This week, we continue profiling and former UB composers and alum who are working on a variety of exciting musical projects.
Evan Johnson's music has always focused on "extremes of density and of reticence, of difficulty and of sparsity, and on hiding itself. This aesthetic of microscopic focus on the faint and fragmentary, exploiting complex sonic peripheries and exploring the musical minuscule in great detail has led The Telegraph to praise his ability to "[conjure] a Beckett-like eloquence from stammers and silences."
This can be heard in one of Johnson's most recent works, my pouert and goyng ouer, for baritone voice, bass clarinet, trumpet and trombone. The work, premiered last year by New York's Loadbang (who the Center is excited to host for a residency next month), bears an aphoristic program note which, at once, emphasizes its nervously introverted quietude while belying its complexity:
Badly lit, interiorized, atomized, fragmentary, mumbled, private and unclear: focused intently on the minor detail and on marginal, intermittently audible pressures.
Notated in Johnson's characteristic calligraphic notation, the piece hints at a gorgeously intricate sound world just out of the listener's reach, a labyrinthine flicker of nervous shadows on a cave wall.
Johnson graduated from the PhD program in 2006, and his music has been programmed by an impressive number of internationally-acclaimed ensembles since then, including past/future Center-guests the Mivos Quartet, Dal Niente, and Ensemble SurPlus, among many others, and his work has been heard at several festivals including Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik, Klangwerkstatt Berlin, Dark Music Days, June in Buffalo, and the Darmstadt Summer Courses (at which he was the recipient of a 2012 Fellowship Prize).
Some of the composer's most recent works include indolentiae ars, a medium to be kept, for eighteenth-century basset clarinet, which will be premiered by Musikfabrik's Carl Rosman early next year in Cologne, and the evocatively-titled three reversed movements, to bring destroyed objects back to life, which was premiered by pianist Michael Finnissy last summer. Johnson describes the latter as, "A small set of motions, extremely, painfully private, miniature rituals."
|Evan Johnson, emoi|
Once Emerged from
the Grey of Night
Some of Elisha's recent honors include her 2009 Herrenhaus Composer Residency in Edenkoben, Germany (more about that here), a 2011 Outer Cape Cod Artist's Residency, and fellowships from the 2011 Wellesley Composers Conference (Mario Davidovsky, director) and the MacDowell Colony. Her works often feature a density of gesture and counterpoint, an often ferocious intensity which is even evident in solo compositions. For example, listen to Inner Voices for solo viola, a work the composer will perform next month in Switzerland:
|Rochester City Ballet rehearses InCantation|
Congrats to Evan and Adrienne for all their accomplishments and upcoming projects! We're eagerly looking forward to what they come up with next!