One competition I am very glad to have applied to is the Frame Dance Composition Competition. It was announced last Friday that my piece Integrated Elements No. 3 "Divide by Five" was selected as the winner this year! I got to see Frame Dance perform a piece choreographed by Lydia Hance with music by last year's winner, my friend, Charles Halka. It was a gorgeous piece and for me, the highlight of the program consisting of six different choreographers. I can't wait to get to work with Lydia on "Divide by Five." What I love about this particular competition is that the winner gets to collaborate with Frame Dance. It is a judgement based on wanting to work with someone. It is an Artist to Artist type of competition. This means a lot to me and I am so grateful and excited to start collaborating with Lydia.
The piece was written for Kyle Maxwell-Doherty, a percussionist currently finishing up his DMA at the University of Arizona (where we met). It is for gyil and fixed media. A gyil is a 14-note African xylophone. It is "tuned" to a pentatonic scale, though no two gyils are tuned exactly alike. The sounds used on the fixed media track include my own voice, sounds from the gyil (rubbing the bars, shaking the gourd resonators, etc), electronically produced sounds, and sounds from a prepared piano.
The piano sounds are the most interesting for me. Alex Wier, Kyle, and I spent a few hours recording sounds from the piano that Alex had been preparing for his upcoming recital in which he was playing a piece he composed in memoriam of John Cage. We tried of get as many different sounds as possible including different intensities and lengths of sounds as well. Then we took sounds from hitting the inside of the piano, hitting all 88 keys at once, and the signature sound of the piece, letting the lid of the piano drop. With just a little audio love, this sound provides the intense hits that set the piece off and give the piece its climatic ending.
Give the piece a listen and let me know what you think.