This semester is already going full steam ahead. Today I presented my monologue for my Collaboration seminar. I sacrificed some of my intended performance elements – percussion and song – to focus on my texts and saxophone improvisation. My preparation process led me to revisit some old pieces of short writing I’d done – mostly for blogs – and to polish some new ones, with the idea that I could incorporate indeterminacy or the concept of “mobile” form into my presentation. I opted to talk about a series of topics of interest to me, including some things about myself that were probably worth sharing in this context, rather than spend a lot of time focusing on my work. I had the idea to prepare one-page essay topics and then shuffle them, determining an order at the moment of presentation. I placed the pages face down on a table and, since there were ten, I asked my class to give me a number from 1-10 so I could choose what to start with and, later, how to proceed. I began with a short improvisation and interpolated another one after my first page. I’m now thinking about how I can expand my approach to this mini lecture-recital format and what sort of venues or contexts I might be able to present in. I like the idea that each presentation will be different with the same core material, which I will gradually expand. I have ideas for interactive components or creative group activities as well as incorporating random text elements such as news items, scientific facts, quotes, etc. These presentations are intended to be thought-provoking, artful and entertaining and primarily centered around the theme of creativity.
We sorted out our first collaboration partnerships today as well. I’m excited to be working with Marcelo, an MFA student from Brazil who works with music and video, and Neil who is a 4th-year undergraduate Theatre Production major with extensive experience in design and other visual art. We had a brief meeting after class and Marcelo seems keen on incorporating “VJ-ing” – his main current interest – into our project. He also mentioned his interest in exploring narrative. Neil mentioned cultural blending as a key component potentially. I have an idea for a project that I just came up with last night, which I will pitch to them at some point tomorrow. We’ll have our first production meeting on Wednesday afternoon. We have to go hard because we are one of the first presenters on February 1st, only two weeks away!
Other important and super exciting project I’m working on is an art song for my composition seminar. I’m setting Sylvia Plath’s poem “Words” and the instrumentation is mezzo-soprano, viola and piano. I’ll probably do 2-3 Plath songs this semester depending on length. I’ve only ever done one other art song and that was my second composition project of my first composition course way back in my undergrad.
I’m dabbling with another piece called “Coltrane’s Ghost” for my improv group but I’ll probably only be able to work on this on a very sporadic basis. I also have to polish one of my current solo saxophone projects for a premiere at the upcoming Student Composer Symposium on January 29th!
So why am I writing in this blog now and not off composing? Very good question.