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New Morse Code

Lawrence, KS      

New Morse Code is devoted to bold and engaging performances of music worth sharing. Omnivorous, rigorous and inventive, Hannah Collins and Michael Compitello activate the unexpected range and unique sonic world of cello and percussion to catalyze and champion the compelling works of young composers.

To Hannah and Michael, collaboration involves drawing upon mutual influences while generating and refining material together over an extended period of time. Through close work with colleagues such as pianist-composer Paul Kerekes, steel pan virtuoso and composer Andy Akiho, Hawaiian composer and visual artist Tonia Ko, and Pulitzer Prize-winning violinist/vocalist/composer Caroline Shaw, New Morse Code generates a singular and personal repertoire which reflects both their friends’ creative voices and their own perspectives. 

In addition to developing new repertoire for concert programs, New Morse Code also creates music for larger interdisciplinary projects. In 2012, New Morse Code worked with a team of artistic collaborators from the Yale Schools of Music and Drama to create Basement Hades: Songs of the Underworld, a contemporary retelling of the Orpheus myth which blurs the boundaries between concert, play and multimedia event, and was hailed as “stunningly moving” by the New Haven Review. More theater projects are currently in development with playwright Justin Taylor, composer Kevin Clark, and documentarian/composer George Lam.

Through its outreach initiative New Morse Kids, the duo has inspired young listeners with eye-opening performances and engaging presentations at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival,  Greenwood Music Camp, Yale’s Morse Summer Music Academy, the ARTS Experience Festival at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and the Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven.

Hannah and Michael are directors of the Avaloch Farm New Music Initiative, a summer residency program in Boscawen, New Hampshire designed to provide resources and support for performers and composers collaborating on new works.  

Hannah (cello) and Michael (percussion) teach at the University of Kansas.


Andy Akiho: 21

This duo for marimba, cello, percussion, and prerecorded loop, harmonically inspired by Bach, displays the incredible variation and complexity that one repeating rhythmic fragment can produce when layered, developed and manipulated. Listen from the beginning to hear how the two players use their feet to add percussion and a prerecorded loop to the already fascinating and intricate texture.

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Tonia Ko: Hush

Tonia wrote “Hush” for New Morse Code in 2012. Each of the 3 movements is inspired by a fragment of text from Virginia Woolfe’s “The String Quartet.” Listen from the beginning for a sense of the work’s soundworld, and from the 3rd movement (6:37) for a sense of how Tonia’s work with us guided the idiomatic composition of the piece, which includes speaking and singing in addition to playing.

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Osvaldo Golijov: Mariel

“Mariel” was written after the death of one of Golijov’s close friends, and captures the moment after discovering something terrible has happened but before grief sets in. Listen from the cello’s first entrance at 1:39 for a sense of the piece’s scope in the first and second large sections.

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