We’re in the thick of our Intensive Arts session right now: two weeks when classes are suspended so we can focus on creative projects. Tonight a bash of new music for saxophone, including my Sparkling in the Dark. On Monday we’ll have an improv session – 65 musicians going who knows where for 90 minutes. Tuesday night is the percussion ensemble show. On Wednesday we’ll spend two hours looking at everything the clarinet has done over the last hundred or so years, with clarinetto primo Oskar Espina-Ruiz as our guide. And every day has Dance-a-Day sessions, wherein composers and choreographers are matched up for two hours to create a new collaborative work each day.
We’re also taking this time to immerse ourselves in the music of Gabriel Kahane. This past week, students gave presentations on two of his major works to date: his piano sonata and his epic orchestral song cycle Crane Palimpsest. Kahane’s particular blend of pop and classical influences sparked thoughtful and avid discussion. I posed the question of “what is taboo in this music?” to which one student responded that this is a composer who just goes for whatever interests him rather than avoiding things that might seem inappropriate.
On Tuesday we’ll have Kahane Skyped in for some face-time with composers and other interested musicians. Looking forward.
And here’s a big hay-low to the courageous doctoral students at Florida State who are tackling Furies and Muses, my 30-minute work for bassoon and strings, tonight.