The Minneapolis-based chamber choir MPLS (imPulse) is currently holding a composition competition with three rounds. The first round was completed in December, 2016, with the performance in February. I am honored to announce that my submission, Out of the River of Tuoni, was the selected winner! MPLS (imPulse) is a fantastic ensemble that is really pushing the choral arts in new directions. They are fantastic advocates for new music with a vision of ‘redefining the choral experience’ for the singers and audience members. Serving this purpose, Continue reading →
Today I am featured on the Composers Circle blog with a recording of my Aurora. Check it out at http://composerscircle.com/ian-a-cook-2/.
This past April 23rd, Northern Symphony Orchestra premiered by newest orchestral piece Aurora, and it was received quite well. The performance was recorded, and I now have a copy of the recording available for you to listen to. You can hear the recording, as well as purchase the score, here.
This past weekend was the VocalEssence 2013 Essentially Choral program. I spent the weekend rehearsing and discussing my composition Missa Brevis pro Pace with the VocalEssence Chamber singers, director Philip Brunelle, assistant director Sigrid Johnson, and visiting composer-mentor Francisco Núñez, as well as the compositions by five other composers. It was a great experience which culminated in a public reading of our six pieces on Saturday morning. I learned a lot over the weekend. I received a lot of advice, and I was able to critique my Continue reading →
I have completed a new work for SATB chorus a capella. It is a setting of the poem The White Heron by William Butler Yeats, written in 1921. Motionless under the moon-beam, Up to his feathers in the stream; Although fish leap, the white heron Shivers in a dumbfounded dream.
I have just completed a new composition for SATB chorus a capella titled Missa Brevis pro Pace. I began working on it back at the beginning of autumn and completed it today. The piece, which has five movements, is nearly twenty minutes long. I. Kyrie Kyrie eleison; Lord, have mercy; Christe eleison; Christ, have mercy; Kyrie eleison. Lord, have mercy. II. Sanctus Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, Holy, holy, holy, Dominus Deus Sabaoth; Lord God of Hosts; pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua. Heaven and Earth are Continue reading →
This past semester I wrote a piece for full orchestra (2,1+EH,2,2; 4,2,1+bass,0; 4timp,2perc,pno,hrp; str). The piece is an illustration of a poem by Kobayashi Issa, translated by Steven D. Carter: Lightning flashes, throwing light on those who cringe at the thought of death. The piece, titled Illuminated Mortality, is largely a very violent, thrashing piece depicting the lightning of the poem. The middle section is slower, calmer, and more introspective, with moments of both hope and despair, before it returns to the thrashing lightning to end the piece.
I finished the last piece for my composition recital this past weekend, titled Prelude and Fugue in B Minor. It is a prelude and double fugue for flute, horn, and violoncello. It is stylistically similar to Bach’s fugues, but it adds some contemporary dissonance treatment. The fugue modulates systematically, beginning in B minor and moving to the relative major, then to its parallel minor, then its relative major, etc., until it returns to the original B minor. The piece will be performed on my composition recital, which Continue reading →
At the end of January, I wrote a piece for unaccompanied SATB chorus using a text written by Sean Fleming, a poet who graduated from St. Olaf just last year. The poem is titled Coyote Wine. Gray hide emerges from gray mud, your hair rusting at the shoulders beneath the pruned vineyard rows where old clusters turn to raisins. The wicks of your ears piercing the fog for a rabbit’s death squeal tuned exactly like our corroding chains reeling repetitiously. The reward of civilization is suffering, Continue reading →
At the very end of first semester — in fact half of it was over winter break — I wrote a brass quintet. It is titled The Pealing Bells because it is meant to evoke a sense of the semi-random ringing of a set of bells. The work is for three trumpets, trombone, and bass trombone, and is completely aleatoric. Aleatoric music is music which is determined by chance. In other words, rather than telling the performers exactly what and when to play notes, I gave them a general Continue reading →