the chiptune revolution


A few weeks ago I was excitedly and meticulously planning my trip to Chicago—I was having a premiere of Speilzeug Straßenbahn at the Museum of Contemporary Art, and what girl would not be thrilled?


I had my entire trip mapped out: I booked a hotel and rental car, ordered a new dress and new boots online, and I was ready to hit the road as soon as I was done teaching my composition lesson for that day.


However, two days before my Chicago debut I received this email:

"Hi Jennifer, I wanted to let you know straight away that in discussion with the MCA it has been decided to reschedule this weeks concerts for another date. The MCA are totally committed to the project, as am I, and we will figure out another time when they can happen. Sorry if this causes any inconvenience and I look forward to presenting your work in the future."

I was in shock. I just told my students an hour prior to reading that email that their classes were canceled due to my being out-of-town for this performance. Did I lie to them? I mean, they probably read about my new piece in their school's electronic newsletter. A preview piece was even published in the Chicago Sun-Times. For a split second, I was wondering if I made up this whole premiere in my head—because why would anyone ask me to write a piece for them when Anna Clyne, Elbio Barilari, David Fulmer, Jason Seed, and Christopher Theofanidis were on the same bill?


Alas, not everything has gone to waste. Yes, I am still waiting for the premiere of this piece (which may not happen until next year), but my pop-cultural 1980s muse, who suggested I incorporate the Mr. Rodgers' Neighborhood Trolley Theme in this work, also gave me this brilliant idea.


Yes, my tweet was facetious at the time, but after I received that upsetting email, I was no longer joking. I fired up my GarageBand application, converted my MIDI files to Magical 8bit Plugin instruments, and created this monster.


Well, this monster will get its premiere: it will be paired with original movement by Kari Olson at the Performance and Time Arts series Friday April 19 and Saturday April 20 at 8 p.m.


Will I eventually compare-and-contrast the differences between the chiptune and Baroque ensemble versions? Possibly. Maybe I'll comment on the modern-instrument version too.


———

Other news.


1. I leave TODAY for a joint recital with über-cool composer Spencer Lambright at Middle Tennessee State University. ROADTRIP. (And yes, I'm taking my tape recorders with me.) If you can't make it down to (outside of) Nashville, I'm doing the same show at Ohio Wesleyan University. I'll keep you posted.


2. Did I also mention NANOWorks has a huge compilation of productions coming up May 3 and 4? I'll be blogging about this, but you can buy DISCOUNTED tickets here. If you're in the Cincinnati area and you love me, you will buy tickets. Also, there will be a surprise from yours truly.

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