Geoff Gallegos (Double G)Los Angeles, CA
I am a mid-career composer/conductor/saxophonist living happily in the City of Angles. Sometimes I even hit the right angle. I spent a lot of time on the road before my son was born. This travel has given me lots of faith in the human species. I met lots of cool people, who, on the surface, would appear to be very different from each other. There has also been quite a few studio sessions along the way, usually involving arranging, conducting, and playing sax. In 1999, I co-founded daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra, which has developed into an L.A. institution among musicians. This group had it’s most recent concert in 2014, which was attended by 3,000 people. In 2008, I was a Montalvo Artist Fellow, and wrote a grip of string quartet music. For me, this was my musical black belt. As a Berklee graduate, I always had a heavier dosage of jazz, funk & hip hop. To explore the classical forms like symphony and string quartet required some independent study. In 2011, I doubled down and went to string octet. There really isn’t much literature out there for octet, which surprised me. Seems like a no-brainer, but then again, it’s taken a decade and a half for folks to understand a hip hop orchestra, Also, in 2011, I recorded all of the music I’d written for my jazz group, NineNet. In four sessions, we got 42 different pieces on wax. In 2014, I was commissioned by LA Opera to set music to a libretto written by Velina Hasu-Houston and Shishir Kurup. It was my first attempt at opera, and was met with success. This opera project is the reason I’m writing my New Music USA proposal. It’s supposed to debut in fall 2016.
String Quartet No. 2 “Montalvo”–MVT II–Gratitude Hymn
This is a movement from my 2008 String Quartet No. 2. It was inspired by a hike to the top of a hill at Montalvo Arts Center, when a rush of incredible gratitude washed over my soul. I did my best to translate that feeling of peace that I was given. It was beautifully performed by my friends in Sonus Quartet (all of whom have also played with daKAH).
Reapus II in A Minor–MVT II (excerpt)–Pisstissimo/Baptissimo/Sacristy
This recording is from daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra’s first studio album, “Unfinished Symphony”, which was produced using funds from the 2002 Durfee Artist Award. It was composed in 2001, and was in regular rotation at our shows in that time. It draws from a basic cumbia rhythm woven with a funk/rock element in the rhythm section, a big band vibe in the horns, some Russian composer influence in the strings, and the hip hop element of MC/DJ. There are about 60 musicians on this track, including a badass guitar solo by Joshua Lopez.
This piece shows my jazz roots. It was composed in 2011, with a 5-7-5 melodic structure, hence the title “Blue Haiku”. This one has become standard repertoire in all of my jazz groups, (small combo, medium combo, and big band). This one is a success in achieving one of the mysteries of jazz composition, which is to create an original harmonic structure that provides a springboard for the improvisor to blow over. Cats love playing over these changes.