THE LANGUAGE AND SOUND PROJECT
for sound clips: http://www.steve-parker.net/Language
Analogous to NPR’s This American Life, the Language and Sound Project is a concept-driven program of pieces exploring the connection between language and sound. The show includes works for trombone and electronics especially written for trombonist Steve Parker by ten composers from around the world. Through the use of acoustic trombone and live audio processing, the program intertwines different modes of communication, from the contrapuntal language of J.S. Bach, to the language of chimpanzees, Texas cattle auctioneers, and Tuvan throat singing.
Trombonist Steve Parker is active in several musical circles throughout the US. He is currently a Harrington Scholar at UT Austin and was previously engaged as a Fulbright Scholar in Germany.
Parker has been a featured soloist at the International Trombone Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, Santa Fe New Music, Bowerbird (Philadelphia), Red Room (Baltimore), Roulette (NYC), the Front Row (NPR Houston), Music From Almost Yesterday (Milwaukee), and soloed in the American premiere of David Lang's MEN for trombone, ensemble and video at the Gene Siskel Film Center (Chicago).
Notable collaboration include work with Pierre Boulez and Ensemble InterContemporain at the Lucerne Festival (Switzerland) and with SIGNAL (NYC), an ensemble comprised of top contemporary music soloists. He has recorded on Bridge, Mode, and Cantaloupe Records.
Parker received a MM from Rice University and a BA/BM from Oberlin College in Applied Mathematics and Music.
ABOUT THE COMPOSERS
STEVE SNOWDEN, composer: GROUND ROUND for trombone + Max/MSP
Steven Snowden (ASCAP) creates music for a diverse array of media including theater, dance, film, interactive multimedia installations, and the concert stage. Along with composition, he performs and promotes new music for horn, and constructs instruments for use in electro-acoustic improvisation and interdisciplinary collaborations.
Raised in rural Southwest Missouri, Snowden began composition studies in 2002 at Missouri State University, received a Master’s degree at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and is currently a doctoral composition fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. Ensembles who have recently performed his work include; The Willson Quartet (Madison, Wisconsin), Sotto Voce (Tuscaloosa, Alabama), The Playground Ensemble (Denver, Colorado), The Sacramento Youth Symphony (Sacramento, CA), The University of Colorado Wind Symphony (Boulder, Colorado), The Tasman String Quartet (Wellington, New Zealand), The University of Chicago New Music Ensemble (Chicago, IL), The Aeolus Quartet (Cleveland, Ohio) The Carpe Diem String Quartet (Delaware, OH) and Ensemble I&D (Porto, Portugal).
Recent awards in composition include the 2010 Left Coast Chamber Ensemble Composition Contest, the 2009-2010 Austin Critics' Table Award for Best Original Composition, the George Lynn Memorial Composition Prize, 1st prize in the region VI 2009 ASCAP/SCI Student Composition Commission and a 2009 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award.
COREY DARGEL, composer: CHIMPANZEES for trombone + tape
Corey Dargel (b. 1977) is a Texas-born, Brooklyn-based composer, writer, and singer whose gentle assault on pop and classical idioms creates a tension that pervades his music. Deadpan and detached vocals reveal heartbreaking intimacies, awkward and obtrusive drum patterns struggle against fragile harmonies, vocals and music uneasily opposing each other as songs stumble to their ends. The New Yorker magazine calls him “a baroquely unclassifiable” composer of “ingenious nouveau art songs.” Salon praises his songs’ “rococo ingenuity” and “sustained bursts of lyrical brilliance,” and according to Gramophone magazine, he has “a compositional sense guaranteed to keep close listeners on their toes. Words and music are truly equal partners….”
Dargel studied composition at Oberlin Conservatory with John Luther Adams, Pauline Oliveros, Brenda Hutchinson, and Lewis Neilson. His music has been profiled by Kurt Andersen (Studio 360), Alison Stewart (Weekend Edition), and David Garland (Spinning On Air). He even earned a tweet from MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow for his art-song settings of the remarks of Condoleezza Rice.
Dargel has released two solo albums, Less Famous Than You (2006, Use Your Teeth) and Other People’s Love Songs (2008, New Amsterdam Records). The New York Times calls Other People’s Love Songs “at once wistful and wry, tender and irreverent…. [G]iving voice to the lives and relationships of his subjects, [Dargel] invests melodies with playful melismatic turns, evoking Kurt Weill cabaret….” His third album, Someone Will Take Care of Me (May 25, 2010, New Amsterdam Records & Naxos of America) is a double-CD album, featuring performances by the classical chamber group International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), David T. Little (drums), and Kathleen Supové (piano), comprised of song cycles adapted from Dargel’s critically acclaimed music-theater pieces, Thirteen Near-Death Experiences and Removable Parts.
Removable Parts, Dargel’s music-theater piece about love and voluntary amputation, won the 2007 New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Performance-Art Production and was hailed by the New York Times as “almost perversely pleasurable… with an intelligent grace that is as moving as it is impressive.” Removable Parts was remounted in 2009 as part of HERE Arts Center’s Culturemart festival and the Public Theater’s “Under the Radar” festival.
Thirteen Near-Death Experiences was commissioned by the International Contemporary Ensemble and premiered at Performance Space 122 in New York, NY, in May of 2009. That performance was hailed by Time Out New York as “brilliant” and “quite possibly a life-changing event.” Of a Chicago performance in March 2010, the Chicago Classical Review wrote:
Hypochondria is the leitmotif for Dargel’s Thirteen Near-Death Experiences… Yet rather than a morbidly clinical self-absorption, Dargel’s songs are wryly witty and often hilarious, crafted with a charming, angular lyricism, the deft lyrics recalling the best work of Warren Zevon and Randy Newman… What lifts these songs from merely comic throwaways is their graceful charm, mixing a lyric delicacy with an unsettled rhythmic line that reflects the hypochondriac’s nervous tension. The musical style is a hybrid, closer to pop than classical, but Dargel’s scoring for sextet shows great skill and ingenuity.
Both Removable Parts and Thirteen Near-Death Experiences feature stage direction by Emma Griffin and choreography by Yvan Greenberg, two of Dargel’s regular artistic collaborators.
Dargel has received awards and residencies from the MAP Fund, Meet The Composer’s Commissioning Music/USA program, the American Composers Forum, the Jerome Foundation, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the MacDowell Colony, New Dramatists, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts.
Although he is best known as a composer and singer, Dargel also performs as an actor/dancer and founding member of the Brooklyn-based experimental theater company, Laboratory Theater. Laboratory Theater’s work has been described as “ironic, weird, experimental, anti-dramatic, and compelling” (Village Voice) and “[i]nane, insane, mundane… esthetic purity under the guise of the absurd” (New York Press).
JACOB TV, composer: I was like WOW for trombone + video
(written for Jorgen van Rijen)
Dutch ‘avant pop’ composer JacobTV (Jacob Ter Veldhuis 1951) started as a rock musician and studied composition and electronic music at the Groningen Conservatory, where he was awarded the Composition Prize of the Netherlands in 1980. He became a full time composer and soon made a name for himself with melodious compositions, straight from the heart and with great effect. ‘I pepper my music with sugar,’ he says. Long queues at the box office of the four-day Jacob TV Festival in Rotterdam in 2001 already attested to his growing popularity. The NRC called him the ‘Jeff Koons of new music’ and his ‘coming-out’ as a composer of ultra-tonal, mellifluous music reached its climax with the video oratorio Paradiso, premiered the day after 9-11 and released on CD and DVD by British record label Chandos.
In the last decade JacobTV’s boombox music, for live instruments with a grooving sound track based on speech melody, became internationally popular. Although JacobTV is one of the most performed European composers, he is still an outlaw in the established modern classical music scene, and was recently accused of ‘musical terrorism’ after a premiere at the World Harp Congress in Amsterdam. According to the Wall Street Journal his newest work ‘makes many a hip-hop artist look sedate’. In 2007 the ‘box set trilogy, an anthology of his work with 12 hours of audio and video, was released by Basta and presented at a 3 day JacobTV mini festival at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. JacobTV lives in the Dutch country side. Momentarily he is composing a video opera called ’The News’ about the credit crunch and other world events, while touring with his JacobTV Band and the multi media show ‘Cities Change The Songs Of Birds’.
‘Stylistically, Jacob ter Veldhuis is hard to pin down. His classical side is a lush combination of post minimalism and romanticism. While he was working on integrating rock, jazz, and pop culture into his music from one side, he was turning away from high modernism on the other’. Sequenza 21
‘JacobTV is preoccupied with American media and world events and draws raw materials from those sources. His work possesses an explosive strength and raw energy combined with extraordinarily intricate architectural design’. Limor Tomer, former curator of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York
‘JacobTV is one of the most intriguing and engaging European composers of today. His control of energy and momentum, in fact, is one of his music's greatest strengths. His fast-moving pieces have an exciting sense of drive and purposefulness, and his more meditative pieces have a logic and quiet intensity that keep them from being meandering or static. TV’s music is emotionally direct, and he possesses an authentic lyrical gift that never sounds like rehashed Romanticism. His music is marked by a gentle optimism that reflects his deliberate rejection of what he perceives as the negativity of much modern music.’* Stephen Eddins, critic of Allmusic.com
Main works: The Rainbow-, Tallahatchie- and Goldrush- concertos, the video oratorio Paradiso, Mountain Top, the 2nd Pianoconcerto ‘Sky Falling’, ‘NOW’, String Quartets 1,2 & 3, Drei Stille Lieder, Diverso il Tempo, Laws of Science, Grab it!, Heartbreakers, Buku, Jesus is coming, May this Bliss never end, the Body of your Dreams, Les Soupirs de Rameau, Cities change the Songs of Birds, the Postnuclear Winterscenarios, piano trio Nivea Hair Care Styling Mousse, Cheese Cake, Lipstick.
JacobTV was performed by The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Tokyo City Philharmonic, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Russian State Academy, the Düsseldorf Symfoniker, the Metropole Orchestra, and by soloists such as Branford Marsalis, James Galway, Evelyn Glennie, Ronald Brautigam, Arno Bornkamp, Kevin Gallagher, Margaret Lancaster, Andrew Russo and ensembles like Het Nederlands Kamerkoor, Electra, Electric Kompany, Ethel, Fulcrumpoint, Quasar, E.A.R. Unit, Real Quiet, Onyx-, Ruysdael-, Aurelia-, Prism- and New Century Quartet, Safri Duo, Calefax, Amsterdam Sinfonietta, De Volharding, Fireworks, Gending, Combustion Chamber, Glass Farm & Fifh House Ensemble and several others. Choreographers Hans van Manen, Nanine Linning, Annabel Lopez-Ochoa, Dominique Dumais, Johan Inger and others have created ballets on his music in productions for the Nederlands Danstheater, Het Nationaal Ballet, Introdans, Scapino Ballet Rotterdam etc.