I have been writing songs for the same amount of time I have been writing classical music. Usually, with alternating periods where I write one or the other. Something happened and there is an urge in me to move forward with my songs (the immediate reason for that is described in my previous post). In the past four months, since June, I have been laboring on getting the right materials together, practicing, learning how to do things. Like a child, every new piece of information is a notable progress- booking my own shows, telling about my project, recording and writing new songs. I am ecstatic and feel like this is a materialization of my dream! Many years of songwriting have helped me to work out my craft to the point where I feel I have something valuable artistically to share. I will continue with this dream because this is one of my biggest joy in the world and I can not do otherwise!
New and rediscovered musical inspirations:
It's about time to write a few words here.
5.30 AM: "Delavarnu" is sent to performers- Akropolis Reed Quintet.
Afternoon, next day: rehearsal on the piece.
I can't describe how exciting this is! The best feeling there is! It's one of the things I like the most about composing- believing in what you wrote, achieving your goals and your esthetic. All the difficulties I encounter when writing music are than forgotten and there is no bigger joy or sense of accomplishment for me. Also, this time it is being acknowledged right away by performers, which usually isn't the case. Art is all about collaboration. In music the collaboration goes three ways- the composer, the performer and the listener. I send a big "THANK YOU" to Akropolis for being as enthusiastic about this as me and look forward to the next opportunity they have to perform this piece!
I am super ad·re·nal·ized now! I should utilize this high energy to be my motivation for a new piece. Momentum is definitely there.
Different jobs have different ways you can get feedback on your work. It's your boss's pat on the back, a "thank you" letter or a client's call to say how satisfied they are from what you gave them. In music it is the applause you get from the audience after your piece is performed, your audience's words after the concert. It is the person that knows one part of you and wants to know more, it is someone who wants share with you their aural experience. Sometimes a feedback comes unexpectedly in a form of a comment from a complete stranger somewhere in the world, who you have never met and is completely unbiased.
Not always will this feedback be positive, but hopefully it is emerges from a sincere place without any interest to heart you personally or professionally. Also, I hope to understand exactly what it is that the person is trying to transmit to me. I try to take feedback as a gift.
Whenever a listened turns to me, I know that in one way or another they were moved by my creation. The fact that they dedicated their time to listen to my music is already very exciting! And it is also nice if they share their thoughts. Not always people get what I was trying to say or get something completely different. The listener has freedom to interpret what they heard in their own way, and by that, they own their experience.
Bad critique is something that one needs and although it is not easy to accept it, there should be a way to accept it and grow from it. Surely, it is no fun to get critique, but if we take it the right way, it can make you ask questions and improve and therefore, be constructive. If only positive feedback is thrown, perhaps there is something wrong. But, usually people are helpful. Don't run away from critique. Both affirmation for doing something right and the awareness that there is room for improvement, create a better artist. Like everything in life, you need that balance.
* MUSIC INSPIRATION OF THE DAY: American-Mexican composer Conlon Nancarrow, Piece No.2 for Small Orchestra (1985)
I like it for the interesting complex rhythms, among other things.
My relationship with my new piece is love-hate relationship. More accurately, it was very a loving one when we were just introduced.. In the stage of conseptualization I had these thoughts in my mind: "oh, what a lovely idea I have, this new piece will be written for an ensemble I have never wrote before (so that's an exciting challanging), it will follow the concept of "unraveled" (which is the theme for Akropolis' concert, the ensemble I'm writing for). The first sketches came fairly easy. For a rather promising beginning it seemed the piece will be written in no-time and with great pleasure. Well, this piece, as any other, started shifting almost to a state of despair when another important factor enters the equation: writing "GOOD music".
What is "good music"? Can anybody describe it? I can try to name the sensations I get when I hear a "good" piece of music (the parenthesis are here because it is toatlly subjective matter). When the auditory experience is positive I stay attentive throught the listening because I feel I am reaching some place meaningful and important. Every note seems in place and the different parts of the piece feel to me to be timed "correctly"- before it gets too expected. A "good" piece will also give me something to grab on, like a motive, a certain color, rhythm, effect that returns, etc.. It doesn't have too be "pretty" music but it has to evoke some kind of emotion from me- amusement, anxiety, fear, serene etc..
I described what I am looking for as a listener, I usually try to achieve this as a composer to satisfy "listener Florie". As a composer, "good music" is about reaction of the listener and making them stay indifferent. But, where do I get the best ingredients for my piece so I can create this magic? But since there is no clear answer how to achieve it I just have to keep practicing and choose the best options I see while writing. I hope that one day, when I am odler and wiser, it will come more easily, with only love.
Now that this pressure is off, I should get back to work ;) .
* MUSIC INSPIRATION OF THE DAY :
Emily Koh, fantastic young composer and a colleague of mine from Brandeis. Very refreshing music for this hot summer
* MUSIC INSPIRATION OF THE DAY : I found this on Facebook and thought it was fantastic! The Italian conductor, Riccardo Muti, director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra speaks beautifully and with humor about conducting.
I just arrived home- the one that is in this country. This has been one long journey- from Israel to Boston to Nebraska, Chicago and back in Boston now. I'm remembering my goings in the past week.
At the end of my three-week long residency there was this accumulation of events and emotions that grew out of the preceding weeks. The thirst to know more just grew and everything discovered was even more significant as time got shorter. Dinners, breakfasts and chats with other artists were always interesting, but towards the end it intensifies. I am happy for that opportunity to interact with other artists, it was very enriching. I find about their work process and emotional turbulence while working on their creations. We discovered some similiarities between different diciplins. Hearing what kind of blocks they encounter and how they work them out, watching the excitement in their eyes while they are telling about it was catching. My excitement about my own projects started growing more and more as I finally felt I am "living" my piece- it constantly plays in my head. Walking on the streets of this town, where my feet know exactly where to take me, I imagine some parts of the piece and match the rhythm of my walking to the rhythm of the music.
I take these valuable encounters, and hopefully new friendships, with me and will be missing all of this! I will also miss my studio and the black upright Yamaha piano with its warm sound. Ah, I got so used now to be loud as much as I need to and practice whenever I like, without thinking if I disturb anyone. After a night of songs and beer, it was time to say goodbye, pack my things quickly sleep 3 hours and move on to my next destination on the map: Chicago!
This was my first time in Chicago. It was quit a change after the small, cosy environment I have been in the past weeks. A few people recommended me about things I should do while I am there. Firstly and most importantly, the purpose of this visit is to meet with an old friend from home (the home that is across the ocean) and what a pleasure it was! Two foreigners meeting in this giant city of skyscrapers, observing everything it has to offer and this already was quit an adventure! I must say, there is no better tour guide than Iddo! His knowledge of different parts of the city is incredible! We took the architecture cruise tour (which was fantastic!) and a tour inside the Intercontinental hotel on the Magnificent Mile (which is gorgeous and free), ate burgers at Billy the Goat (a true landmark but it's so hard to miss under the bridge), we even watched an outdoor free orchestra concert at the Millennium Park (this park is one of the best parks I've seen, so far! it offers many attractions, it's beautifully organized and so many people are enjoying it). We also spent time socializing with Iddo's friend. And in between all this, there was also time for a good catching up over a tasty fruit tart and some singing & playing time :) Singing with Iddo is one of the most fun things I can think of doing. our voices mix so well together and he can play almost everything on both the guitar and the keyboard.
This is of course, a brief summery of events. I was also featured on Composers Circle this week and received lots of "likes" on Facebook. It warmed my heart to know that people listen to my music. Yesterday I got an email from an Italian cellist who is interested in my music :) Cheers to great things that append and that will come!
*MUSIC INSPIRATION OF THE DAY : The Beatles, rooftop concert on the top of Apple Studios in London, January 30, 1969. The songs they performed: Get back, I want you, Don't let me down, I've got a feeling, Dig a pony.
I Rediscoverd with Iddo how amazing the Beatles were!
*See if you can understand what that man is saying at 08:01 ;)
Yesterday I had a "good composing day". The act of composing means organizing different elements in a certain order. So, a "good composing day" is a day when making organizational choices comes easily; you feel you have found the "right" sequence to follow what you have already written, or when you have the full picture of what you are trying to achieve and are able to convey it. No, that doesn't necessarily mean that tomorrow you will still think you have made the right choices. I can definitely revisit a piece of music I wrote the day before and realize that what I wrote is "all wrong" ;)
I put the words "right" and "wrong" in parenthesis because in arts, I am always told, there IS NO right and wrong! There are more predictable/surprising/acceptable/silly solutions than others and everyone will have their own take on it. Bedside, solutions are relative and can change in the eyes of the same observer in different moments, the same way as people experience mood or circumstance change. Different people have different sense of these things.
So now you are asking, what guides you, than, if you have no clear parameters of judgement? Well, the boundaries are not all that loose. What guides me are, on one side, aesthetics; music has syntax (which developed because of aesthetics) the same as language has syntax and grammar, as some linguistics and neuroscientists claim. On the other side, I have my own common sense and intuition to follow. With this part my creativity blooms.
I want to tell you about a very cool exhibition that was happening here, at the Kimmel, Harding, Nelson Center for the Arts by one of the artist in residence Paul John. Pual had set up a triple live streaming from us, in Nebraska to a gallery in NYC and back here to us. A live video streaming of traffic of people at Paul's studio was projected on glass facade and thought that onto a drawing paper to a gallery in the garment district of Manhattan. A collaborator artist was drawing everything that was projected on that paper. This was live streamed back to us and we could see what she is drawing. It felt like being in two places at the same time, what a fun experience! The exhibition was a great success! Congratulations to Paul John!
To learn more about the exhibition, visit: endlessendlessendlessendless.blogspot.com
To learn more about Paul, visit: paulsplayce.tumblr.com
"MUSIC INSPIRATION OF THE DAY": German-British Baroque Composer, George Frideric Handel (known as simply Handel), Piece title: Suite No. 7, Passacaglia movement.
It's all about harmonic variations.
It's a hot day here in Nebraska city 97°C / 36°C! and it will only get hotter as the week progresses. Sitting on the patio was impossible, even with occasional visiting winds.
Today, so far has been a frustrating composing day. Do you know that feeling of standing in one place when you need to be running? The amount of time and effort one puts into their work does not corresponds with the results. At the end of a full day of composing I might end up having 5 new measures (3-6 seconds of music), after erasing everything I have done the day before. This is what I call "a frustrating composing day". The best solution for this kind of situation is taking a break and coming back to work refreshed.
On my break I went to the post office, which was actually a very nice experience. People in this town do not stop to amaze me with their kindness and patience. Usually, going to the post office is not one of my favorite things to do; there is always a long line and the workers seem quite unhappy. I can't really blame them, it must be no fun having to do the same action for hundreds of times a day and recite: "do you have anything liquid or perishable?" over and over. For the costumer it is no fun, either. When standing in queue I calculate every word I am about to say because when it is my turn no mistakes can be made. Well, I faced a nice surprise at Nebraska City's post office. I got the much needed assistance and great care there. Finally! a pleasant experience using the postal service :) Boy, I am going to miss this place!
THE MUSIC INSPIRATION OF THE DAY: a little "blast from the past"
The English band Tears for Fears, song title: "Sowing the Seeds of Love" (1989).
Empowering and feels like I want to hug the whole world.
It is so peaceful here, at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. I am enjoying every minute of my three-week residency! I am working on a new piece for Akropolis Reed Quintet, which I hope to finish before going back to everyday life routine madness.
In this seclusion that is called "Residency" I am making observations and finding out some interesting things. Because I am sitting in a designated artist space, one that is dedicated for a very specific purpose- me as an artist, I must wear a different mind set. Do "me" and the "artist" personas overlap or do I have to clear some or the whole way for the "artist"?
I have been unconsciously nurturing the "aritst". I have been feeding her with what she likes- good nutrition and coffee twice a day, taking a walk to the river and nourishing her curiosity while observing the local community in the coffee shop. The results are satisfying so far- first 15 measures of music were written today as an exposition for a new piece. Not only that, but suddenly I have a craving to practice slowly and carefully, something I was always reluctant to do. At the same time- me, the "person" is being kind of push aside. Is it by chance, because my suitcase has not arrived with me and I do not have most of my personal things, that I don't "take care" as usual? In any case, I find it completely emancipating not to have to think about clothes or make up.
My time is ready to be filled with content and although it seems like a lot of time to fill, it absolutely flies! The initial preparation for a new piece requires research. This process has become my standard way of working: researching on the ensemble I am writing a piece for. In this case, finding out particular playing techniques of reed instruments, since I do not play any of them myeself. Particularly, I have to learn more about the saxophone, an instrument which I have never yet written for. There is information available online including demontrating sound clips, which is very usefl. In parallel, I am trying to get a hold on existing pieces for this ensemble to show me what is possible and carachteristc of the reeds to play (not nessicerly for me to follow), what has already been written and to just get familiar with the sound world of this ensemble. There is not a whole lot of music I find for it as this ensemble is yet a "work in progress", a kind of newly formed group comparing to a string quartet or a symphony orchestra. The idea of extending the relatively small exisiting repertoire makes me very excited! I hope to do a good job with my work.
While sitting in my studio in a vacuum of sound, I have more control over how I feel up my thoughts and my time. (this came out rhyming.. haha)
*** Here is what we eat here: on Thursdays there is a farmer's market next door to the center (Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts). I got a strange looking yellow summer squash which apparently is great to marinade and funny looking little carrots, both Certified Naturally Grown from a local farmer. On the same day we also received our order from the Nebraska-Food Cooperative. Meryl, my apartment-mate, made a delicious pasta. In the next days my creativity will be put into test with these vegtables, as well ;) ***
In this time of crisis, when the future for the arts is unknown, what makes one continue with his/her childish/impractical dream of being an artist? I keep getting my answer in the same way over and over and this time it had happend at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. Trying out the piano in my given studio for the first time was a magical moment. Even after a while of staying away from the piano, from songs, from singing, music comes out effortlessly and so naturally. This "coming out naturally" feeling... how can I explain it? It is as if you returned to visit an old friend; time had passed by and you both already collected some gray hair but between you two, time comfortably stood still. Coming back to visit feels as comfortable as ever, it's like coming back home! Near the piano I get my answers.
This blog is about new music, composing, living, experiencing. Thank you for visiting, feel free to leave a comment!