Two weeks ago I had a brief stint in NYC, but I was in town long enough to participate in MMNY/MATA's 2011 Make Music Winter Workshop with Phil Kline. And yes, he was there.
I was excited to go because, holy cow, my proposal was not rejected and also because I was able to meet the other people invited to this workshop. (AND I would finally meet James Holt, curator for "My Ears Are Open" and the person who encouraged me to apply to this workshop in the first place. If you're not familiar with this podcast, please check it out.)
We all met at the Cornelia Street Cafe that afternoon, which I thought was a nice casual environment to meet other people and discuss our proposals. We were taken to a room downstairs where we waited with our name tags and laptops waiting to present our material.
Yotam Haber had an orderly list of those who were supposed to present that day. I had to go second, and after hearing Lainie Fefferman, Jascha Narveson, and Cameron Britt's techy iPhone proposal, I felt a little insecure. I mean, master programmers can take the amorphous iPhone and turn it into any instrument they choose, and the sounds those three created sounded so pretty and magical that my low-fi deconstruction of a Bach fugue seemed a bit stodgy.
It was then my turn. During my presentation I tried to explain that my original proposal of deconstructing a Bach fugue was not seasonally appropriate, so instead I would deconstruct the Nutcracker Suite. Since I didn't have any examples of re-orchestrating this piece for toy instruments and percussion, I resorted to recordings of the Bach fugue.
Phil Kline had a few questions.
"Where is this going to be performed?" I told him I didn't know because I'm not from NYC unlike most of the participants there. I have no idea where Downtown or Uptown or Left Side or Right Side is. But ultimately it doesn't matter where this parade takes place: the beauty of having portable children's tape recorders is that you can create your own guerilla parade/sound installation anywhere and dismantle it before the cops come.
Phil also had other concerns as to how I was going to collect the amount of children's tape recorders I needed (he said even regular tape players were impossible to find these days) and if I've tried playing back a piece that was approximately twenty minutes long. I think I've had moderate success on ebay finding my children's recorders (they're currently occupying too much space in my office). Also, he suggested looping the Nutcracker Suite so I would know how it sounds.
I'm not sure if some of the people attending the presentation understood my concept. I'm sure I was at a disadvantage because I didn't have actual recordings of the re-orchestrated Nutcracker Suite, but when I resubmit my proposal in about a month, I'll have excerpts online. Who knows if MATA and MMNY will produce this project in December?
What I did realize after the workshop was that I could produce the "Press Play Parade" on my own in Cincinnati. Don't get me wrong – I would LOVE to have my "Press Play Parade" performed in New York, but why can't I have a Cincinnati performance of this piece when December rolls around? Maybe start at Fountain Square? Better yet, why not follow the proposed Cincinnati Streetcar route? Where is my streetcar, anyway?
[Fundraising update: We've raised $275 of of my $2000 goal, and we have nine days to go. For those who contributed, thanks! If you haven't, please support new music.]
[They Came...From the Future" is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the purposes of "They Came...From the Future" must be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.]