In this podcast, Genny and I discuss teaching and performing. Watch to find out more!
Program Notes: I composed Ancestors in 2021 for Rachel Boehl’s 2021 MM graduation recital at UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. This commission was an opportunity to write for solo French Horn and delay pedal, and experiment with the sonic possibilities of the two elements. This piece is a tribute to our ancestors, whose histories are imprinted on us and teach us that we come from a long lineage of survivors. The structural sections of the work are a time and space traveling device that transports us across the world. For example, the use of multiphonics, where the player is singing into the horn while simultaneously playing a note, is reminiscent of the archaic ritual horn music of Tibet. Another example is of the whistling portamento in both the voice and horn, suggestive of the whistling languages of South Africa. This piece communicates how we are all connected to our ancestors. When we embrace, connect, dialogue with, and see ourselves as part of a greater familial and spiritual field of energy, we see the ancient wisdom that is deep within each of us. Even if we did not know our ancestors, we are connected to forces we may not understand. An essential part of our healing is connecting more deeply to our families of origin and challenging our familial stories, patterns, and beliefs. The music represents the dialogue with our ancestors and reconnecting with their DNA that resides deep within each of us. The French Horn and delay pedal combination enabled me to create the sound of an ensemble with just one instrument. With the delay pedal, I could create ripples of sound cascading onto itself, drone-like repeated notes and rhythms, canons layered upon each other, and delayed melodic and rhythmic gestures. I also discovered I could manipulate space and time by making some sounds sound closer or farther away. Ultimately, Ancestors is about telling one story about our connection to the past and how it has shaped us. It is about creating a dialogue with the greater familial and spiritual field of energy around us. We are biological storehouses––each are a result of our own unique lineage. By giving a voice to our ancestors’ panoramic, multidimensional view and letting their stories and voices be heard, we can embrace our families of origin and even challenge their paradigms and beliefs if they are no longer relevant. We are all cultural hybrids who have unique outlooks, and I want to honor our multicultural views and bring them to light since we are connected, all sharing this human existence on earth.
Wouldn’t it be nice to play piano and not have to think about getting carpal tunnel or any strain-related injury? Many people don’t realize that our posture at the piano can effect our body if we are not careful. In this lesson, I cover the proper posture and hand position while sitting at the piano. At the end I show two stretches I recommend to counteract sitting at the piano.