We are thrilled to announce the ten winners of our 2015 call for miniature scores, to be performed in the Pittsfield 10X10 Upstreet Festival, February 15, 2015, at 4 pm. You may find ticket information and other pertinent information here!
The selected composers wrote music that stood out to us as particularly playful, thoughtful, and memorable. Also, as a set, their works serve our curatorial vision: together, they represent a wonderful variety of musical styles AND demonstrate the wide sonic capacity of this unusual and challenging instrumentation.
Without further ado, the winners are:
Probyn Gregory, Los Angeles, CA
Almost There – “This piece was written thinking about the passing of my mother Mary Gregory on March 8, 2005. She and I both favored the number 7, thus the number of notes in the primary arpeggios. Excelsior Mary.” A native of Keene, NH and an active performer of fretted string and brass instruments, Gregory was (for one golden year) in the Beach Boys.
Patrick Greene, Lincoln, MA
The Hedgehog’s Dilemma – This piece derives its name and its nature from Schopenhauer’s metaphor about the paradox of human intimacy; hedgehogs must huddle together for warmth, but will inevitably prick one another in doing so. The composer, Patrick Greene, is based in Greater Boston and is a founding member of the Fifth Floor Collective.
Diana Rosenblum, Portland, OR
Mosaic – A recent M.M. graduate from University of Oregon, D.C.-born Diana Rosenblum holds her B.A. from Princeton in Philosophy. Accordingly, grammatical logic coexists alongside imagination in her music. Square yet spry, Mosaic forms a composite image out of melodic nuggets as they undergo motivic development. Long-spanning phrases defy time-constraint.
Anne-Marie Turcotte, Milan, Italy
L’écrevisse (The Lobster) – This miniature was inspired by a poem by Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918), in which human behavior is defined through descriptions of animal behavior. Born in Milan, Turcotte attended the “G. Verdi” Conservatoire and has served as Professor of Harmony and Counterpoint at Conservatoires of Verona, Bari, Cuneo, Roma, Avellino, Milano, Palermo and Pesaro. Her compositions have been awarded international and national prizes.
Chris Neiner, Burnsville, MN
Toy Chest – This piece depicts a child discovering sparkling, metallic toys. Neiner’s music has been performed by ensembles throughout Minnesota and the greater Midwest, and he has been commissioned by the Cochran Chamber Commissioning Project, a Midwest high school and collegiate consortium. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music in horn performance and composition at Indiana University.
D. Edward Davis, Amherst, MA/Durham, NC
soft paths – “This work reflects my enduring interest in gradual change and coincidence. Phrases expand and contract, overlapping in shifting constellations of sound. Gaps in the texture allow the sounds of the performance space to emerge.”
Christos Farmakis, Copenhagen, Denmark
Swamp – “I’ve always been very fond of the beauty of static or slowly progressing music. The tones have enough time to sound, to be heard and enjoyed, while creating a soundscape, where the listener can build a story around it. A ‘swamp’ is, in the same way, one of nature’s ‘beauties’, in its own stagnant, yet organic state, with exciting life around it.”
Joshua Hahn, Somerville, MA
Ricochet – “I find short sounds fascinating, and wonderfully complex. I think of each one as a piece all on its own, and the complete forty-odd seconds as a kind of floral arrangement.” Hahn is a composer and flutist who also improvises and works with electronics.
Raphael Atlas, Northampton, MA
Gnossiesque – This piece is an homage to Satie’s eponymous piano pieces. Here some standard roles are reversed: the violin plays sustained fifths characteristic of horns, and the horn takes the lyrical cantilena often claimed by the violin. Atlas currently teaches at Smith College.
Ed Fogaça, Tatuí, São Paulo, Brazil
Mudo Tudo – This piece incorporates elements of “samba” and “choro” – both musical genres of Brazilian popular music. Fogaça, a graduate in Education and Academic Administration, studied saxophone and composition at the Conservatory Dr. Carlos de Campos (Brazil). As a conductor, recording musician, arranger, and composer, he is wholly dedicated to Brazilian folk music.
Background and Reflection
Last fall, The Red Hedgehog Trio was in conversation with Ghazi Kazmi at the Whitney Center for the Arts in Pittsfield, MA regarding a possible concert in early 2015. When he suggested we steer our program idea to fit into the theme of Pittsfield’s “10 by 10” festival, our first thought was to perform ten pieces by ten different composers. A cool, straightforward idea, except for that fact that a concert of ten existing horn trios (a notoriously intense repertoire) would end up lasting most of a day and would exhaust us as well as our audience.
So we turned to the creative community for help. In mid-November, we sent out an open call for new miniature works for horn trio: under two minutes in length. We asked for works of all styles from people of all ages, professions, and locales. We personally invited friends to participate, sent the call to our alma maters and nearby music schools, and put the call up on several online composers’ forums. We spread the word and then headed into the holiday season, hoping we might end up with a sizable, high-quality pool of submissions from which to pull a complementary, performable ten.
By our January 15th deadline, we had 130 entries. As this was the first time any of us have been on the adjudicating side of such proceedings, we weren’t sure if this was an extraordinary turn-out or not. It sure seemed so to us. We really didn’t have time to reflect on this question, because we needed to dive immediately into the tasks of printing, sight-reading, and determining our winning set.
Since the day we sent out the call for scores, we had been looking forward to the mini-score reading sessions. It was, indeed, a fascinating process. Over the course of thirty-plus hours, we read through works from five of the six inhabited continents, works of the avant-garde, folk, jazz genres, genre-defying and fusion music, music from people of all ages: established composers to hobbyists to students. Throughout these sessions, we learned a great deal about the compositional possibilities and limitations of our unusual instrumentation. We also learned a lot about each other: though the three of us share a great deal of musical common ground, throughout this process we each revealed distinct personal tastes, sensitivities, and convictions.
While the reading task provided satisfying intellectual, social, and physical exercise for our ensemble, the task of deciding the results of the contest was taxing to our spirits. As emerging artists trying to make things happen in our competitive arts economy, we are accustomed to our résumés, auditions, and grant applications landing in the rejection pile. Because of this, the task of saying “no” to 120 of our fellow artists’ work was an emotionally draining experience for us. We sincerely hope all participating composers derived or will soon derive some other meaningful, long-lasting reward from their involvement in this process. Perhaps their work on their submission was a friendly entry point into writing for the horn, a fabulously beautiful but confounding instrument. Perhaps their work will serve as the seed of an idea for a new, more expansive creative project. Also very likely: their music will provide fuel for collaboration with other performers.
We are sincerely thankful for every composer’s participation, and we wish everyone a new year full of satisfying, fruitful composing, performing, and listening!
– Marji Gere, January 28, 2015