Roots & Rhizomes

In July 2017, I was a member of the Root & Rhizomes Percussion Residency (Steven Schick & Claire Chase, artistic directors) at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.  The course featured two weeks of rehearsals, presentations, and performances as well as quality time hiking and socializing with some fantastic artists.

L to R: Colin Malloy, NP, Jess Tsang, and Vivian Fung.

In the first week the ensemble pictured above gave the Canadian premiere of Vivian Fung’s wild, complex, and theatrical work, The Voices Inside My Head.  We had a lot of fun preparing and performing the piece.

The same concert featured a complete outdoor performance of John Luther Adams’ evening-length percussion work, Strange and Sacred Noise.  I’ve wanted to play the piece for a long time and was elated to be a part of this performance.

In week number two, the percussion residents and members of the Pianist-Composer Collective worked on the music of Michael Pisaro with Mr. Pisaro and percussionist Greg Stuart.  The focus and aesthetic of the performances were greatly enhanced by their coaching and input.  I performed on fields have ears (4), a 27 minute work featuring a quiet, but powerfully present sonic landscape that slowly transforms over the duration of the work.  The concert of Pisaro’s music closed with ricefall (1), a tactile and profound work in which the performers drop rice at varying intensities on their chosen instruments.

The residency included meetings and coaching with some incredible artists including (in no particular order): Steven Schick, Nicolas Hodges, Aiyun Huang, Vivian Fung, John Luther Adams, Phyllis Chen, Cory Smythe, Craig Taborn, Sarah Hennies, Michael Pisaro, and Greg Stuart.

The residency featured a couple of informal cabaret concerts of new and established repertoire.  For these concerts, I led a performance of music by Jordan Nobles and performed with Zeca Lacerda on a performance of Alone In A Room by Stuart Saunders Smith.

No post about a Banff residency would be complete without a couple of images of the gorgeous surrounding topography.

Mt. Rundle

View of Banff and surrounding area as seen from the summit of Sulphur Mountain.

Thank you to the Banff Centre and its faculty, artists, and staff for an enriching and memorable experience.