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the surface

"...more crazy than not and all the more likable for that."

- Mark Swed, la times

Performed by Sara Andon, Claire Brazeau, Chris Stoutenborough, and Anthony Parnther as an official selection of the 2017 “HEAR NOW Music Festival”, The Surface chronicles the sense of anxiety that can burden us as we expand our comfort zones through a narrative of an expedition into some dense, existential domain or terrestrial surface. Comfort and familiarity are the greatest hindrances to progression and growth, but defying the natural inclination to seek tranquility through the familiar can provide fantastic insights into one’s own capacity for resilience and stoke one’s curiosity for innovation and new experiences.

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spheres of metropolis

SPHERES OF METROPOLIS is an aggressive, rhythmically schizophrenic inspection of the human capacity for primal emotion and behavior in a more civilized, “metropolitan” environment. Each movement, or “Sphere”, investigates a civilized habitat, with which the starring emotion (played throughout the piece by the recurring motive) interacts, and thus morphs, not only itself, but also its surroundings into grotesque instances of their original forms. As each movement evolves, and the piece as a whole falls into degradation, this raw emotion lashes nearly uncontrollably in an effort to gain freedom from the caste-like, determinate nature of civilization. The battle between primal emotion and civilized obligations that concurrently ensues climaxes in a robust finale built upon the fragility of the interconnecting characters and relationships born and aged throughout earlier movements of the piece. I was asked to compose this piece by Mark Menzies for his ensemble, The Formalist Quartet (Mark Menzies, Andrew Tholl, Andrew McIntosh, and Ashley Walters), in 2015. The premier was in 2016. This is said premier performed in the Wild Beast theatre of The California Institute of the Arts.

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