Photo by Ryan Seward. Red Desert at Glitter City, Denver, CO, Feb 2020
We didn’t expect our residency to end this way, but I don’t think anyone anticipated this moment where the whole world has seemingly stopped, and we all wait together (but not together) for a more hopeful future. It’s a strange and scary time and we are mostly enjoying holding our kids tight and slowing down time, today is guacamole, tomorrow some more legos. Things like that.
But also, in a week, we will play a LIVE show, from our living room. I’ve thought a lot about what works I want to present- thoughtful, quiet, patient works, maybe even playful. I’ve been spending time with Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit scores (- burn this book after you read it-) and will be realizing a work or two here in isolation- Imagine a thousand suns… make a tunafish sandwich- and another – Listen to a heart beat- . These works are really speaking to me right now, because they are basically how we are spending our days. I’ll also play a bass clarinet solo by Michelle Lou called Telegrams, another piece I feel is perfect for this moment, I tap out morse code with my foot on a rattling tin can in the bell of my bass clarinet, and play these beautiful soft soft soft multiphonics, in a near-dark room, just a small colorful light to accompany me. And I’ll play Scelsi’s MAKNONGAN for any bass instrument, a slow drone on a few low notes (with some screaming)- when I learned the piece in Italy with trombonist Giancarlo Schiaffini, he told us to play like we were tearing down the walls of Jehrico, so that’s what I’ll do, also appropriate for this time. Devin will play a work we love, Alvin Lucier’s Music for Snare Drum, Pure Wave Oscillator, and One or More Reflective Surfaces . He’ll also play Pauline Oliveros’ Single Stroke Roll Meditation, which is just what it says it is, a meditation on a roll, just rolling on different surfaces and objects around our house.
Then we plan to play a brand new piece that Devin is writing, Bonneville Park 4, hopefully not taxing our crappy internet too badly to get Eric KM Clark and Christine Tavolacci beamed in from Los Angeles to play a quartet together. Fingers crossed.
Finally, we will re-visit Michael Pisaro’s Averer Local a 43 minute work in five movements for clarinet & percussion, with beautiful soft electronics and white noise. Pisaro hid this piece for us in a bottle of scotch, a wedding present, and the second duo ever written for us, back in 2002. We’ve only performed this piece once before, in late 2009 in Listen/Space Brooklyn, it was lovely then and somehow even more lovely now, it’s aged well. 🙂
All of this to say: Please come hang out with us virtually, in our living room, we’ll be playing a very quiet concert for you.
RED DESERT (Katie Porter, clarinets and Devin Maxwell, percussion/composer) Artists-in-Residence at the Florence J Gillmor School of Music, Westminster College play Yoko Ono, Giacinto Scelsi, Michelle Lou, Alvin Lucier, Pauline Oliveros, Devin Maxwell and Michael Pisaro with guests Eric KM Clark, violin and Christine Tavolacci, flute.
April 13, 2020 7:30PM (mountain standard time) – livestream link below!
We’ve also been invited to perform live on Chicago’s EXPERIMENTAL SOUND STUDIOS The Quarantine Concerts, on April 19 at 2PM (MST) curated by Nomi Epstein, we’ll be playing a set of duos alongside other isolated artistic duos- Angharad Davies/Tim Parkinson and Cherlyn Hsing Hsin Pisaro-Liu/Michael Pisaro https://ess.org/the-quarantine-concerts
I imagine there will be more and more of these online projects. I thought it would be a difficult adjustment for me, I had tons and tons of travel planned, a summer in Europe, concerts in Iceland and Berlin, a record release show in NYC, BIG THINGS. Well, the world has different plans. We’ll do those plans later. For now, we’ll just stop being so productive and be thankful for our little family and this beautiful music. I sincerely hope you are all OK during this time and I miss you dearly.