The International Double Reed Society and Circles and Lines Present New Music for Double Reeds


Composer collective Circles and Lines teams up with the International Double Reed Society for an evening of music featuring virtuosi of the double reed world. C + L celebrates five years of concerts with commissions for The New York Philharmonic’s Rob Botti, ICE’s Rebekah Heller, contemporary star soloist Jacqueline LeClaire, Ensemble ACJW’s Brad Balliet, Alarm Will Sound’s Gina Cuffari and Christa Robinson, and Talea’s Adrian Morejon at SubCulture New Music Venue and underground bar. The program features five world premieres of pieces by C + L composers Angélica Negrón, Conrad Winslow, Noam Faingold, Dylan Glatthorn and Eric Lemmon, fifteen minute-long world premieres written for Robert Botti, as well as works by Marcos Balter, Edgar Guzman, and Ernst Krenek.  The evening will present two sets of the composers’ pieces, plus a third, late ‘open’ set featuring improvisations, works for electronics and other works programmed by the performers.

SubCulture 45 Bleecker St. – Downstairs.
Wednesday August 6th, 2014

Set I (Door at 6:00, Concert at 6:30):
Sonatina by Ernst Krenek
All This Talk of Saving Souls by Eric Lemmon
Fifteen Minutes of Fame for Vox Novus
Breaking the Surface by Noam Faingold
Unearth by Dylan Glatthorn
Tone Riddles by Conrad Winslow
Stereogram by Angélica Negrón

Set II (Door at 8:00, Concert at 8:30):
∞¿? by Edgar Guzman
All This Talk of Saving Souls by Eric Lemmon
and also a fountain… by Marcos Balter
Tone Riddles by Conrad Winslow
Three Caprices by Brad Balliet
Unearth by Dylan Glatthorn
Breaking the Surface By Noam Faingold
Stereogram by Angélica Negrón

Set III (Door at 10:00, Concert at 10:30):
Following by Dai Fujikura for solo bassoon (world premiere)
Qualia II by Marcelo Toledo for bassoon and tape
On speaking a hundred names by Nathan Davis for bassoon and live processing
Press Release by David Lang
New Work by Sunny Knable for bassoon/voice
Three Caprices (solo bassoon) – written and performed by Brad Balliett
Matt Sullivan/Paul McCandless – oboe improv
Following by Dai Fujikura for solo Bassoon


I Should Refer My Older/Adult Students to This Article When We’re Working on Bow Technique!


The conditions for minimum and maximum bow force can tell us something interesting about the difficulty of playing the violin. When a simple analysis is done of these two conditions, it turns out that they both depend, among other things, on the position of the bow on the string. Suppose the length of the string is $L$, and that the bow is applied a distance $\beta L$from the bridge, where $\beta $ is usually a rather small number for normal violin playing. Then it can be shown that the maximum bow force is proportional to $\beta ^{-1}$, while the minimum bow force is proportional to $\beta ^{-2}$. These two conditions can be combined in a graphical form first suggested by John Schelleng in the 1960s. It is most convenient to plot the bow force $N$ and the bow position $\beta $ on logarithmic scales, so that the two power-law relations become straight lines. The diagram then looks schematically like this:

Drum Samples n’ Triggers

Drum Tracks n' Triggers

IDRS 2014 Equipment


Slides from University of Miami Lecture on Being A Young Composer


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Me Performing Bruch’s Romanze for Viola and Orchestra

Thy Blog Lay Fallow Round 2

Doing doctoral auditions. Should have a post of shameless personal promotion once I receive recordings of my performance of the Bruch Romanze with The Chelsea Symphony

Album Review Go: Organic Orchestra, Sonic Mandala

Album Cover

Jazz musician, composer and conductor Adam Rudolph’s latest album is a widely varied work that does justice to its own title. Sonic Mandala takes listeners on a journey ranging from free jazz, to north Indian tabla music, using instruments from many different styles and cultures. In a general sense, the most impressive aspect of the whole album is how Mr. Rudolph uses instruments that are not ‘of’ a style or genre of music, to create the pastiche that has been melded together from instruments at hand. By doing this, he creates a sound world that reflects instrumentation and players that he does not have.

The album itself jumps between sections that are alternately almost entirely composed jazz or world music pieces, to more openly improvised tracks that situate themselves nicely over a structured rhythmic section, to parts that sound almost like free jazz.

On my first listen through of the album, I found that the work’s focus on returning to the music of the first track was interesting, but structurally predictable. Initially, I questioned the choice entirely on the aesthetics of the return, as I felt that in the return to the primary material, a more apparent change should have occurred. But as I worked through the thick of the middle sections on re-listens, I found that the return was satisfying, and after reading the liner notes to the album and other descriptions about the work by Mr. Rudolph, the structure also made conceptual sense.

From the composer himself:

“The idea of a sonic mandala came to me because of the circularity I heard, felt and understood in many music cultures. As pattern-based music orbits around and around it becomes a call. It’s a call to center into the collective state of the moment…”

“Contemplation of a mandala returns us from the illusion of individual existence into a way of living in resonance with the wholeness of nature. In music we can call this practice Sonic Mandala. In it we generate ostinatos of circularity that play in a synchronized sound weaving of space and motion…”

The aesthetic stasis of these two outer movements (and the extended, three track, central movement, Part VII) were what I found to be the most fascinating. The textural, sonic, color tracks that make up the body of the rest of album remind me more of the space-time music of indeterminate or totally serial composers, where moments in music act as objects to be considered and then related.

With these outer movements and Part VII, Mr. Rudolph got in touch with his rhetorical side, where a line develops, and the fantastic rhythmic section takes us along on a journey that our ears can sit in with relaxed pleasure.

This is Your Brain on Music

Now that I’m done with Mr. Sacks, I’ve moved on to Levitin’s This is Your Brain on Music. While Musicophelia was much more focused on anecdotal discussions of evidence, Levitin gets much deeper into details of music theory and research. In a way, this was the book I was hoping to read when I picked up Musicophilia .

Here are some quotes of note that I’ve already found:

For the artist, the goal of the painting or musical composition is not to convey literal truth, but an aspect of universal truth that if successful, will continue to move and to touch people even as contexts, societies, and cultures change. (5)

Hey! More Heideggerian ontology, this guy is everywhere when it comes to art philosophy.

Rhythm, Meter, and tempo are related concepts that are often confused with one another. Briefly, rhythm refers to the lengths of notes… (57)

Hmmm. I think this is duration. Rhythm is more of a super structure that includes duration, meter and tempo. Levitin gets a little closer to the correct definition in the next paragraph:

The relationship between the length of one note and another is what we call rhythm…(58)

A little better, but still nebulous.

Review of BAM Lotus Viola Case

About a year ago, I decided to ditch the case that I got along with my new instrument and get a nice shiny new BAM case.  The previous two cases I had owned were these massive tanks of cases, made out of wood and kevlar, had poor straps and were as heavy as an M1 Abrams.  When I first looked into the BAM Lotus cases there were a ton of features about it that I really liked.

  • I thought the kevlar coating would protect the exterior of the case from all the unsightly scarring of the fiberglass you see on many of the straight hard-shelled BAM cases.
  • It had a huge exterior pocket for sheet music.
  • It had a smaller exterior pocket for easy access to a chromatic tuner, or some pencils
  • On the interior, it had 4 slots for bows, plenty of room for my rather large Bon Musica shoulder rest, and a pencil case that could easily fit any other extra accessories I needed in my day to day playing.

What I didn’t know was that the case is pretty shoddily made and one of the ‘features’ of the case (which I didn’t mention above) scratched up the surface of my instrument.

When I first purchased this case, I lived in Miami and had a car, so the case didn’t get much wear and tear at all.  It was either at home, in my car, or at University of Miami where I was getting an Artist Diploma.  Most noticeably, the first thing to break down with this case, were the feet on the back of the instrument like the picture below.


As you can see on the right hand side, there are four holes in the back of the case.  Here used to reside the “feet” for the back of case, which looked similar to the feet you can see on the far left of the image which the straps are attached too.  When they initially fell off.  I thought that perhaps, I had been a little careless about taking the case out of the car and putting it back in so that it tore at the feet in an awkward manner and caused them to be pulled out.  This was not the case though, as you will see in a moment when I discuss the ‘Subway Standing Feet’.


Here on the bottom left you can see my last remaining subway foot, which I kind of wish would just fall off at this point since I can’t balance it standing up  while on the subway anymore.  It’s hard to see, but there are three other screw holes in the canvas of the case where the other subway feet used to be and have since fallen off.

Now, back to my thinking that the case was just getting abnormal wear and tear from my carelessness or freak bad luck.  The case was still under warranty at the end of my Artist Diploma, so when I moved back to New York City, I took my case out to the BAM warehouse in Jersey.  At that point I had lost only one of the feet on the back of the case, and two of the feet for the ‘subway stand’.  The customer service was great, they took it in and fixed that same afternoon, so there is no knock on them for that.  But after it was fixed up, all of these same things started falling off again from standard use.  I was not tossing my case around (the thought of doing so with my precious viola inside sends a shiver down my spine), or exposing it to terrible elements.  Because of this, I think that the anchors for all of the feet were just really weak.  Ultimately, it’s not a huge deal, because the integrity of the case is still good, but it’s annoying to have the feet not protecting the shell of the case on these two sides.

These weren’t the only parts that degraded over time though.  On the inside of the case, the mechanism for changing the size of the harness for the instrument is velcro.  Looking below, I am lifting up the harness to display the degradation of the case, but you can see that the harness is velcro’d to to a strip that is supposed to be super-glued to the bottom of the shell.  You pick up the harness and move it around, sticking it back to the velcro strip on the bottom to make room for larger or smaller bodied instruments.  All in all, a pretty cool mechanism, until the strip on the bottom falls off and there’s nothing holding the instrument in the harness anymore.  Now, I wasn’t tearing at the velcro with the harness, I wasn’t moving it at all as I only keep this one instrument in the case.  In fact, all that happened was I opened up my case to find the velcro strip on the bottom of the case had fallen off one day and no longer wanted to cooperate in keeping my viola safe.  I have tried repairing this myself to varying degrees of success.  The ultimate solution would be some sort of stitching rather than various adhesives.


These issues are ones that are extremely annoying, but they can be coped with. One final thing about the design of the case cannot though.  When I first bought the case it came with a tube for holding fresh sets of strings.  It also used a velcro system of attachment, but was connected around the hinges of the case as you can see below.


As you can see the ‘scratchy’ part of the velcro is attached to the string holder.  So when you close the case, it can actually scratch up against the front of the body of the instrument!!!!!!!  I had no idea how my instrument was getting dinged up at first (I don’t hold my extra strings in these tubes), but once I found out I immediately took the tube out.  Thankfully, my maker operates out of New York City and was able to get my instrument touched up.

These are some serious design flaws from what most people consider to be the case makers who “Get It”, and I think that I’ll probably be letting other musicians test drive new BAM designed cases before buying another one.