YERBA BUENA for solo saxophone - commissioned by SOMArts gallery, SF (2018)
YERBA BUENA FOR TENOR SAXOPHONE
video by amy trachtenberg
YERBA BUENA FOR TENOR SAXOPHONE
video by amy trachtenberg
MAP SCORES as works of art: YBFTS included in exhibit at SOMARTS Cultural Center
i began creating MAP SCORES for the 2+2 project with jon raskin in 2005 and have since created numerous works for solo and ensembles. these piece feel like the some of the first works where i was striking out without a mind to satisfy any particular genre, but was looking for something that could be played with just a quick talk-through before the concert - something that leaves a lot of space for improvising, but also gives some specific compositional elements to create the kind of ensemble unity that can go missing in improvised music.
the works have evolved a great deal over the past 14 years, and i have tried in recent years to create compositions that can work with multi-disciplinary platforms.
over the past few years these works have been the centerpieces of workshops that i teach that i refer to as composing for improvisers (see more about this on the TEACHING page of this site).
here is a list of works for solo and ensemble
MAP SERIES WORKS - SOLO (2006 - 2019)
#1 Boulogne for Kristen Miltner (electronics)
#2 St. Denis for Shayna Dunkelman (percussion)
#3 Asnieres for Mary Halvorson (guitar)
#4 New York City I for Jon Raskin (saxophone)
#5 New York City II for Aurora Josephson (voice)
#6 Tokyo for Philip Gelb (shakuhachi)
#7 Florence for Liz Allbee (trumpet)
#8 Antarctica for Phillip Greenlief (clarinet)
#9 Maine for Bb Clarinet (for Claudia LaRocco)
#10 Maine (#2) for Bb Clarinet (for Richard La Rocco)
#11 The Fifty States for Tenor Saxophone
#12 YERBA BUENA for Tenor Saxophone (commissioned by SOMAarts)
#13 NATIONAL PARKS (SW) for Lisa Mezzacappa (contrabass)
#14 MODOC NATIONAL PARK for solo clarinet
#15 HERE AND THERE for solo alto saxophone
MAP SERIES WORKS - ENSEMBLES (2007 - 2020)
#1 Paris for 2 + 2 (dedicated to Margaret Greenlief)
#2 Tokyo for duo b (dedicated to Setsuko Hara)
#3 Roma for Citta di Vitti (dedicated to Monica Vitti)
#4 Florence for FPR Trio (dedicated to Dante Aligheri)
#5 Oakland for Any Ensemble (dedicated to Darren & Sarah @21 Grand)
#6 London for shudder (dedicated to Francis Bacon)
#7 Berlin for 2+2 (dedicated to Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
#8 San Francisco for ROVA Saxophone Quartet (dedicated to Lenny Bruce)
#9 South Central Soviet Union, China & Mongolia, Central & Southern Argentina,
Eastern Brazil for Quartet - poetry by Claudia LaRocco (dedicated to Roberto Bolano)
#10 Muir Woods for 2+2 with poets (Claudia LaRocco and Elizabeth Robinson (dedicated to Agnes Varda)
#11 THE STATES UNITED - for any instruments or performers (dedicated to William S. Burroughs)
#12 Bellingham for David Ireland - commissioned by 500 Capp Street Foundation (dedicated to Bill Berkson and Pauline
#13 THE KNOWN UNIVERSE FOR OLIVIA - in response to the third novel of Claudia La Rocco's Olivia Trilogy - for Six Electronic Musicians, Three Dancers, and Tenor Saxophone - commissioned by The Lab SF
#14 SAINT PETERSBURG FOR CHAMBER ORCHESTRA - commissioned by Center for New Music SF
#15 EL PUEBLO DE NUESTRA SENORA LA REINA DE LOS ANGELES DEL RIO PORCIUNCULA for PG LRG
#16 NOVA SCOTIA for SAM WILSON
BELLINGHAM FOR DAVID IRELAND
commissioned by 500 Capp Street Foundation for a performance at the David Ireland House by OCTET:
Gabby Fluke Mogul - violin, Phillip Greenlief - tenor saxophone, Carl Ludwig Hubsch - tuba
Aurora Josephson - voice, Kip Kipperman - contrabass, Karen Stackpole - gongs, percussion
Zachary James Watkins - electronics, Wobbly - electronics
recorded by Philip Perkins, assisted by Sarah Thompson
This is a fascinating jazz experience made richer by reading the liner notes as you listen to the 60+ minutes of jazz diffusing throughout the David Ireland House (which is an art installation created by the late artist David Ireland) in the Mission District of San Francisco. Greenlief composed this map-work, which, if you look closely at the album cover, is just that–a score based on the jigsaw pieces of maps of Bellingham, Washington, where Ireland grew up. The live performance was based on the score, but also on the conversations among the musicians placed in various locales of the house, along with the ambient noises such as sirens coming from both the inside and outside of the house. Greenlief set up in the entryway with his sax where he hoped to be able to hear the gongs, percussion, contrabass, violin, voice, tuba, and electronics emanating from different rooms in the two-story house. This is an ineffable aural treat.
review by pax humana - KFJC radio 89.7
THE FIFTY STATES FOR TENOR SAXOPHONE
In January 2014, due to extreme weather and flight cancellations on the east coast, I hopped on a Greyhound bus in order to get back to the bay area in time for a recording session with Henry Kaiser and a gig at Duende with The Lost Trio. Despite the relative lack of comfort when one sits on a bus for 93 hour straight, the trip offered an amazing view of the country and some of its citizenry. While I was crossing the country and posting updates on social media, my friend Charles Smith commented, "you've got to make a MAP SCORE inspired by this".
The thought both amused and inspired, and I let the idea sit for a few years. In the wake of the last presidential election, I was thinking a lot about our country and wanted to find ways to express my thoughts and feelings. While hanging out in Maine for our annual winter holiday, I created THE FIFTY STATES FOR TENOR SAXOPHONE. I will be performing the San Francisco premiere of this work in February 2019 at the center for new music (SF).
THE FIFTY STATES I
THE FIFTY STATES II
THE FIFTY STATES III
THE FIFTY STATES IV
MAP SCORES FOR THE OLIVIA TRILOGY
writer claudia la rocco commissioned me to compose scores in response to the final novel in her science fiction work THE OLIVIA TRILOGY. i proposed a score for myself (tenor saxophone), six electronic musicians, three voices, and three dancers. the work was premiered at the lab (sf) in the summer of 2019. the performers included musicians kyle bruckmann, alexandra buschman, danistha rivero-castro, thomas dimuzio, madeline merkey, wobbly, aurora josephson, with dancers eleanor hullihan, jesse hewit, and alex escalante.
the challenge in creating a composition that is based on literature, and will be performed by a saxophone, electronic musicians and dancers was how to create a language that all could refer to ... as these disciplines would not be well served by a traditionally notated score. my thinking was that all three artistic disciplines could work with visual stimuli and language, so the scores were projected on the walls of the lab, where the performers and the audience could view them, and i just conducted the various sections. i used key words and images that summarized the text. this was another case (as with all the map scores) where the rehearsal (a few hours before the performance) allowed me to talk through the form(s) and illustrate how i would cue things.