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  • New Album Seven Morsels

    New Album Seven Morsels

    After nearly a year since Daniel Padgett recorded the music, Seven Morsels in the Form of a Persimmon is now available through this site, Spotify, iTunes, and Amazon.  Originally written for the Charlotte New Music Festival, I thought I should distribute this piece as far I can through online streaming services.  Recording this piece with Daniel was an absolute pleasure, and I hope that you will enjoy listening.

    Recorded in the Edward M. Pickman Hall at the Longy School of Music, this piece gave me an opportunity to experiment with piano recording techniques.  In my opinion, most traditional recordings of classical piano do not accurately capture the sonic qualities of performing the piano.  During the recording session, I used a pair of mics to capture the sound of the piano in the wooden hall and also another pair of mics inside the piano to capture the resonance in the instrument.  Hopefully, as you listen, the sounds of the Steinway piano will immerse you in its warm ringing overtones.  

    To complimented the understated nature of the piece, the album cover features an image of a persimmon by the talented designer Tandeka Lauriciano.  For me, the minimal composition, the exposed wooden grain, and the color play between the orange persimmon and the blue plate captured the essence of the music.  Please enjoy the image while listening to the music below:

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  • Halloween Show at LongyLab

    This past Halloween I had an opportunity to perform with my brother and video artist Benji Sayed.  Benji manipulates video to create a kaleidoscope of colors and textures and also uses old video game consoles to distort the image and produce sound.  For Halloween, Benji took VHS video recordings of our vacation in Thailand and life in Bangladesh from our childhood among other footage and ran it through some analog and digital processes.  Those processes created an audio by-product, which provided the soundscape for our piece.  Additionally, Benji produced atonal chaotic 8-bit sounds from a Nintendo Gameboy that supported our texture.  I used my guitar and controlled drum and synth samples using a MIDI controller to shape the piece.  By presenting our home movies in this manner, we were playing with the ideas of memory and nostalgia (at least that is my interpretation perhaps my brother has another).

    For me, the performance played around with memory and nostalgia in another way.  Growing up with Benji, I would often watch him play video games while practicing and doodling around on my guitar in our living room after school.  Sometimes I would join him in the video game.  My MIDI controller (MIDI Fighter 3D) uses arcade buttons instead of the traditional rubber pads to help execute exact and complex rhythms.  Performing on it reminded me of playing arcade games with my brother.

  • Seven Morsels

    Seven Morsels

    Here is a photo from Kyle Johnson's performance of my Seven Morsels in the Form of a Persimmon.  The piece calls for some staging and lighting effects which help create the atmosphere for the music.  Additionally, Kyle invited the audience to sit closer to the piano and on stage for a more intimate listening experience.  Personally, I believe more recitals should be performed with the audience closer to the performers.  When sitting close to certain instruments and ensembles, the nuanced interplay of sound becomes more apparent.  Audiences may appreciate some pieces better if they are allowed to feel how the sound reverberates on stage and hear how the sound decays within the instrument.  Some members of this audience would disagree with me and felt that being on stage was awkward.  Perhaps the breaking the dichotomy of on stage/off stage violates some notion of acceptable performance practice.  However, in other expressions of music, whether it's bhangra, punk rock, or hip hop, listeners are sometimes welcome to participate on stage along with the performers in one way or another. Why not art music? 

  • Kyle Johnson

    Kyle Johnson

    I am pleased to announce that the talented pianist and new music advocate Kyle Johnson will be performing my Seven Morsels in the Form of a Persimmon as part of his Master of Music graduating recital.  I am truly honored and humbled that Kyle would choose to perform this piece.  Please join me in support of Kyle in what promises to be a concert full of exciting music from Bach to Berg and beyond.  In addition to the Seven Morsels, Kyle will perform:

    J.S. Bach: Prelude & Fugue in F# minor, WTC Book 2
    Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata in A, Op. 101
    Franz Liszt: Dante Sonata 
    Alban Berg: Piano Sonata, Op. 1
    Galina Ustvolskaya: Piano Sonata No. 6

    The Seven Morsels in the Form of a Persimmon was premiered during the Charlotte New Music Festival in 2013 by Dr. Tomoko Deguchi and recorded during December 2013 by another Boston-area pianist Daniel Padgett for an upcoming album release.  Please stay tuned for more exciting announcements.

    Kyle Johnson - Master of Music Graduating Recital

    Thursday, May 15, 2014 - 5 pm

    Edward M. Pickman Hall

    Longy School of Music of Bard College

    27 Garden Street Cambridge, MA

  • Honors Concert

    Honors Concert

    I am happy to announce that my ensemble and I have been selected as winners of this year's Longy Honors competition with my piece Metropolitan Snapshots for oboe, clarinet, and bassoon.  Please join us on Friday May 3, at 8pm in Edward M. Pickman Hall for a concert featuring this year's honorees. Metropolitan Snapshots is currently streaming and available for free download in the Listen section of this website.  

    This year's honorees are:

    Elizabeth Chladil
    Matthew Fontana
    Kyle Johnson
    Alyssa Koogler
    Michael Meehan
    Valerie Osborn
    Paul Sayed
    Yo Shionoya
    Eriko Takagaki

    Performing music by:

    John Adams
    Claude Debussy
    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Paul Sayed
    Robert Schumann
    Toru Takemitsu

    Congratulations to all those who were nominated, finalists, and honorees.  I feel very grateful and humbled to be a part of this experience.  


    Announcement instagrammed by Kyle Johnson

    Matthew Fontana - Clarinetist (photo credit: Kelly Davidson)

    Michael Meehan - Bassoonist (photo credit: Kelly Davidson)

    Metropolitan Snapshots Promo Art