New works for flute and piano: collaboration, commission, and concert tour
The Latest Update
One more recording to round out the set! Clay’s work, which draws imagery (and a title) from Wallace Stevens’ poem “Of Mere Being”, explores resonance in its many different forms. His use of multiphonics in the flute part are carefully integrated into the piano’s robust harmonic scheme, and long chains of trills sweeping through the overtone series show off a lyricism that ranges at times from wild to fragile. Clay knew our playing very well, from our time in school together, and was able to come through Rochester to work on an early draft of the piece with us—always a great way to work!
Ashkan wrote me the night before he finished the score and part, and signed off his email with, “this will be an exciting piece !! maybe a bit hard !” Truer words were never said! There’s such choreography for both flutist (the part is almost exclusively multiphonics or quarter tones) and pianist (working both inside and outside the piano) that Wei-Han and I both started rehearsal away from the piano: whooping, hollering, singing, and shouting our way through it in a basement practice room. We’re glad we did! The result is a really virtuosic, dazzling piece that sculpts sound with incredible finesse.
If you’d like to read Ashkan’s program note about his work (highly recommended!), follow the link through to the soundcloud posting to check it out.
More recordings to share! I put this one up a few days ago but it got lost in cyberspace; so, without further ado: Katherine Balch’s elegant flute and piano work, “thread, unfurled”. Katie and I worked together for a long time, exploring possibilities with soft, quiet, frail trills that warble through different timbres in the high register. We also worked through various fingering patterns that lead to slow changes in timbre and long microtonal glissandi. Katie, a pianist herself, interwove this carefully with inside the piano sounds and her typically resonant, beautiful harmonic language. It’s a quiet, introspective piece that draws you in to its long lines and subtly etched shapes.
We’ve got recordings rolling in! We’ll be sharing these over the coming week, both on soundcloud and cross-linked here. First up is Gabriel Bolaños’ work khôra-khôra. This comes form our 4/21 recital at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, CT. FH12 were wonderful hosts and made us some great recordings—highly recommend to play (or see!) a show there if you’re looking for a venue in New Haven!
Platonic philosophy and Nicaraguan traditional music are both filtered through Gabriel’s amazing sense of harmony and dramatic arc; it’s a fiery piece in two-parts that we’ve had fun playing everywhere from recital halls to coffee shops. Check it out!
that’s a wrap!
Well, here we are! We’ve finished up all six shows. Many thanks to our audience, venues, and supporters throughout the way. For those of you who weren’t able to make it out to a show, stay tuned—recordings coming very soon!
show 6 out of 6 Tonight in Cambridge, MA! Looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones tonight at the lilypad!
T-minus 20 minutes until our show at Firehouse 12, in New Haven, CT—home of our commissioned composer Katherine Balch! See you at 8, New Haven!
NYC friends! We’ll see you for our show tonight! Wednesday, 4/20, 8 pm, at the Crypt Chapel of the Church of the Intercession, 550 W 155th street. Open seating, tickets by donation at the door. Our 4 new works alongside works by Jonathan Harvey, Robert Morris, Frank Martin, and myself. See you there!
on the road!
Thanks to our friends at University of Chicago and Æpex Contemporary Performance their generous hospitality at shows #2 and #3 in Chicago and Ann Arbor! We had a great time on the first leg of our tour, mixing in our new pieces with works by Frank Martin, Jonathan Harvey, Ligeti, August Read Thomas, myself, and Kristin Kuster. We had a blast working in-person with Professor Kuster on her flute and piano work “Perpetual Afternoon” for our show at Kerrytown Concert Hall!
One thing’s for sure: The best concert-venue-room-with-a-view award goes to the Logan Center Penthouse in Chicago—the skyline at night is quite something!
And it begins!
Tomorrow, Zach and I will present a preview of our program here in Rochester at the Eastman School of Music to our colleagues, teachers and friends, before heading to Chicago. Like Zach mentioned, we have complemented the commissioned pieces with solo and duo pieces by Jonathan Harvey (“Run Before Lighting”), Augusta Read Thomas (“Euterpe’s Caprice”), and those by Ligeti, Sheets, and Martin. It’s amazing to hear how passages from the “older” pieces echo those from the freshly-minted: the frenetic energy in Harvey and Bolaños, the ethereal colors in Balch and Ligeti, and the wide, swooping gestures in Mettens and Thomas.
Many thanks to all the composers for the beautiful pieces. We cannot wait to share your music with our audience!
Shows coming soon!
We’re excited to kick things off next week in our hometown of Rochester, NY, then hit the road to play at the Logan Center in Chicago, IL, and Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor, MI! For this leg of our tour, we’re supplementing our newly-commissioned works with favorites by Ligeti, Harvey, and Martin, as well as recent works by Augusta Read Thomas and Kristin Kuster, faculty at University of Chicago and University of Michigan, respectively.
We’re hard at work rehearsing the new pieces—practicing, studying scores, skyping with composers, and sending rehearsal recordings back-and-forth.
Megan Bolaños has made a great poster for us, and we’ve got other detailed information on venues and programming available here: http://zachsheetsmusic.com/recitaltour
Friends near and far—we’ll see you soon!
In this project, we are bringing together two performers with four composers—Katherine Balch, Ashkan Behzadi, Gabriel Bolaños, and Clay Mettens—to write new works for flute and piano, between 6-12 minutes in duration. These works will be the core of a recital program that we will perform at a variety of venues in a concert tour in March-April of 2016. We will be crafting a unique program for each city, combining the four commissioned works with music by local composers and pieces from the standard repertoire.
March 15th, 2016 — 6:30 p.m. — Ciminelli Lounge, Eastman School of Music | Rochester, NY
March 19th, 2016 — 7:30 p.m. — Logan Center, University of Chicago | Chicago, IL
March 24th, 2016 — 8 p.m. — Kerrytown Concert Hall | Ann Arbor, MI (presented by ÆPEX Contemporary Performance)
April 20th, 2016 — 8 p.m. — Crypt Chapel, Church of the Intercession | NYC, NY
April 21st, 2016 — 8 p.m. — Firehouse 12 | New Haven, CT
April 23rd, 2016 — 7 p.m. — the Lilypad Inman | Boston, MA
The primary purpose of this project is to bring 4 new works into the world, disseminate them near and far through a tour of performances, and secure a variety of high-quality live concert recordings. It is our hope that our tour of concerts will spark discussion, encourage cross-pollination, and foster aesthetic exchange between several of our country’s finest composition departments and communities of composers.
It is important to us that these works be a collaborative effort between composers and performers, and, indeed, we have already been hard at work exchanging information and possibilities for instrumental writing. In the past 50 years, the flute repertoire has benefitted in particular from the many fresh sounds and colors that composers have helped develop—many of which have yet to be fully explored and mined for their expressive potential. With this project, we will continue to push forward this trajectory of discovery.
Selections from Ligeti’s Piano Etudes, Book I
2. Cordes a vide
3. Automne a Varsovie
Wei-Han Wu, piano
Hatch Recital Hall, Eastman School of Music
Start and End Dates
03/25/2016 — 04/25/2016
Rochester, New York