A Composer in an Art Gallery: Day 1

Ahh! Identity crisis. 

 Exploring the outdoor art gallery, looking for the best places to record. Wearing my best gym shorts.

Exploring the outdoor art gallery, looking for the best places to record. Wearing my best gym shorts.

Except no, not really. Today marks the beginning of my residency at the Stone Quarry Hill Art Park. I've been commissioned by the art park to build a sound installation. The art park is located in Cazenovia, NY, where I grew up. The installation, I was walking home, features field recordings from NYC, my former home, and from the art park in my former hometown. I'm attempting to create a sonic portrait of these two locations that have had a huge impact on me as a person and an artist. The field recordings are combined with music, acoustic and digital, to create a soundscape that blurs the line between real and synthetic, urban and country, home and travel. 

All of this comes as I prepare to make the biggest move in my life to Georgetown, Guyana. The exploration of home is set in stark relief by the impending move.

Today was mostly spent settling in and exploring the art park, trying to get a sense of where the best location to record from is. I have a good idea of where to start tomorrow morning and can't wait to bring my recording equipment out into the wild. 

Why Guyana?

The one sentence I’ve heard more than any other in the last few weeks is ‘Why Guyana?’ followed closely by ‘Where is Guyana?’  (It is here)

Truth be told, a month and a half ago, I didn’t know either. 

The opportunity to move to Guyana arose suddenly and was quite unexpected. I interviewed for the position only a month ago and will be arriving there on September 4th. But the offer to develop an orchestra program and develop a culture of appreciation for classical music was simply too good to refuse. 

The past 2 1/2 months I’ve been living and working at the Lake of the Woods/Greenwoods summer camp in Decatur, MI. Working with Music Ascension and the best staff ever, we developed a brand new music program. It resulted in the creation of nearly 50 original songs, live performances across camp, and a wealth of new experiences for campers and counselors alike. This was the longest and most intense period of working as a music educator that I’ve had. It was also the most rewarding thing I’ve done in my life. Working with the campers and watching them develop and grow over the course of 4 and 8 weeks was the best thing I’ve done. Working with WorldTeach in Guyana will allow me to continue working with kids (this time with classical music!) and will allow me to continue to share the art form I love. 

I’m very excited about this upcoming opportunity. It is a risk and a challenge for sure, but a risk and a challenge that I’m ready to take on. This blog will serve as a place for me to reflect on the experience, the ups and downs, and the adventure that will be the next 9 months in Guyana. 

In the time that I’m in Guyana, I will also be finishing up projects for Steve Weiss Percussion Group (sorry I’m so late guys), writing a new work for Wild Rumpus, and will be working on other new composition projects as they develop. I can’t wait for this new adventure. 

If you are interested, you can help support my trip to Guyana here: https://www.youcaring.com/mission-trip-fundraiser/a-year-with-worldteach-in-guyana/215686

Time to Start Using This Space

It is time for me to start using this space. For my first post I'm going to share this week's hugely inspirational OnBeing interview with Dario Robleto. 

www.onbeing.org/program/dario-robleto-sculptor-of-memory/6640

My idealism has not budged at all. And I’m not going to let it budge. I love the nonsense when you hear an artist say, 'art can change the world.' And I don’t care if it’s true or not, I like believing in it. Because it changes how you make things. So I’m constantly trying to find ways to still create objects that there’s something at stake with them. And that, of course, changes me in the process. And in no way am I suggesting I’m there, or that I’m ever going to get there, but that’s almost not the point. It’s — the point is the struggle to keep trying to find it. I don’t know if that answered you so well.
- Dario Robleto