Upcoming Things that I am in

School for Designing a Society presents The Public Actor: Performance An intensive workshop in which we probe the idea that the way a person presents herself in everyday life can be looked at as a performance of the public actor. I will be co-presenting in this workshop.

Julie and Elizabeth’s Anti-Capitalist Concert Series presents Unentitled and Unrequited Two experimental music and theater performances composed by longtime teachers at SDaS Mark Enslin and Susan Parenti. I will be listening. And turning pages.

American Festival of Microtonal Music presents four concerts at Spectrum, April 12-15. I will be performing Hoprock for solo udderbot and improvising with Cristian Amigo.

So don’t be a stranger, c’mon over.

Sagittal Songbook Available Here!

So we’ll go this way eleven miles
or ninety to the mystery curve
Oh, we’re close to danger! but
by dark, the shine
will be off the deck.

Mystery Currrve

Over two millennia in the making, the release of the fledgling edition of the Sagittal Songbook is without question a major galactic event in the tiny universe of microtonal notation.

Sagittal, an elegant, elaborate system of arrow-shaped accidentals conceived by the gods and designed with the intent of enabling mortals to notate music in any imaginable variety of intonation, is put to the test against actual music in this book, which features 48 vocal pieces written by 15 different composers in tunings ranging from the benign 5-limit just intonation to the exotic Bohlen-Pierce scale.

“I wanted to see what a bunch of scores would look like in Sagittal,” says Jacob Barton, who compiled the book and composed six of the songs. “I also wanted to take some weight off people getting into xenharmonic music, to give it a friendly face.”

The Songbook includes everything from solos to full ensembles, from one-line mnemonics to full-blown arias and “spiral canons” which transpose indefinitely.

Click the button below to purchase an autographed book for $50 (plus tax and shipping). Or, visit this site to purchase a non-autographed book or set of 15 books with better shipping times.





Mark Enslin’s “Safety Nets II” for one-man band

In August 2010 I was asking several composers to write a piece for udderbot, often adding a twist to make the request personal and interesting. I requested Mark Enslin, longtime teacher at SDaS, student of Ben Johnston, John Zorn, and Herbert Brün, collaborator, composer and playwright, to write a piece for udderbot as part of a one-man band.

Hard as I had tried, I did not anticipate the corporeal onslaught that followed. By October, Enslin had produced a piece for 17 instruments—udderbot, trombone, umbrella, tambourine, hi hat, bass drum, guiro, cymbal between the knees, flipper, plastic jug, police whistle, train whistle, harmonica, candy wrapper, finger cymbals, poem,  52-tube tubulon, and a poem by Indigo Crespighi previously used for Safety Nets I of 17 Tone Piano Project fame. That performance, I garnered an applause simply in the act of walking onstage. I didn’t get very far; the tubulon was especially heavy, and all the rehearsal time had gone to constructing the outfit.

By January, Enslin had completed a color-coded score made in Microsoft Word—avoidance of standard notation programs is thematic in his work—and I set to work learning the off-kilter melodies and decoding the complex rhythms, even making a guide track. By my estimation, performing this piece is the hardest thing I have ever tried to do.  I don’t feel I have yet done it justice, yet I know that many of Mark’s pieces are foolproof in this peculiar way; no matter the impossibility of the score, the theatre of the attempt always fascinates.

The performance here is from a festival of Enslin’s work in September 2011. It is about the best I have managed to do…but I am far from finished with Safety Nets II.

Safety Nets II 9-17-11 from mark enslin on Vimeo.