a review of the dress rehearsal. Since David was unable to hear the performance, you are invited to leave your comments at the end of his blog post if you did see the performance.

Since I’ve yet to master the art of being in two places at the same time, it looked like the Turning Point’s triple bill of Schoenberg/Adams/Oliver was going to go unheard Wednesday evening, when I was already booked to review the Moscow Chamber Choir (see Friday’s edition for the review).

But with the premiere of John Oliver’s Five-Ring Concerto and an opportunity to hear John Adams’ new Son of Chamber Symphony at stake, I asked permission to attend the final rehearsal for the program in the afternoon.

Going to rehearsals is one of the best ways there is to learn a new work—if you can be there through the whole process. Compared to the now-or-never situation a critic faces in performance, it’s a luxury to hear new music emerge over the long haul. Alas, the best I could do on Wednesday was hear a mosaic of bits and pieces being polished to perfection, not a full run through.

Even so, I left all the more envious of listeners who were able to hear the new works given a Vancouver launch. The common denominator is that both are thoroughly contemporary—and thoroughly enjoyable…

…I’m willing to bet that Oliver’s concerto, with or without the sports connection, is an Olympic legacy, not just an Olympic pièce d’occasion

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Turning Point Ensemble's three podium pieces

Tomorrow night, Wednesday, February 24, 2010, the Turning Point Ensemble will premiere my new work, Five-ring Concerto, which they commissioned for the Cultural Olympiad (Vancouver Playhouse, 8 pm; tix here). On the program, audience will also hear Arnold Schoenberg's Chamber Symphony for 15 soloists and John Adams' Son of Chamber Symphony. This unique program features three works of approximately the same length with similar goals: active, engaging and challenging chamber music. All pursue an active and ever-changing discourse. It's the kind of intelligent music that makes you smile because of the incredible invention throughout. Although intelligent in design, cerebral it is not.

There are many challenges for the musicians. All three works could be named "concerti" in the sense that all the musicians must step up to the plate, bring a common intensity of effort to carry it off. Every musician is engaged in the conversation. There are lots of solos tumbling through the music, in all of the pieces, and amazing ensemble moments. Those familiar with the music of Schoenberg and Adams will be happy to hear this caviar of their output and some echoes of their other works.

I am very pleased with my entire experience working with the Turning Point Ensemble and their conductor Owen Underhill. The sports theme of my own work has been fun to work with and has established an inspired atmosphere. This band is ready to rock the Playhouse on Wednesday night. I hope to see you there.
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