Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Arizona Artists

I had the great pleasure of having dinner last night with Arizona based sound artist Richard Lermand and visual artist Mona Higuchi. I encountered their work while I was in Alaska and was researching the displacement of the Aleut people during WWII. It is your typical US government mistreatement of people. I found an installation that they had created on the topic and went on to research some of their other work. I was toying with idea of a piece (and still am) on this tragedy and contacted them to learn more about where they had found information and to congratulate them a great piece. We have stayed in contact over the months, as it turns out Mona has a connection Santa Barbara. So when I got to Phoenix I dropped them a line and we were able to find some time last night. We had a spectacular Korean meal, I got a tour of ASU Wests digital media center and Richard and I discover that we are both natives of .... you guessed it Milwaukee!

During the course of our discussion they each posed a question that I have been thinking about since the drive home last night. Mona asked, "Are you going to tour Europe with and ensemble or by yourself?" Which lead to a discussion of my future as a composer. I was unable to articulate it then, but have since realized, that I would love to work with an ensemble, but I have always imagined my ensemble or collaborative artists for that matter, to be scattered across the planet and like a rain cloud, we got together when we are in the same local. That is a component of the LovelyWeather analogy. Certainly Glass and Reich have show that one can have a dedicated ensemble and that is interesting to me, but not on the scale that they have gone to.

Richard's question was more of an observation. In talking about writing a piece of music I related to him that I like to work very closely with the performer to create something that is a product of out collaboration. Richard pointed out that what I said is an interesting extension of the self. I have been thinking about that and have begun to imagine that a composition is not mine alone, rather it is, a it's best, the combined ideas and expressions of the composer and the performer, as well as the social context that it is received into (the audience). In many regards it is as if the composition/music is a separate entity that no one party can control or lay claim to. Collaboration is more than it appears to be.


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