Making Sense of Contemporary Music Through Saariaho and Rayz
This lecture-recital will break down the process of learning a piece of contemporary music into the aspects of motivation, to developing the necessary vocabulary of extended techniques, and to effective practice strategies. This presentation will be made of three distinct parts: first, introducing students to their first pieces of contemporary music; second, detailing my process of preparing two works that presented new challenges for me in the last year; and third, performing these works.
Eden Rayz’s Whispers My Name is written over three staves for the solo flutist, one for voice, one for vibrato, and one for the flute. This piece also requires polyphonic singing and spoken sounds into and away from the flute, inherently adding a theatrical element. Trying to conserve air while performing the air sounds and emphatic spoken syllables for Kaija Saariaho’s Couleurs du vent made learning the piece seem like a monumental task. Despite my experience with contemporary music and extended techniques, I was reminded that the learning process can be very piece-specific. I would like this experience to help teachers and students develop their own flexible approach to learning contemporary music of all kinds.
Brian Allred is a doctoral student at the University of Kansas where he studies with Sarah Frisof. He is Principal Flute of the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra and won first place in the SC Flute Society Young Artist Competition and the Contemporary Performance Competition at the Cortona Sessions for New Music. Brian also serves as music director and conductor of the Kansas City Flute Choir.
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