Appalachian Spring Break shout-outs!

Two nice little mentions of Appalachian Spring Break, the show I made with Scotty Heron – one in The New York Times, the other in Artforum.  This piece has already had a long life,  developed in New Orleans at the Contemporary Arts Center, a pre-premiere at the great Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis, and another run coming in November in New Orleans during the new Fringe Festival. Finally, in December, we will have the New York unveiling at JACK, everybody’s favorite new spot for the experimental, the political and the wild.  Get it on your calendars: December 10 -12!

PearlDamour Projects 2015

PearlDamour is everywhere (!) and I am so happy to be making music with them. Here’s what’s up:

-LOST IN THE MEADOW – a performance in a giant field at Longwood Gardens (west of Philly) – is finally going to happen (after years of development. September 10th opening. The story (by Lisa Damour) of a group of strangers wandering a meadow in search of…something. Directed by Katie Pearl and in collaboration with set monster Mimi Lien and sound wizard Nick Kourtides. I am composing a score for percussion and electronics, performed by Yarn/Wire. Whoa.

-HOW TO BUILD A FOREST is happening in New Orleans, the place of its birth. Contemporary Arts Center, October 2015. A difficult-to-describe eight-hour performance installation of the construction of a beautiful ecosystem designed by Shawn Hall – in which my secret sounds – based on the materials of our faux-forest – morph into a world of digital birds and insects (co-designed with the great Christopher Delaurenti.  Good time lapse video here, to give you an idea.

and finally:

-Much is bubbling in the world of MILTON. Great article in the New York Times. Not sure which Milton is next – but we’re closing in on Oregon. More soon.

Two dance pieces in the works

Working on two new things with two extra-special choreographers.

One is this:

with Karinne Keithley-Syers, based on the writings and life of Willa Cather.  The clip above is from the January CATCH/COIL performance at the Invisible Dog.  More on that later.

The other is this:

with Scotty Heron, so far entitled Appalachian Spring Break – unearthing the collaboration of Martha Graham and Aaron Copland. But also not. There are clarinets taped to microphones connected to guitar pedals. There’s an adult diaper and Ken Burns’ Civil War. First time I’ve been one of two people on stage making the whole show. Terrifying and it’s only the beginning. We will be working on it at the Contemporary Art Center in New Orleans (as part of The Distillery Residency). Then off to Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis.


Summer Updates: MILTON & SPICER

Two projects quickly gaining momentum: MILTON, with PearlDamour and Jim Findlay – which had 2 great development residencies at A.C.T. in San Francisco and then Berkeley Rep. Great and supportive organizations, both!  And the WORLD PREMIERE of MILTON is August 9th in Milton, North Carolina!  I just came back from my first visit to this town of 200, with a site visit to where we are performing our show: The Women’s Club of Milton, formerly a Presbyterian Church built in the mid-1880s….It’s going to be great – so if you’re in the area, come on by…

The other project is JACK SPICER’s BILLY THE KID – coming to the Mt. Tremper Arts Festival in late July (25th and 26th) – the whole team is about to head into rehearsal: Brooke O’Harra, Lisa D’Amour, Becca Blackwell, Laryssa Husiak, Donnell E. Smith and Rick Burkhardt – all unbelievable artists and people.   And if you haven’t got a chance to listen, here’s a song  I wrote for this show (sung by Todd D’Amour and Kathy Randels):



Projects completed and projects starting and projects continuing. A brief February update:

Had a fun time with playwright Peter Sinn Nachtrieb and director Ken Prestininzi creating the world premiere of Peter’s THE TOTALITARIANS – now running at Southern Rep in New Orleans.

And that was on the smoking heels of Lisa D’Amour’s world premiere, CHEROKEE, now up at the wonderful Wilma Theatre in Philadelphia – directed by Anne Kaufmann, and awesome set by Mimi Lien and lights by Drew Billau!

If you’re in either of these towns, go see – go see!

And now I turn my attentions to MILTON, with the inimitable PearlDamour.


IMG_0615This November, I had the absurd privilege of staying at the Bellagio/Rockefeller residency in northern Italy. Hard to even sum up what an incredible experience it was – from the location to the amazing people – it was a really profound experience.

Continuing on my field recording compositions/thoughts (a set of which are currently installed at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans) I, well, made a lot of field recordings.

The processing of making these pieces (and perhaps the history of Field Recording Compositions) has always involved an internal discussion about DOING something to the recorded sound – DO I have to do anything for it to be a composition? When I start to DO something to the recording (processing, layer, edit, extract), at what point does the content/meaning of the recording dissolve and it is less about OBSERVING the world itslef, and more about ME as a transformative composer….

All that to say: I didn’t DO much to:

– and I like it that way.

Thank you, Bellagio.