So pleased to announce that I'll be bringing Shawnee, Ohio to Minnesota as part of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra's 2017-18 Liquid Music Series. And what a fantastic series it is: expertly curated, timely, and exciting. We will be performing Shawnee on March 20, 2018, as part of the No Fiction Festival, at Mairs Concert Hall at Macalester College, St. Paul. In addition, there will be a related event: a sound and video installation at Carleton College based on Shawnee, Ohio.
To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the release of American Winter on Atavistic Records, I've made a score for the piece. It includes transcriptions of all of the different voices sampled. I still love these field recordings from the Berea Appalachian Sound Archives, and am thankful for being given access to them. Look for a collection of more Berea recordings in 2018, called The Night Is Drawing Nigh, on Dust-to-Digital! And, check out the score here.
A feature article on "Shawnee, Ohio" was published in the February 2017 issue of Columbus Monthly. The article is an in-depth and thoughtful investigation of the project and live performances, and my history as a composer who works with sound archives. It's a great honor!
I am happy to be a part of two compilations this year:
The first, "Notes from Sub-Underground," is a compilation of music and sound made from over 50 artists. ALL proceeds are being donated to the ACLU. Find it here.
The second is Aquabear Legion's All-Ohio Vinyl Compilation, featuring 23 bands. Find it here!
Live performance and Q&A excerpts are from the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio (October 27, 2016), and the Tecumseh Theater, Shawnee, Ohio (October 28, 2016).
Jeremy Woodruff, Flute and Tenor Saxophone
Katie Porter, Bass Clarinet
Anna Roberts-Gevalt, Banjo and Violin
Liz Fisher, Violin
Jocelyn Hach, Viola
Jan Van Voorhis, Cello
Aaron Michael Butler, Vibraphone
Brian Harnetty, Piano and Electronics
Keith Hanlon, recording engineer, live sound engineer
Kevin Davison, videographer, video editor
Scott Austin, live sound engineer, Wexner Center for the Arts
Special thanks to:
Charles Helm, Wexner Center for the Arts
John Winnenberg, Sunday Creek Associates
Above and below are photos from three recent performances. From top to bottom: Wexner Center for the Arts (October 27-8, 2016, photos by Kevin Davison); Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati (November 3, 2016, photos by Asa Featherstone); and the Tecumseh Theater, Shawnee (October 29, 2016, photos by Kevin Davison).
Drew Klein and I rode up the 6 floors of the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati this past week. In that time, I had to explain what is at the heart of "Shawnee, Ohio," which we were performing that week in the CAC's black box performance space. We did it in one take!
I wrote a few words for Art Makes Columbus about working as a composer here, and on the upcoming premiere of "Shawnee, Ohio" at #theWex next week. Read here or click through to their tumblr:
I grew up in Westerville, and my parents have deep family roots in southeastern Ohio, in Perry County. My favorite memory from childhood is walking in my grandfather’s orchard in Junction City, picking and eating apples until my stomach hurt. In 1998, I moved to London to study music composition. After finishing, my teacher there encouraged me to come back to Ohio; he thought I might thrive better here than anywhere else. Even though I wanted to stay in London, I knew that he was right, so I moved back. I never forgot his advice. I’ve often felt pretty lost since then. Slowly, I built a creative voice here. I started working with local and regional sound archives, and the communities connected to them. In 2010, I began to visit, record, and write about Shawnee, a town in Appalachian Ohio, where my mom’s family emigrated to as coal miners in the 1870s. I did a lot of listening––to people and places––and made a piece called “Shawnee, Ohio” that traces the history of mining and energy extraction in the region. Now, I am performing this music for audiences in Ohio (including in Shawnee) and around the country. I feel compelled to honor the voices of the people that have lived and worked in Shawnee, to share their stories, and to add my voice in solidarity to those working as stewards of their own places.
A short promotional excerpt by Claudia Esslinger of "Neva," for the upcoming world premiere performances at the Wexner Center for the Arts (October 27-28), Shawnee (October 29), and Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati (November 3). "Neva" is from the forthcoming 2017 album "Shawnee, Ohio," on Dust-to-Digital Records. "Shawnee, Ohio" is co-commissioned by the Wexner Center for the Arts, Duke Performances, and Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati. "Shawnee, Ohio" is a project of Creative Capital.
Above is my presentation at the Creative Capital retreat this past summer at the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) in Troy, New York. The retreat was a chance to share and learn about the work of leading artists across the country, and meet with industry professionals. It was a life-changing experience, and I was grateful for the chance to be there.
"Shawnee, Ohio" premieres in less that two weeks at the Wexner Center, October 27 and 28. We'll also be performing in Shawnee on the 29th, and at the CAC Cincinnati on November 3.
"Sigmund" is one of eleven audio portraits from "Shawnee, Ohio." Combining Sigmund's voice and words with a seven-piece ensemble, the piece explores the grief and humanity associated with energy extraction, mining, and disaster. It uses excerpts from Justin Zimmerman's film "Meeting Again," a documentary about the Millfield Mine Disaster. Sigmund Kozma was the last living survivor.
The world premiere of "Shawnee, Ohio" takes place on October 27 and 28 at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, followed by shows in Shawnee (October 29) and Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati (November 3).
"Amanda" is a track from the forthcoming 2017 album "Shawnee, Ohio," on Dust-to-Digital Records. The field recording is a local murder ballad from Gore, Ohio. It is used with permission from the Anne Grimes Collection at the Library of Congress.
"Shawnee, Ohio" is co-commissioned by the Wexner Center for the Arts, Duke Performances, and Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati. "Shawnee, Ohio" is a project of Creative Capital.
Tickets are now on sale for the world premiere of "Shawnee Ohio" at the Wexner Center for the Arts on October 27 and 28. It features a great group of musicians, including Anna Roberts-Gevalt (from Anna and Elizabeth), my old pal Jeremy Woodruff, and the fantastic Katie Porter, Aaron Michael Butler, and Jocelyn Hach.
"Shawnee, Ohio" was co-commissioned by the Wexner Center for the Arts, Duke Performances, and Contemporary Arts Center (Cincinnati). "Shawnee Ohio" is a project of Creative Capital.
I had the pleasure of attending and talking at the Creative Capital retreat at the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) in Troy, New York this past weekend. I shared excerpts and context for my current project, "Shawnee Ohio." There were so many inspiring artists, presenters, and others working in the arts. It is such an honor to be among them!
I am excited to announce that Contemporary Arts Center (Cincinnati) and Duke Performances at Duke University have joined the Wexner Center for the Arts as co-commissioners of "Shawnee, Ohio." The piece will premiere at the Wexner Center October 27 and 28, will be performed in at CAC on November 3, and again at Duke Performances in 2017. In addition, CAC will host a week long residency in Cincinnati, funded in part by the National Performance Network. I cannot think of any better places to develop and share this piece. Their support, along with Creative Capital, is invaluable!
The video below is for the 2016-17 season at CAC. I'm honored to be a part of it!
The Massillon Museum's "Readapt" exhibit opens today, and I am happy to be a part of it. Above is an excerpt from "To Hold, To Keep," a video and sound piece that remixes the museum's Charles and Lucy Myers collection of archival films.
A new commissioned video and sound piece entitled "To Hold, To Keep" will be a part of the "Readapt" exhibit at Massillon Museum, Massillon, Ohio. The piece centers on the reservoir of Sippo Creek in Massillon. It asks how the reservoir was used in the past and continues to be used today. It is also a series of visual and aural portraits of people connected to the reservoir and its water. "To Hold, To Keep" draws from archival films of Charles and Lucy Myers (made from 1938-40), and contemporary field recordings.
For more information, go here.
Ohio University's Compass magazine wrote a nice article on faculty and alumni who recently won the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award. It is great to be among them!
For more information, visit:
I'm thrilled to receive a 2016 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council! This is an award based on previous work; in this case it was for the albums The Star-Faced One (2013, Atavistic) and Rawhead & Bloodybones (2015, Dust-to-Digital).
The award money will support the costs of my current project, Shawnee, Ohio (2016, Dust-to-Digtal). Shawnee, Ohio will premiere this fall at the Wexner Center for the Arts on October 27 and 28, 2016. The money will also support a live performance at the Tecumseh Theater in Shawnee on October 29, 2016, a performance meant to help the theater and draw attention to the town and the Little Cities of Black Diamonds region. It is great to apply these funds to a project that reflects on the lives and stories of people who live in southeastern Ohio, and also addresses the long history of mining and gas extraction, booms and busts, and environmental degradation and recovery--issues that are still relevant today.