Composer + Performer Project

T@MS presents a program of multi-talented composers performing their own works. This program features musicians who combine the art of performance with composition, creating a palpable link between inspiration and interpretation.

The program features music by Adam Borecki, Nick Deyoe, Colin Horrocks, Zaq Kenefick, Mark Menzies, Alex Miller, Vicki Ray, Brin Solomon, & Andrew Tholl.

PROGRAM

Colin Horrocks - The Light Gleams an Instant
saxophone and electronics

Andrew Tholl - ...still trying to make ends meet...
solo violin

Brin Solomon - "Allegory" from Rotational Games
 Brin Solomon, bassoon
 Clare Yeo, piano

Nick Deyoe & Ted Byrnes - Improvisation
guitar and percussion

 - intermission -

Vicki Ray - Before Summer Rain
voice and electronics

Mark Menzies - 2 Whimsey 
solo violin

Zaq Kenefick - bridges no. one

 Elizabeth Chavez, fiddle
 Glen Gray, mandolin
 Zaq Kenefick, banjo
 Jake Abernathie, guitar
 Marc Encabo, bass
 

Adam Borecki - Unfold
microtonally tuned guitar 

Alex Miller - To Oblivion, part 1
electric guitar, electronics, and projection

 

 

About the Composer / Performers
...still trying to make ends meet... (2006/2009) — Andrew Tholl
...still trying to make ends meet... is the first piece I wrote after deciding to start referring to myself as a composer (rather than just a performer), and the piece is very much about my internal struggle over how I defined myself at that time. Over the years that I have been performing the work, the piece has evolved, in both the way I play it
and the way I think about it. From a playing perspective, I work my way though the material much faster than
I used to (many sections are of open duration) and play much more aggressively. In early performances, there was much more time for contemplation and rest. From a philosophical standpoint, I now view the piece as being much more about the constant struggle to find balance in my day to day life. I also think that this work will continue to change in the future, and may never actually reach final point of completion.
— Andrew Tholl
Andrew Tholl is a Los Angeles–based composer, violinist, drummer, and improviser. Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as “vigorously virtuosic”, his performances and compositions have been heard throughout the United States and Europe. As a soloist and chamber musician he is dedicated to the performance of new music and the collaborative process between composer and performer. He is a co-founder of the “superb” (Los Angeles Times) Formalist Quartet, an ensemble dedicated to the performance of adventurous new repertoire by both established and emerging composers. Tholl is also a member of wild Up, for which he serves as violinist, composer, and personnel manager. As a composer, Tholl’s interest lies in the exploration of the passage of time, the physicality of making music, noise, nostalgia, memory, and the synthesis of diverse musical styles. He has been commissioned by wild Up, Gnarwhallaby, the New Century Players, Machine Project, and more. His works have been heard at Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles), Dartington International Summer Festival (England), Complice (Berlin), Beyond Baroque (Los Angeles), Princeton University (New Jersey), Listen/Space (New York), Gridlock (Vancouver), CNMAT (Berkeley), and the Hammer Museum (Los Angeles). In 2013 his violin concerto, Asphyxiation, was featured at REDCAT (and performed by Tholl), as part of VLN & VLA, a concert presenting new and older works for violin and viola. More recently, the performance of his adaptation of John Adams’s American Standard was described as “a refreshingly juvenile Ivesian death march” (New Music Box). Aside from his work as a “classical” musician and composer, Tholl maintains a second musical life performing pop, rock, punk, noise and improvisational music as a violinist and drummer. Past contributions include string performances and arrangements for Julia Holter’s Loud City Song and Have You in My Wilderness, as well as Ducktails’s St. Catherine. His most recent release, CONDITIONAL TENSION, an album of improvisational work with the trio tholl/fogel/hoff, was released by Populist Records (which he co-owns and operates). Tholl holds degrees from Arizona State University, the University of Michigan, and the California Institute of the Arts and is on faculty at the Pasadena Waldorf School, Moorpark College, and Ventura College. He lives in Los Angeles, where he continues to be involved with music for concert halls, art galleries, films, puppet shows, bars, garages, bedrooms, and coat closets. More info can be found at: www.andrewtholl.com
Rotational Games: II. Allegory (2015) — Brin Solomon
My sonata, Rotational Games, is an exploration of musical forms that twist, vary, and recur. The “Allegory” is a wild, escapist fantasy sandwiched between two darker movements, and presents a vision that the rest of the piece tries (and ultimately fails) to achieve. With hints of an out-of-the way basement jazz club, the movement gives us two passes at a musical parable. The first time thru, we only get the surface meaning of the story, and the music fizzles out in confusion. The next time, however, we've cottoned on to the allegory’s hidden meaning, and the movement blossoms into a radiant celebration of hidden knowledge.
— Brin SolomonBrin Solomon is a Los Angeles–based bassoonist and composer with an interest in music theatre. A recent graduate from Yale University — where they studied with Joshua Rosenblum and Kathryn Alexander, among others — they write music full of metric vigor, open harmonies, and flowing, lyrical melodies. Their original full–length musical, Window Full of Moths, has been praised by reviewers for its “extraordinary soul stirring songs” that “add magic to otherwise common lives”. They are an active believer in the ideal of the performer–composer, and recently gave the première of their bassoon sonata, Rotational Games in the fall of 2015. Their works have been performed by the Yale Concert Band, the Harkness Tower Guild of Carillonneurs, and members of Chicago’s Fifth House Ensemble, among others. They currently work as an assistant to Michael Feinstein, and have arranged several American standards for Mr Feinstein to sing in concert at Carnegie Hall. In the fall of 2016, they will be enrolling in the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at NYU/Tisch.

4/5/16 (2016) — Nicholas Deyoe and Ted Byrnes
The Byrnes/Deyoe duo is focused on high-density improvisations using guitars, drums, bells, and beer cans.
Nicholas Deyoe is a Los Angeles–based composer, conductor, and guitarist, and is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the wasteLAnd concert series. His music has been called “intriguingly complex and excitedly lush” by the LA Times. Drawn to sounds that are inherently physical, Nicholas strives to create music that engages listeners intellectually and emotionally by appealing to their inner physicality. His compositions combine uses of noise, delicacy, drama, fantasy, brutality, and lyricism to create a diverse sonic experience. As a guitarist, Nicholas strives to further the already vast sound world of the electric guitar by experimenting with microtonal tunings, preparation, bows, and beer cans. He has received commissions from Carnegie Hall, USINESONORE Festival, the La Jolla Symphony, Palimpsest, and several soloists. His music has been performed in throughout North America, Europe, and Japan. As a conductor, Nicholas has performed with the La Jolla Symphony Orchestra, Red Fish Blue Fish, Ensemble Ascolta, the Darmstadt Preisträgerensemble, Noise, the University of Northern Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and many ad-hoc ensembles in the United States and Germany. He holds a PhD in composition from UC San Diego, where he studied with Roger Reynolds. Deyoe’s compositions and improvisations can be heard on Sono Luminus, Populist, Spektral, Khajila, and Eh? Records.Ted Byrnes is a drummer/percussionist living in Los Angeles. An alumnus of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, he comes from a jazz background and has since made his home in the worlds of free improvisation, new music, electro-acoustic music, and noise. Ted primarily works in ad-hoc improvisational settings, but has standing improvisational groups including: a group with Ulrich Krieger, a duo with Jeff Parker, a duo with Chris Cooper (AQH), a duo with Nicholas Deyoe, a duo with John Wiese, a duo with Scott Cazan, and a trio with Jacob Wick and Owen Stewart-Robertson, among others. Additionally, Ted has played in duo, trio, or ensemble settings with: Mazen Kerbaj, David Watson, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten, Charlemagne Palestine, Alfred 23 Harth, Tim Perkis, Jaap Blonk, Torsten Muller, Kim Myhr, Jim Denley, Lloyd Honeybrook, Chris Schlarb, Mike Watt, Paul Masvidal, the LAFMS (including Smegma, Airway, Ace Farren Ford’s Artificial Art Ensemble, Rick and Joe Potts, Fredrik Nilsen, Tom Recchion, and Vetza, etc), Sissy Spacek (the band), Maher Shalal Hash Baz, and more. Ted has also collaborated with or worked for a variety of visual artists: he has accompanied a Doug Aitken “happening”, collaborated with Olivia Booth to play her glass artworks, collaborated with Dani Tull on a sound performance, performed with John Knuth and Bret Nicely at an installation in an empty pool, and has performed for FLUXUS artist Jeff Perkins on multiple occasions for his projector/light installations. Currently, Ted is delving further into the possibilities and realities of solo drumset performance in addition to continuing to work with his existing projects.

Before Summer Rain (2015) — Vicki Ray
Before Summer Rain probes the experience of childhood fears and the vague feeling of unease when one is alone in large house. The text, fractured and manipulated, is from the eponymous poem by Rainer Maria Rilke, while the backing track consists of a creaking harmonium, interior piano effects, and music boxes.
— Vicki Ray
Text by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Vicki Ray:

And just like that, something - you don’t know what -
has gone from all the green around you;
you feel it quietly creeping closer to the window.
From the trees nearby

a plover whistles, urgent and strong,
reminding you of Saint Jerome:
such passionate solitude in one voice
whose fierce request the downpour

will grant. The walls, with their ancient portraits,
glide away from us, as if
they were forbidden to hear what we are saying.

And reflected on the faded tapestries:
the chill uncertain light of those long
childhood hours when you were so afraid.

As a long time interpreter of contemporary music, Vicki Ray has more recently begun to compose and arrange pieces for piano, speaking pianist, piano and live electronics (including video), and small chamber ensemble. Her compositions have been performed by the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Brightwork, Musique 21, the California E.A.R. Unit, the Varied Trio, at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, and on the Piano Spheres series. She is humbled and grateful to be on the roster with tonight’s composers!
2 whimsey for violin ~ "siblings"  (2013) — Mark Menzies
In two quite differently lengthed sections, the sibling relationship is hopefully clear. Like in the case of sibling–related people, the personality and appearances in one are not necessarily “developed” in the mannerisms and habits of the relative, just a different personality with things in common.The piece is written and dedicated for a sibling pair who live in Paris — Hubert and Lilia Theurier — and it was there that I wrote the composition in the fall of 2013. The composition is in no way a portrait of these two friends, and the dedication is in thanks for a wonderful week I spent that fall renting their apartment in the heart of Paris. Lucky me… “siblings” was premiered in that apartment shortly after being finished.

One of the initiating sources of inspiration for “siblings” is the song “Hush Sweet Lover” written by k.d. lang for the film Even Cowgirls Get The Blues. Perhaps you can see where I am going with this: old terminology for gay (male) relationships and gay (female) relationships was itself the evocation of a taboo — described in sibling terms: brothers, or sisters. This manner of relationship documentation goes back to Medieval times and earlier. While I had no intentions of creating a piece to depict or evoke sociologically concatenated cultural complications, it was with pleasure the compositional process revealed an inherently ambiguous expressive intent on its materials, and what to do with them, that eventually has to find its out: somehow, someway.

— Mark Menzies
Residing in the United States since 1991, Mark Menzies has established an important, world–wide reputation as a violist, violinist, pianist, and conductor. He has been described in a Los Angeles Times review as an “extraordinary musician” and a “riveting violinist”. As a composer, Mark’s work has had performances in Europe, USA, Brazil, and New Zealand, with commissions notably from the LA–based wildUp ensemble and Ensemble Proton (Switzerland); in summer 2012, he was composer-in-residence at the Spiel festival in Austria for which he composed 11 works — titled 11 elegies and a love song — for the musicians and other artists (including the local cow population) participating in the festival. Recent premieres have included formatura for orchestra (in honor of James Tenney); swongering butterfly (also remembering Mort) for violin, clarinet and tape, with the tape part a collaboration with a composition of Brendan Byrnes, premiered at the Ensemble Sospeso “The Renaissance is Now” series in New York, spring 2012; and unrestrained ways at REDCAT’s LA Bassoons concerts in spring 2015.
bridges no. one (2016) — Zaq Kenefick
zaq kenefick: Once I played Reich's pendulum music, but my microphone was a little off center of my amplifier, the feedback kept (groaning) we couldn't stop until the Speakers were Still as i Sat onstage, i saw our audience- intellectuals and researchers- begin to cover their ears. torn between the appreciation of a giant in their field and the wall of oppressive noise. Do not tear down all of the concert halls Marinetti; I need them to yell in. I like to speak where the voice is just about to break - know that it could be broken with a gentle push, or be reigned in,. Watching sound, language and performance approach failure - and failure to communicate.

To...Oblivion, Part 1: Belmont Tunnel (2015) — Alexander Elliott Miller
To...Oblivion is a suite of pieces about historic landmarks around Los Angeles for solo electric guitar, electronics, and video projection. The electronics both provide environmental sounds and create an accompaniment by processing the live guitar part, and the video consists of a slideshow of then/now images of each of the landmarks. I have composed three movements of this suite so far, and would like to write an additional three this year, completing an album–length project. The movement you will hear tonight is the opening, “Belmont Tunnel”. The Belmont Tunnel was the first subway in Los Angeles, carrying the Red Cars one mile from 4th and Hill St underneath downtown traffic to a Westlake neighborhood just south of Echo Park near where 1st street turns into Beverly Blvd, before tracks diverged to various points north and west. Trains ran from the 1920’s through the 1950’s, with traffic peaking during WWII; the last subway car to pass through the tunnel in June of 1955 carried a banner reading “To….Oblivion”. The tunnel has been sealed off, but the retaining wall at its Westlake terminus still stands, next to the adjoining Toluca Substation. The site, for years a major attraction for graffiti artists, has since been fenced off and surrounded by luxury apartments. Other movements in this suite so far include one about the Dunbar Hotel, the hub of LA's mid–20th Century Jazz scene and the only hotel to accommodate African Americans, and another about the Zanja Madre, the first aqueduct constructed in the city by Spanish settlers in 1781.
— Alexander Elliott MillerAlexander Elliott Miller is a composer, guitarist, educator, and overall new music fan in Los Angeles. He is a frequent performer of his own compositions for guitar, and has collaborated with many artists, ensembles and concert series in LA and around the county, including What's Next? Ensemble, a group which he Co-Directs with Ben Phelps. He teaches music theory and composition at California State University Long Beach, and core music classes at Chapman University, where he recently initiated a songwriting class for non-music majors. He only recently bought his first high quality digital piano, of which his guitars are only a little suspicious, loves jazz, and has been on a strange, big kick for hard ciders in recent months.

Artists: