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David Coll

Oakland, CA      

David Coll (b.1980) is a composer of concert music, installation art, and interdisciplinary projects that engage physical presence with technology to create works of dramatic, introspective, and often playful effect.

His work has been recognized through commissions, prizes, and awards from Milano Musica, NewMusicUSA, the Zellerbach Foundation, ISCM World Music Days, IRCAM, the Salvatore Martirano Foundation and Royaumont, among others.

Groups that perform his works in the USA include line upon line percussion, Ogni Suono saxophone duo, ICE, and Wild Rumpus; and abroad 2e2m, RepertorioZero, and Itinéraire. Soloists who have championed his work include Donatienne Michel-Dansac, Séverine Ballon, Lionel Peintre, and Mellissa Hughes.

David’s music has been featured at festivals including Gaudeamus (2005 & 2009), World Music Days, MATA, Voix Nouvelles, Tzlil Meudcan, and the New Music Gathering. It has been performed at venues including the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Éspace de Projection, the Piccolo Teatro, Roulette, the Mondavi Center, the Krannert Center, and the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ.

As an educator, David has lectured at institutions including MIT, Columbia College, and Washington University. He was a Visiting Professor at Hanyang University (Seoul, Korea) and this year is a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, with further education at IRCAM (Cursus and Cursus 2), the Orpheus Institute, and the University of Illinois. He has studied with Edmund Campion, Ken Ueno, Franck Bedrossian, Yan Maresz, Erik Ulman, and Jason Eckardt, and participated in master classes with composers Chaya Czernowin, Steven Takasugi, Brian Ferneyhough, Alvin Curran, Martin Bresnick, Mauro Lanza, Philippe Leroux, James Dillon, Luca Francesconi and Mathias Spahlinger.

Position, influence for soprano and sound sculpture

Mellissa Hughes, soprano. April 20th, 2012 at Roulette. MATA Festival.
– A position of influence, giving a speech
– An absence of message, yet a desire to persuade
– Electronic toys: a laryngophone and metal transducers
– Text: Charles De Gaulle (his response to May ’68 movement in Paris), followed with additional statements of growing desperation and changed tactics of an ill-fated attempt to win over an audience with a message that does not exist. In a word, this piece is absurd. However, it shows how speech can be deadly.

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Act, for soprano and 12 players

French Premiere. April 5th, 2015. Ensemble 2e2m. Pierre Roullier, dir. Shigeko Hata, sop.

Program Note:

Act is a work that is concerned with the way musical ideas are heard and seen, and how the form emerges from shifts in attention from one to the other. A theatre of relationships emerges in this musical context, whereupon each performer’s physical presence and sounds are weighed against poetic, spatial, technological and physiological circumstances.

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Ask, for two vocalizing saxophonists

‘Ask’ places its performers in an absurd intersection of identity and musical/theatrical performance, alternating in quick succession between speech and sound, and imposing various methods (text games, musical imitation, theatrical shtick, etc.) on the material. Schmaltzy soap opera meets hysterical debate; authoritative language, boardroom bureaucracy, sales pitches all overlap with a frenzy of musical articulation, creating a fun hybrid-like performance. ‘Ask’ is dedicated to Noa Even and Phil Pierick.

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