I have just returned home after spending the last two weeks as a composer fellow at the 2017 nief-norf Summer Festival in Knoxville, Tennessee. I have known about this festival since 2014 when faculty from nief-norf were in residence at Northern Illinois University for our New Music Festival. After working with them that week, I knew that I had to find a way to attend their festival in the future. That opportunity finally happened this summer, and I am so grateful for what I experienced and learned. On top of composing a new piece that was premiered at the festival, I took lessons with faculty and residence composers, observed rehearsals, attended presentations/masterclasses/lectures, experienced 10 concerts in 14 days, and met some of the niefiest and norfiest people full of creative energy.
Here are a few major takeaways from this trip:
- A good improvisation is when you can hear the quietest person in the room (paraphrased from call-for-scores composer, Carolyn Chen)
- Rock music is an excellent form of inspiration and/or can even be used as a “backing track” when writing new thoughts (as heard from in-residence composer Nina C. Young)
- Music needs composers, performers, AND an audience in order to make a difference in the world (as heard from in-residence composer Marc Mellits)
- Wild, crazy, and incredibly inspiring things happen when you are surrounded by creative individuals for long periods of time
- Research should be taken as seriously for composers and performers in order for us to truly understand the work we do
- Music does not have to be complex for it to be important or influential
- Never forget about the joy and fun that music brings to people
Thank you to all the nief-norf faculty, staff, fellows, and members from the Society for Minimalist Music for a life-changing couple of weeks!
Projeto Arcomusical was a finalist in the 2017 SAVVY Chamber Music Competition held in Columbia, South Carolina. We had an incredible experience sharing our music with this community as well as spending the week learning about arts entrepreneurship.
On my way from Savvy and to the 2017 nief-norf Summer Festival, I stopped for an impromptu trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It gave me personal time to reflect on the work from this past week. I created a short list of major takeaways from #savvy17 :
1. NEVER take anything personally (refer to The Four Agreements for further detail)
2. You are the average of the 5 closest people to you, so choose wisely
3. Writing or drawing something helps reinforce commitment
4. There’s a difference between working hard and working smart, as well as being busy and “smart-busy”
5. It’s ok to not be the absolute best in the world, but it is not ok to settle for mediocrity
6. You can be whoever you want to be as long as you make a positive impact with what you do
7. Don’t become mentally exhausted by always looking to the top of the mountain when you are climbing. It takes one step at a time to get there.
Thank you to all the Savvy faculty and colleagues for their mentorship, guidance, inspiration, and camaraderie. Let’s go out and change the world with our art!
On Friday, April 28th, my good friends Aaron Marsala and Nicole Chopp will be performing “Seeing Double” on Aaron’s graduate handpan recital, “Sound Sculptures.” They have done a fantastic job of learning this music, and I look forward to their performance. Event information for the live performance and live webcast can be found HERE.
Between March 28th and April 1st, Projeto Arcomusical traveled to Michigan State University, Bowling Green State University, Baldwin Wallace University, The Juilliard School, Princeton University, UMass Amherst, Boston Conservatory, and National Sawdust in Brooklyn! We presented music from MeiaMeia as well as a few new compositions. I am always in awe of where this music takes me. If you are interested in knowing more about MeiaMeia (scores, recordings, etc.) please visit www.arcomusical.com. Here are some photo highlights from that week:
Alexis C. Lamb’s newest composition, “Seeing Double,” will be premiered at Northern Illinois University on February 26th at 1 pm CST. It will be performed as part of Nicole Chopp’s senior percussion recital. Chopp and Aaron Marsala commissioned this piece, which is written for double second steel pans and Amara (C# Celtic minor) and Equinox (in E) hand pans. This performance is free and open to the public. For more information about this composition, please click here.
MeiaMeia was featured in an NPR interview with Gregory Beyer on Weekend Edition Sunday (January 22, 2017) with host Lulu Garcia-Navarro. Alexis Lamb had two featured pieces in this interview, “um só” and “Apenas seja.” To hear the complete interview and read more, please visit Unraveling the Berimbau, A Simple Instrument with a Trove of Hidden Talents.
Scores for “um só,” “Apenas seja,” and other berimbau works can be found here.
Musician and author Ted Gioia listed Arcomusical’s MeiaMeia as an “honorable mention” to his Top 100 Albums of 2016. Gioia, mostly known for his activities in the jazz world, also ranked “Palíndromo” by Alexis C. Lamb as one of his Best Tracks of 2016. For the complete listing of best albums and best tracks, please click on the links below:
MeiaMeia is now available on innova Recordings, iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify.