Other Minds Festivals ➔ Other Minds Festival: OM 17: Composer Fellowship Concert, 4 of 9

Digital Audio

Event Type
Other Minds
Program Series
Other Minds Festival
Program Length
77 min
4 of 9
| broadcast
| 2012-02-29 | created
Other Minds introduces its second annual Composer Fellowship Program, as part of its continuing commitment to the promotion of New Music and young composers. This year’s Program focused on percussion music and featured seminal works by John Cage, as well as compositions by four young and relatively unknown composers who were selected from a host of applicants, to meet and interact with the OM 17 composers during their residency program, and to have one of their works performed at this special concert, held at The LAB in San Francisco, on February 29, 2012. The fortunate four were electro-acoustic composer D. Edward Davis, currently a doctorate student at Duke University; John P. Hastings, composer, sound artist, and curator based in Brooklyn N.Y., who received his Masters of Fine Arts degree from the California Institute of the Arts; Peter V. Swendsen, Assistant Professor of Computer Music and Digital Arts at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music; and Jen Wang, currently a doctorate candidate at the University of California in Berkeley, where she was awarded both the Eisner Award in Music and the Nicola de Lorenzo Prize in Music Composition. The performer for this year’s Composer Fellowship Concert was the percussion ensemble, Rootstock Percussion.

Selected works by John Cage

In the lineage of music for percussion ensemble, few composers stand taller than John Cage. While Edgard Varèse, Henry Cowell, and William Russell exhibited the bravery to be among the first to compose for percussion alone, Cage used this new form to introduce non-Western instruments, invented and found sound sources, and to “liberate” the noises of everyday life into musical contexts. Other Minds is pleased to pay tribute to the progenitor of percussion music with this selection of works, chosen in collaboration with the brilliant members of Rootstock Percussion. - Adam Fong


“windthrow” is scored for two tam-tams and a vibraphone. All three instruments are amplified, and their sounds are additionally processed through custom-designed software to incorporate varying levels of filtering and delay.

“Windthrow” is a forestry term for the uprooting of trees by the wind. The work draws its inspiration from the sonic relationship between trees and wind, especially how each gives a voice to the other. - D. Edward Davis

Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is:

In the mountains, wind and weather collide with land, each shaping the other in a sometimes subtle, sometimes violent pas de deux. Along the coast, this collision is more of a constant negotiation, the land and sea exchanging back and forth the clouds and temperatures that hover near the shoreline. In the flat interior, however, the wind and weather are themselves the instigators, the sculptors of an ephemeral topography of sound, texture, and sensation.

“Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is” was written for Jennifer Torrence in the spring of 2009. It is one of four pieces in “Allusions to Seasons and Weather,” a set of works based on my experience of seasonal transitions in Norway, where I lived from 2006-2007. It is a piece that relies heavily on the creativity of the performer and many thanks go to Chris Froh for his engagement and energy. - Peter Swendsen


The title, “Terce”, refers to the ancient Greek and Roman divisions of the day, later used by the early Christian Church for a fixed time of prayer. Despite that, the work is really a secular meditation on sound and sound production. The performers are given a set of parameters in choosing their instruments and in the structure of the piece. From these guidelines the performers construct the piece. An analogy may be the composer creates the frame and color palette while the performers paint the picture. Each performance will differ from the one before but there will be close similarities to each. Thanks to the Rootstock Percussion for realizing the work! - John P. Hastings

Rendering of Things We Couldn't Take Home:

This piece is built around a bowed tremolo technique originally shown to me by percussionist (and tam-tam specialist) Dominic Donato. Shortly after I first heard that technique, I read and interview with James Tenney in which he talked about letting the listener “sit back and relax and get inside the sound,” and I wanted to write a piece that invited both the listener and the performer to do that with this sound. The sound world of the piece comprises instruments that emphasize either the noisy (bass drum, cymbals) or the pitched (vibraphone, crotales) aspects of the sound, and the score establishes a musical vocabulary and then invites the performers to improvise. - Jen Wang

Note: Special thanks to Ben Johnston, Terry & Ann Riley, Tom Steenland, and Aki Takahashi for support of the OM 17 Fellowship Program
New music
Musical Selections
Telephones and Birds, for three performers, bird songs, and recorded telephone messages (1977) (12:53) / John Cage
Rootstock Percussion:
Christopher Froh
Daniel Kennedy
Loren Mach
New music
Aleatory music
Birds -- Songs and music
Musique concrète
Music, concrete