Shadow Series — About
This series of work, conceptualized in the fall of 2013, started as a compositional exercise while studying with Seung-Ah Oh to a. write a new work for two like instruments and b. explore the (figurative) idea of shadows. At the same time, I was attending a record number of concerts in Chicago, so many, in fact, that I could not focus 100% of the time on the performance going on. What I began to consistently use a means of letting my mind wander was to study the shadows cast in the various venues throughout the city. One of the most powerful examples of this was watching Third Coast Percussion perform John Cage's Third Construction in the Chicago Cultural Center. Near the end of the work, when the texture becomes particularly primal, I viewed the shadow of the conch shell player. His silhouette, leaning back in powerful joy, created a very special moment for me. I decided that I would try to recreate this feeling and this moment in the new work that I was writing for two basses by putting up a screen in front of the players and casting a shadow with a light behind them. This new visual element has the potential to easily be viewed as a synthetic trick so I wanted to curb that by trying to create a deeper musical connection as a justification. I've completed two works in the series now and I've decided how I will move through the process and creation of the works. First, as I continue through the series the instrumentation will gradually get higher in tessitura e.g. Shadow Series No.1 was written for two double basses and Shadow Series No.? will be for two triangles. The second part of the long-form process will be that each work will explore a different way of musically illustrating this concept of shadows e.g. the main means of working out this idea in Shadow Series No.1 was "gradient" through the timbral transformation of pitch to noise.