Here I am spending February in the hills of Virginia, where it doesn't particularly snow. I'm a week into my residency at the VCCA, and life here has been agreeably peaceful & generally productive.
First order of business was completing Outer Channel, my new quartet for two pianists and two percussionists. I'll premiere this piece in March with my friends Thad Anderson, Owen Weaver, and Franklin Gross on the Collide Contemporary Music Series at the University of Central Florida. We're also premiering a new piece by Thad and reprising our epoch-making, oft-spoken-of-in-whispered-tones 2009 performance of George Crumb's Music for a Summer Evening. (Sans dancers this time, unfortunately.) We've also been invited to play the Crumb at the Round Top Percussion Festival in Texas this April. This means I get to visit Austin. This is always a good thing.
Next on my list: finish recording vocals and avant-garde handclap schemes for the next Golconda collection, By these limits were they circumscribed and of them were they locus. The album is coming along beautifully & I can't wait to share it with everyone.
I've also seen two art-song commissions emerge for the spring. First I'll set Ishion Hutchinson's "Second Return" for soprano, violin, and harp for the inaugural concert of Providence Premieres, and my music will finally, finally receive its Ocean State debut. I plan to move up the states list sequentially by size, so look out, Delaware.
Subsequently, I'm delighted at another opportunity to work with Singers on New Ground. SONG and the Poetry Foundation commissioned me for a piece for soprano, violin, and viola. In a tremendous turn of good fortune, the soprano in question is Alison Wahl and the violinist and violist are those of the Chicago Q Ensemble. I'm lousy with great collaborators these days. This piece is based on the two "Spring" poems of Chloe Honum.
I leave the VCCA on the 1st; on the 2nd, back in Chicago, Grant Wallace Band is playing Uncommon Ground in support of an EP release by Elk, folk band of Ellen McSweeney of the aforementioned Q Ensemble. The very next day I head for Wyoming for a brief but sure-to-be-transcendent residency at the Ucross Foundation, out in the Big Horn Mountains of northeast Wyoming. My work for the period at Ucross is confidential.
This doesn't sound like a schedule that would afford one much leisure, but VCCA life is plush, and I've been able to implement an intensive schedule of long walks in this foothillsy country to do some serious and repeated listening to the new Wayne Shorter album. Have you heard the new Wayne Shorter album? You should check out the new Wayne Shorter album. He's 79 and he's writing up a storm and still out there playing with this quartet that is just absolutely the baddest. I noticed this band's amazing intensity, formal fluidity, and constant air of discovery with Footprints Live; now that record is a decade old, and these musicians have only deepened their group concept & connection. Chamber music on a very, very high level.
One final note relating to GWB business: we have obliquely and provisionally joined Twitter -- @grantwallacebnd -- mostly as a means of disseminating obscure numerological research and the results of our favorite surrealist word games. I'm sure we'll become better Twitter community members soon enough, but for the moment we follow one person and one person only, and that person is Justin Timberlake.
10 Best of 2014
January: Wyoming and the Open
February: New Mexico and the Holes
Notes on The Accounts