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‘Antenna Studies’ by Paula Matthusen (2018) for Splinter Reeds and the Blue Sage Concert Series

Splinter Reeds is to perform a new original composition written by Composer Paula Mathussen at the Blue Sage Center for the Arts.

The Latest Update

An update from Paula regarding live streaming the performance from radio station KVNF in Paonia, CO

Posted on November 8, 2017 by Blue Sage Center for the Arts

Paula will tailor some of her electronics and provide a live feed into the concert hall from the radio station playing with the delay that happens between the FM transmission and the streaming, as well as play with feedback loops.

An ongoing discussion regarding the viability of streaming the performance live on Facebook or Youtube is also in progress!


The Blue Sage Center for the Arts concert series with bring composer Paula Matthusen and the Splinter Reeds ensemble to perform an original work in collaboration with local public radio station, KVNF, offering a live feed and interactive radio broadcast as part of the composition. Splinter Reeds will perform two concerts and offer outreach presentations to public school kids as part of our Modern Music Festival taking place the week of March 5, 2018 on the 2017-18 Blue Sage’s concert season.

Paula Matthusen will compose a piece for Splinter Reeds, Antenna Studies by melding different types of intimacy invoked in performance spaces as well as the spaces for listening to and receiving and radio broadcasts. Splinter Reeds will continue this sonic exploration through the live manipulation of radio signals emanating from our local public radio station. A number of her recent works (i.e. see Work Sample 3, ‘So Much of Any Year is Flammable’) involve musicians manipulating and working with the live signals of local radio stations in performance.

Specifically, the group will perform alongside a separate and independent audio track that is broadcast simultaneous to their live performance. Remote audience members may tune into the broadcast as normal, but those in the space may (through a combination of analog radios and streaming services playable on tablets and smartphones) play back the live audio track while Splinter Reeds performs, sustaining long tones that are punctuated by small noise bursts both in the written material and in the broadcast. In this way, the audience and the group build the piece together, developing shifting chordal material and sonic textures through these interactions.

Since its 1994 inception, the Blue Sage Center  has been a center of arts and culture in the rural North Fork Valley on the Western Slope of Colorado serving the towns of Paonia, Hotchkiss and Crawford and over 10,000 locals and visitors each year.

Beginning in the summer of 2011 when the community raised $27,000 to purchase a piano, the Blue Sage’s Concert Series was launched and is currently in its sixth season of programming. The Center’s Curtis Hall seats 144 and artists consistently perform to sold out audiences.

A strong outreach initiative connects the North Fork community with advanced music education opportunities rarely seen in a rural area of this size. Workshops, master classes, and free fieldtrips/assemblies for local schools connect with over 500 students and adults each season.

Composer Paula Matthusen writes both electroacoustic and acoustic music and realizes sound installations. She has written for diverse instrumentations, such as “run-on sentence of the pavement” for piano, ping-pong balls, and electronics, which Alex Ross of The New Yorker noted as being “entrancing”.

Splinter Reeds is the Bay Area’s first reed quintet, comprised of five innovative musicians with a shared passion for new music. The ensemble is committed to presenting top-tier performances of today’s best contemporary composition, showcasing the vast possibilities of the reed quintet, commissioning new works, and collaborating with fellow musicians and artists.

Project Media

Line & Length by Mattew Sclomowitz (2014) performed by Splinter Reeds
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Features: Splinter Reeds

This sample highlights the Splinter Reed’s ability and enthusiasm to play complex contemporary composition. The work comprises complex individual lines that intentionally sound disjointed and become clear with repetition. Through micro-tonal gestures, extended techniques, imitation, and subtle humor, this piece demonstrates some of the vast possibilities and characteristics of the reed quintet.

Splinter Reeds Performs Movement II of ‘Sugar Maple’ by Composer Marc Mellits
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Features: Splinter Reeds

Sugar Maple is the second movement from Marc Mellits’ 8-movement work, ‘Splinter’, which was written for the ensemble. This movement demonstrates an interlocking rhythmic foundation throughout the movement, and precision of minimalist gestures required of the ensemble. The recording also highlights the group’s balance and blend of the reed quintet instrumentation.

Paula Matthusen’s ‘So Much of Any Year is Flammable’ Written for Percussion Sextet
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Features: Paula Matthusen

‘So Much of Any yYear is Flammable’ draws its title from a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye entitled Burning the Old Year.  The piece grabs fragments of live radio signals and intercuts them with an original composition by tapping simple rhythms in morse code across conductive materials.  The piece doesn’t necessarily follow a literal interpretation of the poem as it does consider the possibilities of what lies between things done and undone.

Start and End Dates



Paonia, Colorado

1 update
Last update on November 8, 2017

Project Created By

Paonia, Colorado
The mission of the Blue Sage Center for the Arts is to provide education and expression in the arts and humanities for the enrichment of the North Fork Valley and surrounding communities. Since its 1994 inception, the Blue Sage Center  has been a center of arts and culture in the rural North Fork Valley on…

In Collaboration With

Oakland, California
Artistic Director
Paonia, Colorado


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