Posts Tagged ‘quatuor bozzini’

The Surrender of Singapore to the Japanese in World War II

Like most composers, I absorbed certain widely accepted musical axioms from my university studies, but they’ve never been entirely satisfying. As a consequence, I constantly search for better explanations, in the process hopefully becoming a better artist. One of the issues I’m increasingly focusing on is how music history is interpreted. Although I have previously argued for an enhanced role for music history in composer education, I also think we need to re-examine how we use (and abuse) that history. In my own practice, letting go of false history-based causative associations, what I see as a kind of compositional historicism, has paid creative dividends. (more…)


  • Instrumentation: vln, vln, vla, vc
  • Duration: 9'00
  • Performers:Quatuor Bozzini
  • Written for the Quatuor Bozzini

Program Notes

Written for the Quatuor Bozzini, the title of this piece can be loosely translated as “To go around oneself, to conform oneself”. Those concepts play a role in the musical material on several different levels: harmonic material, rhythmic structure, form, the push and pull of musical tradition, the choices the performers have to make, and so forth. My goal was to work in the space on the edge of comfort, where there is enough familiarity for both performers and audience to get into the piece, but also a strong musical challenge that pushes us to the “transcendence” experience that I seek in music.

In this piece, I return to predominantly quartertonal harmonies for the first time in a few years. However, the harmonic framework also fits loosely into G-sharp minor/B major. The intent, like in much of my microtonal work, is that the quartertones go largely unnoticed by the casual listener. I build up a type of pseudo-Renaissance structure, transparent and smooth, using quartertones not to approximate just intonation, but rather to create a sort of “what-if”, alternate-reality harmonic system.

Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur
100, rue Sherbrooke Est [métro Sherbrooke + autobus 24 Ouest / métro Saint-Laurent + autobus 55 Nord] Montréal, Canada
Tickets available at the door.

The Montréal-based Quatuor Bozzini performs a new work of mine for string quartet, written for the 2011 Composers Kitchen programme.

Apr 2011
Quatuor Bozzini Composers Kitchen
Montréal, Canada
Workshop and residency with the string quartet. Development and performance of new work.
Jan–Mar 2010
JUNO Awards, Classical Composition of the Year Category
Sep 2009–present
Consultant and Web Writer
San Francisco Contemporary Music Players
Developing and implementing strategies for audience building. Involving graduate students from San Francisco–area music departments in volunteer publicity activities for the ensemble. Writing interviews.
Jul 2009
Composition Fellow
Chamber Music Conference and Composers’ Forum of the East
Bennington VT, USA
By invitation. Duties include composing a work for amateur musicians and coaching the ensemble.
Feb 2009
orkest de ereprijs Young Composers Meeting
Apeldoorn, the Netherlands
Winner of the 2009 competition. Wrote a piece for the ensemble, participated in masterclasses.
Artistic Director
Recycled 80s Live
Conceived and organized the creation of a concert-length, amplified piece for nightclubs based on quotations of ‘80s pop songs, including composition of the score, hiring of musicians, arranging for performances, and creating audio–video support materials.
Nov–Dec 2009
Banff Centre Fall Creative Music Residency
Banff, Canada
Sep–Dec 2007
Koninklijk Conservatorium Residency
the Hague, the Netherlands
Professional development residency and composition masterclasses with Martijn Padding.
Aug 2007
Domaine Forget Academy New Music Seminar
St-Irénée QC, Canada
Participated in masterclasses. Rehearsals and performance with the Nouvel ensemble moderne.
Feb 2007
Arditti Quartet Residency, UC San Diego Visiting Artist Program
San Diego, USA
Composed a piece for the Arditti Quartet. Rehearsals, recording, and masterclasses with the quartet.
Teaching Assistant
University of California, San Diego
Preparation: Three-month, intensive pedagogy seminar on teaching critical reading and writing to undergraduates.
Duties: Attending lectures and meetings with professors, creating lesson plans based on course reading, teaching classes, holding office hours, helping students develop research papers, and grading written assignments and exams.
Classes Taught: (Music) MUS1B Music Theory, MUS12 Intro to Opera, MUS4 Introduction to Western Music History, LTEN159 Popular Music of the ‘60s; (World Literature) MMW2 The Great Classical Traditions, MMW3 The Medieval Heritage.
Composer in Residence
Ensemble contemporain de Montréal Génération 2006
Montréal, Canada
Wrote a piece for the ensemble, gave a masterclass on my music at the École de musique Vincent d’Indy, rehearsals with student musicians, workshop and rehearsals with the ensemble, cross-Canada tour.
Aug 2005
Tapestry New Opera Works Composer–Librettist Laboratory
Toronto, Canada
Composition of four short opera scenes with four librettists, daily masterclasses and discussions, rehearsals with performers, performances.
Sep 2004–Jan 2005
University of Toronto Contemporary Opera Showcase Programme
Toronto, Canada
Only undergraduate student invited to participate. Wrote a chamber opera for U of T students, rehearsed with the singers and ensemble, held meetings with the music director.
Spring 2004
Artistic Director, Organizer
University of Toronto – Harvard Composition Exchange
Organized a student-run exchange between composition students at both universities. Curated a concert of student works.
Spring 2004
Artistic Director, Organizer
Curated a concert of new music for saxophone in Toronto. Responsible for finding performers, composing a new piece, making programming decisions for other repertoire, and publicizing the concert.
Summer 2002
Artistic Director, Organizer
Curated a concert of new music for student composers at the University of Alberta. Responsible for finding performers, composing a new piece, making programming decisions for other repertoire, and publicizing the concert.
Private music instructor in percussion, composition, music theory, and history.