I am a composer/performer currently residing in Chicago. My music, in whatever form it takes, is simultaneously rooted in and critically engaged with tradition. I am particularly interested in the relationship between vernacular and "art" musics and the combination of improvisation and composition.

Featured Recordings

Spektral Quartet
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Ensemble Recherche

Ensemble Recherche Residency

Rehearsing with Ensemble Recherche

Rehearsing with Ensemble Recherche

The past week has been an extraordinarily busy and inspiring week around Northwestern University.  Between Sunday and Friday, Freiburg-based Ensemble Recherche  was in residency.  Last Sunday, they kicked the week off with a concert which included the music of Helmut Lachenmann, Georg Friedrich Haas, and Brian Ferneyhough.  Ferneyhough’s “Liber Scintillarum”, which I had the good fortune to hear last summer at Darmstadt in its world premiere, was a highlight for me.

For the rest of the ensemble’s residency, they worked with performers, coached the Contemporary Music Ensemble, spoke to our Composition Colloquium, and worked with student composers to prepare new pieces that had been written specifically for them.  Those rehearsals culminated in a concert on Thursday night which included world premieres by myself and my colleagues.  A recording of my composition, megrims, is up on my website now.  You can find it here.

2012 Mivos/Kanter Prize

the Mivos Quartet

I’m proud to announce that my string quartet Dig Absolutely has been awarded the 2012 Mivos/Kanter prize.  I’m excited to have the chance to work with the Mivos Quartet in the spring and to hear their interpretation of this piece.

James Blake and the Year Ahead

On August 29th, the Spektral Quartet kicked off their third season with another riveting Sampler Pack at the Empty Bottle.  In addition to world premieres by Daniel Dehaan and Jenna Lyle, a reprise of Hans Thomala’s captivating Albumblatt, and works from the European canon, the Spektrals played a new arrangement I had made of James Blake’s “I Never Learnt to Share.”  The original track, drenched as it is in a peculiarly beatific pathos, was in turns resistant and pliable to my efforts, but I have to admit to a certain amount of satisfaction at the result.  You can hear a recording on the Spektral Quartet Blog.

As the new concert season begins, I am looking forward to several exciting projects, including collaborations with Rebekah Heller, Third Coast Percussion, Graeme Jennings, ensemble dal niente, The Mivos Quartet, The Anubis Quartet, and the German-based duo Noise-Bridge.  My activities as a performer will also show a marked increase as the Grant Wallace Band begins to play on a regular basis.  Look for us around Chicago and the Midwest!

Darmstadt Highlights

The Arditti Quartet plays Dig Absolutely

The Arditti Quartet plays Dig Absolutely

This summer, from July 14th to the 28th, I attended the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt, Germany.  In addition to hearing some fantastic concerts and meeting some great people, I was fortunate enough to work with two groups for whom I have the utmost respect.  The first is the Arditti Quartet, with whom I worked on my string quartet, Dig Absolutely.  The second is the electronic music duo Matmos, whose workshop I participated in and with whom I performed on one of the electronics ateliers.  It was also fun for me to hang out there with my good friends in ensemble dal niente, who won the Kranichsteiner prize in music interpretation.

Collaborations with Third Coast Percussion

Third Coast PercussionAfter having admired and respected them for some time, I was lucky enough this summer to begin a collaborative relationship  with the dynamic percussion quartet, Third Coast Percussion.  The relationship began with my participation in their ambitious RENGA project, in which they asked 100 different composers to contribute 5-7 second fragments that would be performed together.  After previews in Chicago and Washington, the full project was premiered at the Museum of Modern Art in New York on August 9th as part of the museum’s celebration of John Cage’s centennial.  You can read more about the project on the Third Coast Blog or watch a video of the full premiere on YouTube.  A more extensive collaboration is also in the works – a full-length percussion quartet slated for premiere in 2013.  I’m excited to work with these fantastic musicians who have all mastered the art of (in the words of TCP member Robert Dillon) “hitting things”.