Emma O’Halloran New Marimba Work Recording
The Latest Update
Well, we managed to sneak in our recording session in Philly right before the world went into quarantine in early March. After some production work on the back end, we’re excited to be able to share the finished project!
A huge thank you to Emma for this incredible piece, the wonderful folks at Four/Ten for their work in making this dream come true, New Music USA for making all of this possible, and the members of the commissioning consortium for believing in this project!
We hope that you enjoy “How Sweet the Thought of You as Infinite” for marimba and electronics!
Well, we can report that the piece has been premiered successfully, and has received enthusiastic responses from audience members! So far, Emma’s piece has been performed five times, and we’re looking forward to lots more!
Speaking of… One of my favorite things about this project is that we’re really going deep with it. You might not know what I mean by that, so I’ll explain. Too often I come across people starting consortiums for pieces. They rally the troops, get the money together, and the piece is written and premiered. After that, nothing really happens. You’ve gotten 20+ performers to support a new piece being created, and it feels like the fire is extinguished pretty quickly. Those kinds of projects might be good for putting lines on your resume, but that’s not what’s interesting to me. If I’m going to work with a composer, it’s going to be someone whose music I believe in, and whose piece I want to have a long-term relationship with. To that end, we’ve worked hard to make sure that Emma’s piece (which is amazing and beautiful and fun to play) won’t just get one or two performances and then fade away. So far I’ve played it twice in North Carolina, and then on tour in Colorado last week. I’m scheduled to perform it at a conference in Louisville next week, and obviously we’ll be recording it in the near future. And, I’m still looking for more opportunities to program it! Plus, there are 30 other percussionists who have been talking to me about their own performances!
When I approached Emma about writing this piece it was because I thought her music was wonderful. This piece has only added to my beliefs, and I hope that it has a long life, filled with too many performances to count!
Adam here! We are hard at work putting this piece together, and can’t wait to share it with everyone! I’ve been learning the piece, and sending recordings to Emma so that we can collaborate from a distance. I’ve even more excited for when she’s in NC in just over a month to put the finishing touches on it in person!
I love so many things about the piece, but one of my favorites is a section right at the end of the work. Emma has incorporated a delay effect throughout the piece, but the further it progresses, the more the electronics exert their will on the normal sound of the marimba. By the time the piece is nearing the end, there is so much going on that it’s hard to determine what is being played live, and what is happening digitally. It’s a seamless integration, and a stunning effect. In my mind, that’s one of the signs of a great electroacoustic piece, and this certainly checks that box! I also love that Emma has used some autotune elements in the electronics, which creates so many bending and swirling pitches in the texture. It’s a beautiful sound, and a lot of fun to play with! I’ve included a small excerpt below so that you can get a sneak peak. I hope you enjoy it!
For now, it’s back to practicing and polishing up this piece, and four others for October. More soon!
We are beyond thrilled to have our project supported by New Music USA! Every year this amazing organization provides crucial funding to so many artists that we love and respect, and it is incredibly humbling to be counted among them! We look forward to providing updates about the pieces as they become available. A little bit about where things are at right now…
Emma finished the piece in May, and it was delivered to the consortium members (31 of them, spread out all over the United States, and internationally). Adam is in the process of learning the piece, and we’ll be sharing some teasers as that comes together. Right now, at least a few performances are lined up for the fall, including:
– September 10, 2019 – World Premiere at Western Carolina University
– October 1, 2019 – Performance at Western Carolina University
– October 8, 2019 – Performance at Adams State University
More info to come soon, as well as some excerpts from the piece!
In the fall of 2018, a group of 24 percussionists, led by Adam Groh, commissioned Emma O’Halloran to write a new work for solo marimba and electronics. The piece is currently being written, and is scheduled to be delivered in the summer of 2019. This project seeks to fund a professional recording with Four/Ten Media in the fall of 2019.
Emma is an accomplished composer, who is equally fluent in a wide range of musical styles. Her unique compositional voice, compelling artistry, and skill in both electronic and acoustic genres have garnered her recognition in the form of composition prizes, as well as a steady stream of performances and commissions from respected artists. This work will be her first for solo marimba, and the consortium members are so excited to see what she can contribute to the ever-expanding marimba repertoire. Her seamless integration of electronics into her pieces in other genres foreshadows how she will use them to enhance the sonic possibilities of the marimba.
Adam has a special interest in creating works for percussion and electronics, having performed works that written for him in venues such as the International Computer Music Conference, SEAMUS, and Electronic Music Midwest. He is constantly seeking out ways to encourage composers with fresh voices and perspectives to write for percussion instruments, with a particular focus on engaging those from underrepresented groups.
Given the emphasis on online media content from artists, composers, presenters, and even instrument manufacturers, we believe that the most effective way to share Emma’s piece with a larger audience is by enlisting Four/Ten Media to create a professional quality video recording. Four/Ten has become the standard for high-quality audio and video recording in the percussion and new music communities, and their collaboration on this piece will enhance the artistic goals of the work, while also creating a final product that will be appealing to the general public. The number of standard works for marimba by women composers is quite small, and our mission is to combine the talents of all collaborators to promote a new and exciting work for marimba, that will encourage more young women to pursue writing for and performing on percussion instruments.
For voice and amplified chamber ensemble
Performed by Madeline Healey and the Refugee Orchestra Project, conducted by Lidiya Yankovskaya
Premiered at National Sawdust, 06.12.18
Commissioned by National Sawdust
Excerpts from recent performances of music by Andy Akiho, Steven Mackey, Clif Walker, Toru Takemitsu, and David Lang.
Four/Ten Media is a media production company born from the partnership between filmmakers/percussionists Kevin Eikenberg and Evan Chapman. Kevin and Evan’s unique background as classically trained percussionists has allowed the duo to create fresh and musically authentic representations of pieces in the contemporary classical and pop worlds.
Start and End Dates
10/01/2019 — 11/30/2019