Graduation and Cephalophore

Two years go by in a blink of an eye! As of a month ago I have completed my Master of Music degree at the University of Louisville. The site was pretty quiet for the last 7 months as I feverishly worked on a million projects including my thesis, a chamber opera titled Cephalophore. Last weekend it was premiered by the Thompson Street Opera Company here in Louisville, Kentucky.

Ableton Live Presentations

Besides recording the new Shawn Sleeps Naked album, working on my chamber opera, writing/recording some music for an upcoming commercial for the good folks at Simple Focus, and all of the events affiliated with the New Music Festival (like having a private composition lesson with Bent Sorenson!) I’ve been giving several presentations on Ableton Live and it’s many applications.

Last Friday I presented at the 2014 American Music Therapy Association Conference (AMTA) about how Ableton Live and the Push controller can be used in therapy sessions and as another tool to connect with patients. It was a great and friendly crowd with  lots of good questions!

On Wednesday I gave a presentation on incorporating Ableton and Max/MSP to the University of Louisville School of Music’s Advanced Electronics in Music class. It was a bit more technical and nerdy because the students primarily work in Max/MSP. Lot’s of fun!

Next Wednesday I will be giving a presentation at the 2014 Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) which is the worlds largest percussion convention. I’ve looked at the schedule and it looks like a fantastic convention. One of the piece’s to be played is Karlheinz Essl’s piece Sequitur XI (for vibraphone and electronics) which I performed last week on the New Music Festival. It’s a small world!


Sequential Motion Video

Here is a performance of my piece Sequential Motion for Bassoon and Guitar Controlled Electronics. I’d like to thank Jackie Royce for her fantastic playing on this piece!

Sequential Motion Program Note

In 1995, Luciano Berio completed his Sequenza XII for bassoon. Berio’s Sequenzas were a series of works for solo instrument and an exploration of each instruments particular sound world. They are remarkable works full of creativity, demanding the highest level of technical ability and expressivity from the performer . Sequenza XII was written for French bassoonist, Pascal Gallois. Gallois later compiled a technique book for the bassoon including references to Sequenza XII. The book covered both traditional and extended techniques. In the book Gallois explained the long and collaborative process between Berio and himself in exploring the potential of the instrument. This dialog between composer and performer proved to create a powerful work that was on the cutting edge of technical ability while also being coherent and without meaningless gestures that merely “sounded cool.”  Sequenza XII embodies the true potential of artistic collaboration.

Sequential Motion is my small way of paying homage to the masterful work by Berio and the collaborative spirit he had with Gallois. Berio’s score, as well as Gallois’ technique book were constantly at my side during initial sketches. They acted as a road map and inspired me to think differently about writing for bassoon. In the collaborative spirit, I worked with Jackie (Royce) in early prototypes of the piece to understand what worked and what did not. This proved more useful than a thousand hours with awful midi files. The experience of talking, trying, failing, and doing is where I found the art. The process is where we grow and where we find truth.


About the piece and process:

This is the first performance of a piece I am currently redrafting. It is a work for solo voice with two players affecting the sound (bassoonist and electronics) as well as an attempt to incorporate traditional guitar idioms to the execution of the electronics instead of using midi/osc devices. The goal is to find a fluid and expressive way to manipulate electronics using frequency and amplitude tracking of an acoustic instrument (guitar in this case.) I am using max/MSP, including a few crucial externals (sigmund~ by Miller Puckette and vb.stretch~ by Volker Böhm and Nasca Octavian Paul.)


Guest on Podcast “Exile on Jane St.”

Check out the new podcast by a friend and great musician, Pat Hume. We talk about composition, Louisville music, computer troubleshooting , and all sorts of random stuff!

California Zephyr at Dreamland

My piece, California Zephyr (for solo cello) will be performed by Jari Piper at Dreamland (performance and visual art space) on Friday, July 11 at 8pm. The venue is at 810 E. Market in Louisville, KY (behind Decca restaurant.)  Along with my piece, six other wonderful composers will be presenting new works for a variety of ensembles.


JetStream – Jabez Co (for Flute and Live Electronics) (2014)

Chakra Study – Rachel Short (for Singing Bowl and Indeterminate Ensemble) (2014)

Four Yankee Songs – Justin Giarrusso (for Soprano and Piano) (2014)

Inferno: Canto XIV – Jon Silpayamanant (for Cello and Electronics) (2014)

Operate the Machine by Typing – Rob Collier (for String Quartet and Electric Piano) (2014)

Yari Piper – Cellist

Dawn – Ilkim Tongur (2013)

Tibetan Dance from Seven Tunes Heard In China – Bright Sheng (1995)

After Matisse (2 mvmts.) – Daniel Gilliam (2014)

Vez – Ana Sokolović (2003)

Allegretto from partita for solo cello – Ahmed Adnan Saygun (1953)

California Zephyr – Chris Kincaid (2014)

Sonata for solo cello – Gyorgy Ligeti (1953)

Omaramor – Osvaldo Golijov (1991)

Blackbird Variations – Kaitlyn Raitz (2013)

Jari Piper Bio
JARI PIPER is as comfortable performing in the concert hall as well as bars, cafes, or just the metro. Named the 2013 Young Alaskan Artist of the Year, Jari is currently on his second solo tour of America, playing contemporary works for cello in a wide variety of venues and collaborating with different artists along the way. Jari just released his first CD, “New Work for Solo Cello,” consisting of contemporary music by both emerging and renowned composers, on which are the premiere recordings of three new compositions. Classically trained, Jari is part of the new wave of young musicians who are showing the world that art music belongs both in and outside the concert hall, performing New Music that will bend your ears in ways that you did not think possible (and you’ll like it). His music takes inspiration from a global range of genres and influences: Classical, Jazz, Minimalism, and folk music from the Balkans and the Americas all feature within his programs. A firm believer in the importance of New Music, Jari has premiered numerous compositions, and strives to make modern music more universally accessible to the public through performance. Although the bulk of his programs consist of 20th and 21st century music, Jari still loves the opportunity to perform Baroque, Classical, and Romantic music as well.

Jari has performed across the United States, Alaska, Canada, and Greece. He made his solo debut in 2011, performing Haydn’s “Cello Concerto No. 1” with the University of Manitoba Symphony Orchestra. His current professional associations include the ME|2 String Orchestra in Vermont, the McGill Symphony Orchestra, and as a regular performer in Canada and America. He has broadened his education through a number of master classes with noted pedagogues and performers such as Colin Carr, Hans Jensen, Matt Haimovitz, and David Harrington. He holds a Masters in Music Performance from McGill University and a B. Mus from the University of Manitoba. Jari counts Dr. Minna Rose Chung, Yegor Dyachkov, and Linda Ottum as his principal teachers. You can find out more and have a listen to him at his website,


Mixing, Mixing, and More Mixing!

So I’m really honing my mixing chops this month! I have been working on the new full-length album by Twenty First Century Fox, new EP by For The Birds, new tracks by Versityle, live concert recordings of the Chamber Winds Louisville, virtual training videos for a large health insurance provider, and TWO releases by my band, Karass! One is our upcoming full length album and the other is a tape release collaboration with five friend-vocalists! I can’t wait for these tracks to be released! They’ve been so much fun to record and mix!

California Zephyr Featured on Upcoming Album

My newest piece, California Zephyr, for solo cello is in the process of being recorded right now by the talented cellist, Jari Piper and will be offered on CD very soon. However, these things cost money to record and print. Click here to purchase the album or donate to the process. We (composers, performers, and recording engineers) thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

One year down, one to go!

I have completed my first year of graduate school for music composition at the University of Louisville. In this first year I have written and had performed works for bassoon, electric guitar, mezzo soprano, classical guitar, piano, symphonic band, string trio, electronics, and cello.

The next year will be consumed by my first string quartet that borrows material from Kentucky’s rich fiber-art heritage , as well as my thesis: a short opera about the beheading of St. Dennis. If next year is anything like this year it will go by in a blink!

This summer I am working on some home improvements, researching and sketching for the quartet and the opera, as well as doing some recording and mixing work. I’ve got some upcoming projects that I’m really excited to be a part of. I have been upgrading gear in the studio including new mics, a beautiful sounding ad/da by Audient, and a new computer for mobile recordings.

Check back for audio and video from recent and upcoming pieces!

April is Here!


I made it through the crazy month of March and lived to tell about it! Four premieres (trio, bassoon and electronics, cello solo, and mezzo/electric guitar) as well as a ton of other stuff and school. The premieres were great and I should have video and audio up soon! April looks like the month of school. Papers, OpenMusic project, finishing up the extended cello solo piece, revising a band piece for another read through, and conducting a short guitar trio that was written last week (start to finish). The next thing I know it will be May!

I’ve got big plans for summer! Look for upcoming posts about Leslie and my work on a libretto for next year’s opera, house remodeling/finish touches, a raspi guitar pedal project running pd, final mixing of a new Karass album, a complete recording project (start to finish) of collabs with local vocalists, reviews of contemporary opera,  and maybe a trip out west/east!