Arpeggiator

Here’s a video of the premiere of “Arpeggiator,” my new piece for solo violin, at the Carlsbad Music Festival in September. Thanks to Janell Cannon for the lap video.

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On and On and

My new (and first) choral piece “On and On and” was premiered by Sacra/Profana at the Carlsbad Music Festival on September 20. It got a really nice review by Ken Hermann in San Diego Story:

“A recently completed choral work by Festival Director Matt McBane repeated an utterly simple text, “On and On and,” with unexpected rests and closely structured hockets that created a hypnotic, almost mystical spell. It was the piece on a rich program I would most eagerly hear again.”

I’ll post a recording here soon, but for now, here’s my program note on the piece:

This summer I took a road trip that started with a surfing in Baja California and continued with camping in the Sierras near Mt. Whitney and on into Yosemite. This trip came at the end of an extended period in Brooklyn (where I live), during which I was starting to feel particularly disconnected from the rhythms and cycles of nature. As I settled into the rhythm of camping every day, I thought about the text for the piece I was going to write for the choral group Sacra/Profana upon my return. I wanted to use something that dealt with the cycles of nature and fit into the musical ideas I was thinking about with interlocking patterns for the singers.

After a few dead ends (reading tide charts?), while in Yosemite I encountered quotes by John Muir on signs throughout the park. Prior to this, I was familiar with Muir as a naturalist, but had not paid attention to his writings. When reading them I was taken aback by how poetic they were.

At a particularly stunning viewpoint to at the entrance of Yosemite Valley, there was a sign with the following Muir text:

“This grand show is eternal.
It is always sunrise somewhere;
the dew is never all dried at once;
a shower is forever falling;
vapor ever rising.
Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset,
eternal dawn and gloaming,
on seas and continents and islands,
each in its turns, as the round earth rolls.”

Reading this, I knew Muir’s writings were what I was looking for. So, I searched his books for the right text, and saw that more than once when referring to the eternal cycles of nature, he used the phrase “on and on.” In that, I found my text (and my title), just the two words “on” and “and.”

In “On and On and” the singers build up patterns first using only the word “on” then completing the patterns with the gradual addition of the word “and.” As the piece ends the patterns break down leaving only the word “and.”

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Carlsbad Music Festival

The Carlsbad Music Festival is coming up on September 19-21. This year, in addition to curating the Fest, I have a new choral piece “On and On and (after John Muir)” being premiered by Sacra/Profana, Art of Élan is playing my violin duos, and I am performing a short set of original music for solo violin as part of the Village Music Walk. The whole line-up is truly awesome and I highly recommend you attend if you’re in Southern California.

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Entwined

Just got the CDs in the mail for my latest release: Jake Schepps Quintet’s Entwined. This album of new music for bluegrass string band includes my 25 min Drawn and great new works by Marc Mellits, Matt Flinner and Gyan Riley. Drawn was recorded by the fantastic musicians, Ryan Drickey, Matt Flinner, Jake Schepps, Ross Martin and Eric Thorin. It won’t be released until January, but I will have some to sell at upcoming gigs. Can’t wait to get this out into the world!

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May Premieres

May 3: Two pieces for flute, viola and harp, “Lift” and “Cycle,” commissioned by and premiered by Musical Chairs Ensemble in Staten Island. This is the culmination of my residency with this group all year.

May 31: A new three movement piece (title coming soon) for the String Orchestra of Brooklyn along with musicians from Face the Music. I play in the SOB, and am excited to be writing for them for the first time.

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Build, Victoire, itsnotyouitsme and Empyrean Atlas mega-show at Roulette

I’ve put together a mega-show/mini-fest on March 24 at Roulette with four like-minded bands: Build, Victoire, itsnotyouitsme and Empyrean Atlas. It’s going to be so fun to be playing with all these friends!

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Drawn

My new 24-min, 5-movement piece for bluegrass string band, “Drawn” was premiered a couple weeks back in Colorado by Jake Schepps and Expedition. We then spent 3 days in the studio recording for a commercial release slated for late 2014 release. They’ll be bringing the piece to the East Coast in January with performances in Portland, ME 1/17, Cambridge, MA 1/18 and New York, NY 1/19. Below’s a live recording of the first movement, “Flourish,” and a picture of us at the end of the recording session. Enjoy.


 

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10th Annual Carlsbad Music Festival

The Carlsbad Music Festival turns 10 this weekend! 50+ performances by some really awesome folks in 3 days. Come check it out.

Also, we made the cover of the San Diego Union-Tribune:

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Commission for the Expedition Quintet

I’m very excited to announce that I’ve been commissioned to write a new multi-movement 25 min piece for the awesome Expedition Quintet. This group is a traditional bluegrass string band instrumentation (fiddle, mandolin, banjo, guitar and bass) led by Jake Schepps that is commissioning a series of pieces by composers that they will tour with and record. I’ve dabbled in various kinds of fiddle music all my life, but am excited to be plunged fully into this world and to be writing for these forces. I also bought a banjo (pictured) and am learning to play, which is great fun.

Performances:
12/6/13 Boulder, CO
12/8/13 Colorado Springs, CO
1/17/13 Portland, ME
1/18/13 Cambridge, MA
1/19/13 New York, NY

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Carlsbad Fest Village Music Walk June 21

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