OF NOTE

Updated 9 October 2017


THREE NEW COLLABORATIONS

I. Reynolds’s ongoing PASSAGE Project has now been realized in a book, released from C. F. Peters in September 2017. Printed by Halstan & Co Ltd in London, the result is an “art book” that simulates the interweaving of the read and recorded texts, sound movement, and projected images used in actual performance. The medium is now, however, confined to the printed page. In order to do this, Reynolds, working with Karen and their collaborator Stacie Birky Greene, conceived a presentation in which images and text are melded, virtually into a single, balanced visual impression. The letters of text words are individually altered in color, density, and spacing in order to integrate with the content of associated imagery (photos, diagrams, and so on). The outcome is a completely novel mix that creates a constantly altering viscosity to the reading experience. At some moments, it is clear sailing for a reader, at others the letters and their associate words have to be “found out” by close examination. So the encounter with the book is, as the experience of a live PASSAGE presentation is, a kind of performative collaboration between artist and audience. This book is available from C.F. Peters in New York. Please contact Gene Capriolio at Peters. Email: gene.caprioglio@editionpeters.com

II. Collaborating with clarinetist Anthony Burr, and computer musician Jacob Sundstrom, Reynolds has completely re-written a much earlier work for solo clarinet, shaping it into the fourth in a series of duos for solo instrument and computer musician. In Toward Another World: LAMENT, “seeds” extracted from Burr’s playing of the three movements: Innocence, Awakening, Resolve, undergo elaborate processing with computer algorithms of Reynolds’s design. The new work was premiered at an International Conference of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, organized by colleague Sarah Creel in the UCSD Cognitive Science Department. This event, on the conference’s opening night, was held in the auditorium of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technologies on 31 July 2017.

III. In the Summer of 2017, Reynolds also began a collaboration with percussionist Steven Schick centered on a new work for speaking percussionist. Based on a Beckett text (from his Texts for Nothing: IX), the new work will be developed and refined by the collaborators over the coming year and become the centerpiece of an inaugural percussion seminar, the first in a series to be held on odd-numbered years at UCSD. A very restricted instrumental resource is applied to illuminating and extrapolating into “extra-vocal” dimensions, a performed reading of the text. The performer is faced with a complex and multi-leveled task that involves intricate balancing of vocal utterance and unusual percussion techniques that join in an interwoven amalgam of articulate sound. At the same time, the percussionist is also moving and repositioning himself precisely, in order to engage with a specified lighting design.


NEW WORK UCSD PREMIERE 29 NOVEMBER 2017 OF FLiGHT

The completed version of an 8-minute FLiGHT project was performed four times in October 2016: a pair of preliminary presentations at Atlas Digital Media Center, University of Colorado, Boulder and the premiere performances at Park Avenue Armory in New York on the 30th and 31st. The collaborative team includes composer and project leader Reynolds, JACK Quartet (which commissioned FLiGHT), videographer Ross Karre, and computer musician Paul Hembree. FLiGHT will be presented at UCSD on 29 November 2017 during a residency of JACK Quartet that will also feature the premiere of a new composition by Rand Steiger for string quartet and computer technology.

See the international online news magazine OZY feature "Provocateurs". Also Bruce Hodges, in his Musical America review which advises readers that one should "simply sit back, letting [Reynolds's] airborne fantasy race through the mind."


ON VARÈSE

Working at the invitation of the Sacher Foundation in Basel, Reynolds examined the thinking of Edgard Varèse on the subject of musical space (actual and metaphoric). Two extended papers have resulted. Part I was published in Perspectives of New Music (Volume 51, Number 1, Winter 2013): “The Last Word Is Imagination: A Study of the Spatial Aspects of Varèse’s Work”. Part II is published in the print edition of Leonardo, Vol. 50, No. 5, available in the Fall of 2017 from MIT Press.


DARMSTADT

Reynolds was invited to the 70th Anniversary session of the International Summer Course for New Music Darmstadt, July 10-August 14, 2016. Among other activities, he performed one of his intermedial PASSAGE lecture events, PASSAGE 11, in a customized "Darmstadt" version. It featured Irvine Arditti, the Arditti Quartet, with Paul Hembree. Reynolds also presented a Workshop/Performance event focused on the new collaboration between him, Irvine Arditti, and Hembree: Shifting/Drifting (for violin and real-time algorithmic transformation). Reynolds's four Darmstadt Lectures included:

1. Impetus and Fuel: beginning a composition and content [discussant Martin Hiendl]
2. Shaping Form by Boundary Conditions: Flexible Opportunity, not Rigid Obligation [discussant Anne Cleare]
3. Technological and Graphic Resource: Numbers, Space, Algorithms and Textural Sketching [discussant Paul Hembree]
4. The large and the small: how can "knowing" improve musical experience [violinist Kier GoGwilt]

After his Darmstadt residency, Reynolds visited the Sacher Foundation in Basel, working with Angela Benedictis, the musicologist in charge of his materials there. Their sessions were focused on new arrivals: the sketches and drafts for imagE/violin, imAge/violin, and Shifting/Drifting (all composed in 2015).



NEW REVIEW

Reynolds is the subject of a 2-page editorial by Philip Clark in Gramophone, March 2016:

Excavating layers of myth – as Harrison Birtwistle and Helmut Lachenmann have both discovered in their own music-theater works – can be a useful ground plan for journeying through a piece of music ... george WASHINGTON deals in muddled layers of truth – of purely orchestral sounds against orchestral music transformed electronically, purely musical information mulched into real-time narration, and visual imagery beamed around the hall.... symbolizing how different aspects of Washington's personality and thinking work in unison.

... [Reynolds] is motivated to cultivate long relationships with musicians – whether Steven Schick and, in recent string pieces, Irvine Arditti, composer and instrumentalist stepping into each other's worlds, feeling towards new ways of hearing though mutual listening and discussion.
(Philip Clark, Gramophone, March 2016)



DUO FOR VIOLIN AND COMPUTER

Shifting/Drifting, a new collaborative duo for violin and real-time algorithmic transformation, received its premiere performances, at UC San Diego's Conrad Prebys Experimental Theater (the season opening ArtPower event) on 25 September 2015; then also at REDCAT CalArts Downtown (an Arditti recital featuring its source solos: imagE/violin & imAge/violin), Los Angeles, 29 September); the new collaboration at Cal Arts' The Beast on 1 October, and at Stanford University's CCRMA on 4 October, and at Darmstadt's 70th Anniversary Festival, 4 August 2016.



NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART AMERICAN MUSIC FESTIVAL

The National Gallery of Art concert previewed FLiGHT on 8 March 2015 in the first of a set of 10 events that comprised the 66th American Music Festival : Personal Visions, for which Reynolds was the guest curator. The Festival featured composers from Nancarrow, DeLio, Ung, Felder, and Thomas to Sorey, Dresser, Oliveros, Applebaum, and Zorn, as well as performers Claire Chase, JACK Quartet, Gabriela Díaz, Eric Huebner, Third Coast Percussion, and the Mark Dresser Trio. "A gallery's worth of new music, and it's all free" wrote Anne Midgette, in The Washington Post's preview.

Listen to the NGA podcast Panel Discussion between Tyshawn Sorey and Mark Dresser, moderated by Roger Reynolds.



SOUND ICON

Reynolds was the featured composer on the dynamic young group SOUND ICON's season opener, including conductor-music director Jeffrey Mean's performance of Thoughts, Places, Dreaming, with cello soloist Rafi Popper-Kaiser and also a complete, integral performance of his Piano Etudes, Book I, wherein pianists Aaron Likness and Yoko Hagino passed materials back and forth between their two pianos.



TWO ARTICLES

Reynolds has recently contributed to the German publication, MusikTexte (a remembrance of Pauline Oliveros), and to the Contemporary Music Review ("Considering the Roots of JUSTICE", paired with Robert Kirzinger's survey "Text, Language, and the Voice in the Music of Roger Reynolds". Reynolds had earlier written "Thoughts on Enabling Creative Capacity: Provocation, Invitation, Resistance, and Challenge", also for CMR.



TWO NEW DC's

A new CD on Neuma Records appeared in September, featuring the first 6 in Reynolds's longterm imAgE/ Project. Complementary solos (e.g., imagE/cello – an Evocative work – and imAge/cello – an Assertive complement – for flute, piano, guitar, viola, cello, and contrabass are performed by Mark Dresser, Yuji Takajashi, Alexis Descharmes, Rachel Beetz, Mark Menzies, John Pickford Richards, Eric Huebner, and Pablo Gómez Cano.

The Strad, UK, 4 July 2016
Roger Reynolds has often been called the 'American Iannis Xenakis' and the 'American Pierre Boulez', an apparent contradiction that his music rides with ease – suggesting that in reality he's the US Roger Reynolds. imageE-imAge is a set of instrumental pieces, a pair each for unaccompanied piano, double bass, guitar, viola, flute and cello that, as Reynolds's titles imply, offer different takes on the same pool of material. ... Performances emphasise Reynolds's lavish detailing; the recorded soun is intimate and sympathetic. (Philip Clark)


A second CD is now available at Mode Records, mode 277/78, Complete Cello Music. Please visit the Alexis Descharmes YouTube Channel for a premiere performance recording at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional de Paris on 15 November 2013.

CLASSICA Magazine, France, March 2014
In a continuity with Elliott Carter and Milton Babbitt, American Roger Reynolds cultivates an aesthetic closer to the European avant-garde than to minimalism or the 'new tonality' that dominate musical production overseas. Resolutely free from the classic tone, his writing is not atonal, nevertheless... It attaches great importance to the points of reference between pitches, to recurrent pitches, echoes, centers of gravity, harmonic attraction, tension / relaxation.... Thoughts, Places, Dreams (2013), a chamber concerto dedicated to the Ensemble Court-circuit, develops the material of the two solo pieces, the imAgEs of 2007. As in the concerto of Ligeti, the soloist does not come off as such – but what wealth of invention! What subtle play between the desks! Three tracks of the CD are dedicated to Reynolds's readings, closely related to some of the pieces from this CD, adding a personal touch to this album and especially the tone, the voice of the Master... (Jeremie Bigorie)

ICON, UK, October 2015

Mellow listening it's not, but it's not especially hostile either. For those with a taste for post-1970 classical (and that includes Zappa's classical works) and a love for edgy usage of the cello, this two-CD set will confound, amaze, and enchant you.



JUNE IN BUFFALO

In June 2015, Reynolds was a featured composer at the 30th anniversary of David Felder's June in Buffalo. Two major works were heard, Kokoro (performed by its commissioner, Irvine Arditti) and the Piano Etudes, Book I (in an integral performance by Eric Huebner, one of its dedicatees). Reynolds also gave master classes on the Etudes (with pianist Huebner), and on four real-time computer algorithms (with computer musician Paul Hembree).



ARDITTI QUARTET AND MUCH MORE

Reynolds's achievements were celebrated on several occasions during early 2015. The UCSD Music Department presented a birthday celebration 3-5 February at the Conrad Prebys Music Center. Events included a Ross Karre- and Josef Kucera-curated installation concentrating on four Reynolds intermedia works spanning four decades (PING, SANCTUARY, MARKed MUSIC, and george WASHINGTON), an international symposium: "The Interaction of Scientific and Artistic Imagination: Perceptual Studies and the Making of Music", featuring Stephen McAdams (McGill), Philippe Lalitte (Bourgogne), and Aniruddh Patel (Tufts), and a concert by the celebrated Arditti Quartet, featuring two commissioned Reynolds works, as well as quartets by Chaya Czernowin and Ben Hackbarth. Katharina Rosenberger was the coordinator for all the celebratory events, and participated with Ross Karre and Reynolds – along with the festival guest speakers – in a panel discussion moderated by Steven Schick.



NEW ENGLAND CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC

In June 2014, Reynolds was composer-in-residence for Stephen Drury's yearly epic at the New England Conservatory of Music: the Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice (SICPP). During his residency, a dozen diverse works of his were rehearsed and performed. The Iditarod marathon on the Festival's final day admirably fulfilled its title's implications: musical vitality, even heroism.



"...A YOUNG EXPLORER."

On 23 February 2014, the Miller Theatre presented a “Portrait Concert” including two performances of Reynolds works commissioned by and for his longtime friend and collaborator, Irvine Arditti, as well as the East Coast premiere of Positings (2012-13) for instrumental ensemble and real-time computer algorithms (with computer musician Paul Hembree). Positings was commissioned by Southwest Chamber Music.

Paul Griffiths's Miller Theatre program notes observed of Reynolds: “ … this is someone who remains a young explorer. ... looking for new ways in which music can energize space, interlock with electronics, and spill across into drama – or do all of these at once …”


george WASHINGTON  A PREMIERE

This major work for orchestra, three narrators, projected imagery, and 8-channel computer sound received its premiere performances on the season-opening concerts of the National Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Christoph Eschenbach, October 3, 4, and 5, 2013. Reynolds fashioned the work’s text from Washington’s letters and diaries, and collaborated with videographer Ross Karre, computer musician Jaime Oliver, and recording engineer Josef Kucera, as well as the research staff of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. It was co-commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra through a grant from the John and June Hechinger Commissioning Fund for New Orchestral Works, the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, and the University of California.
Please view the brief trailer by Ross Karre.

An installation version of the work is available through C.F. Peters Corporation.
george WASHINGTON reviews are available here.



HARVARD FROMM PROFESSOR

Reynolds was Fromm Professor at Harvard during the Fall Semester of 2012. While there, he gave two public lectures: “What I Do (with some whys)” and "PASSAGE 8: On Learning, Varèse, Cage, Ashley, Musical Experience, and Intermedia”. He also taught individual composers and conducted a Fromm Seminar on Analysis and the subsequent extrapolation of procedures arising out of the analytic process. Reynolds's music was heard at Harvard in a Portrait Concert by New York's Alarm Will Sound Ensemble. The program included his performance of the PASSAGE 8 intermedia work with computer musician Paul Hembree, as well as the first performance of a revised version of SEASONS: Cycle II, in four movements. UCSD colleague Susan Naruki was the soprano soloist, and Alan Pierson conducted. During the PASSAGE performance, clarinetist Bill Kalinkos performed Toward Another World with Hembree, and John Pickford Richards gave the world premiere of a new work written for him by Reynolds: imagE/viola. While in Cambridge, Reynolds's music was also heard at MIT, Boston University, Tufts University, and on several New England Conservatory of Music concerts, directed by Stephen Drury.



“Transcending Place and Time” A SEMINAR AT UCSD

Contrabassist Mark Dresser (UCSD) and trombonist Michael Dessen (UC Irvine) joined with Reynolds during the Winter of 2013, to offer “Transcending Place and Time”, a pathbreaking exploration of the potential of telepresence and high-resolution multimedia documentation. The seminar met simultaneously with separate groups on two University of California campuses (San Diego and Irvine), using ultra-high speed fiber-optic connectivity that virtually eliminated auditory latency. During lecture/discussion meetings and associated laboratory sessions, a group of two-dozen faculty and graduate students explored the limits, opportunities, and, of course, the frustrations of using state of the art technologies to re-formulate the ancient tradition of performance experience. That tradition’s three components – privileged place, performers, audience – can now be located in different places and times, creating a limitless new set of possibilities … and perils. 



ONCE. MORE. on PBS

"In the 1960s, Ann Arbor was known as a hotbed of radicalism not only in student political and social activism, but in new music. The University of Michigan was a center of change, where composers were in the vanguard of a cultural revolution.
~ Laurel Firant, AnnArbor.com Freelance Writer, October 29, 2010