My activities as a composer have always been rooted in my background as a performer. I grew up playing violin and viola, and have since branched out to several other string instruments, including guitar, bass guitar, mandolin, and banjo. My interests as a performer run the gamut from notated concert music to various improvised media. These are a few musical projects with which I have recently been involved in some capacity.
Grant Wallace Band (www.grantwallaceband.com)
A project of protean Chicago composer-performers exploring the interstices of genres, media, and creative processes. Named for an esoteric California artist who practiced interstellar telepathic communication in an isolated cabin, Grant Wallace Band is weaving a new, diaphanous sound from threads of indie rock, experimental jazz, folk, and bluegrass styles. The band is comprised of Ben Hjertmann (voice), Luke Gullikson (piano), and myself (viola).
This is a Drawing Lesson
GWB No. 1
The Sissy-Eared Mollycoddles (http://sissyearedmollycoddles.com/)
Formed in Chicago in 2007, the Sissy-Eared Mollycoddles seek to perform only new works by living composers, especially those which fall in the gap between Rock/Pop and “Art” music. The most recent incarnation of the Mollycoddles has been working on Angelswort, a new album of music by composer/vocalist Ben Hjertmann. The following live performance is a part of that project.
Ben Hjertmann, voice
Chris Fisher-Lochhead, viola
Alex Temple, piano
Dave Reminick, bass
The Music Room (http://findthemusicroom.com/)
Founded by my close friends Chris Wild and Eliza Brown, The Music Room is devoted to performing contemporary classical music in public spaces. In the summer of 2011, I participated in performances of works as diverse as John Cage’s Five, Louis Andriessen’s Worker’s Union, and Frederic Rzewski’s Coming Together. I also composed a new piece, Bludgeon Me, for the group. My experiences with The Music Room have served to reinforce my belief in the relevance and importance of contemporary music in the 21st century.
Necessary Monsters (http://necessarymonsters.net/)
Necessary Monsters, a monumental song cycle (inspired by Borges’ Book of Imaginary Beings) by Carla Kihlstedt and Rafael Oses straddles divisions of genre, style, and technique. I joined the group on viola for performances at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago in the winter of 2008 and for recording sessions in San Francisco a year later. The ensemble that Carla had assembled included members of Tin Hat, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Rube Waddell, and Zen Cabaret. It was an honor to work with these great musicians on this project.
Carla Kihlstedt, voice and violin
Nina Rolle, voice and accordion
Freddi Price, voice and guitar
Chris Fisher-Lochhead, viola
Theresa Wong, voice and ‘cello
Michael Mellender, guitar and bass
Matthias Bossi, drums