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Kyle Rowan

San Diego, CA      

Kyle Rowan (b. 1985) is a composer of (mostly) acoustic chamber music.

My music, especially my instrumental music, is characterized by a sense of motion and direction generated through layered textures. Although it seems somewhat redundant for an artist in a time-dependant medium to say, time, particularly the macro-level time of form and structure, is central to my work.

I find writing for voice particularly exciting, and I tend to choose texts that either explore traditional stories from a new perspective, like my adaptation of the Japanese Orochi legend in The Eighth Daughter, or are unconventional in some way, like my setting of Geoffrey Chaucer’s scientific text A Treatise on the Astrolabe. Opera has fascinated me for a long time, and I am interested in exploring ways to condense the spectacle of opera into a personal and intimate experience, perhaps for only a single person listening in their home.

Recently I have started thinking about music through the lens of games. Anna Anthropy, an independent game designer, describes games as being at their core nothing more than rules defined through verbs and objects, and while many things could be described in this way, it strikes me that this is a particularly interesting way to think about the acts of composition and performance. My current works in progress begin to address this for myself – thinking in terms of game design about different ways for performers to interact with the objects of the score, how to present the score to engage different forms of interaction, how multiple performers interact with and react to each other, and how the audience contributes to the choices and actions made.

My music has been performed throughout the United States, as well as at international festivals such as the 2011 soundSCAPE festival in Maccagno, Italy, the 2010 and 2014 Clarinet Choir Festival in Busan, South Korea, and the 2013 Dmitriy Festival in Thessalonikus, Greece.  Ensembles who have performed my music include the Momenta Quartet, the Palimpsest Ensemble, the Kallisti Ensemble, the TV Buddha Ensemble, the Los Angeles Clarinet Choir, the University of Florida Clarinet Ensemble, the University of Illinois Clarinet Choir, and the University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra.

Outside of music, I enjoy all sports, particularly baseball and football, and I am on a (seemingly unending) quest to break 100 in golf. I enjoy reading authors who write with a peculiar or fantastical sense of time and watching all manner of science fiction. I love dogs, and my little 25-pound terrier mix Lily is a source of endless joy. I have developed an interest in Japanese language and culture, particularly Japanese storytelling and folk tales, that can be traced to my encounters with the 2005 video game Ōkami; I have been studying Japanese for over three years.

I currently live in Lakeside, California, just outside of San Diego, with my wife, Brooke, who so graciously puts up with me on a daily basis, and whose efforts to preserve and provide creative music instruction at the elementary school at which she works even after the district cut elementary music have been nothing short of inspirational.

Despite the shadows

‘Despite the shadows’ was composed in Winter 2014 for the Palimpsest Ensemble, the resident new music ensemble at UCSD, and commissioned as a companion piece to Dallapiccola’s ‘Piccola musica notturna’.

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‘Reconnections’ for solo clarinet was composed for clarinetist Jackie Glazier and premiered at her faculty recital at the University of Florida in April 2013.

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A Treatise on the Astrolabe

‘A Treatise on the Astrolabe’ is a song cycle for soprano, percussion, and double bass and was premiered by Tiffany DuMouchelle, Stephen Solook, and Scott Worthington in April 2013 at UCSD’s SpringFest. The text is excerpted from Geoffrey Chaucer’s work of the same name, in which he explains to his son Louis how to use an astrolabe.

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