Throwback Thursday September 2021 Recap

September 2nd 2021

This Week’s #throwbackthursday piece is related to the event I’ve been excited about that is happening this weekend: MNKINO Film Score Fest!(BTW- It’s this Saturday at 8 In Mears Park, St Paul MN if you can come).A few years ago, in 2017, I wandered to an event that I had heard about on a podcast called Composer Quest called the MnKino Film Score Fest Meetup. It was at an underground bar in the middle of Minneapolis- or was it St Paul? As is tradition for me with trying new things, I had no idea what I was getting into. Also, meeting new people in groups still terrified the bejeebus out of me, but there I went. At the time, I was starving for creative opportunities outside of my mundane day job and, although it scared me, I reasoned that the best way to make this happen was to step out of that comfort zone and talk to strangers. Somewhere in the large crowd a, talented yet also introverted and kind animator named Beth Peloff talked to me and decided that I was going to be her composer (YAY!).Together, we created a little film called Blob’s Adventure. You can watch it here:https://vimeo.com/218081763

September 9th 2021

Do You remember looking up at the sky on a carefree summer day, imagining the pictures and scenes in the clouds? Today’s #ThrowbackThursday piece was written on such a summer afternoon. When I used to work at a printer factory, I’d come home and need to decompress. Being that the job left little time for much else between driving home, eating dinner, and sleeping to wake up early and do it all over again, there was a 30-minute window that I’d have to myself. I chose to walk from my Dad’s trailer home to the end of the road and back most evenings after scarfing down my meal. That day in 2010, I admired those picturesque clouds in the sky and imagined what it could sound like. At the time I was listening to a lot of Debussy piano music as well. Cumulus Humilis- The scientific name for the type of clouds that I saw that day- is the name of this piece. It was premiered by Jimmy Knezetik- a pianist I knew in undergrad who has the most sensitive touch of any pianist I’ve known. Listeners enjoyed it because it is easy on the ears and my theory teachers loved it because it uses something called Locrian Mode. (Note- I did not do this on purpose. It was a happy coincidence). A few years after composing the piece, Avguste Antonov recorded the piece and did a wonderful job. It is included on his debut album, An American Journey.https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/…/cumulus…/21854853…#pianomusic#newmusic#solomusic

September 16th 2021

In 2009, around this time, I started my undergrad degree at Youngstown State in Ohio. At the time, I had just met my – unbeknownst to me- future husband. He took me to one of Youngstown’s greatest hidden treasures, Mill Creek Park, as part of a tour of the area. We walked around on this adventure for a while when a rather large tree branch suddenly snapped, and almost beamed us in the head on the way down from the fall. Me being me, blamed it on the trickster Faeries that obviously got a laugh at almost killing this intruder, .and yelled something unintelligible back at them. Darko laughed, I laughed, and this whole near-death experience is now immortalized in a Trombone and Euphonium duet. Today’s #ThrowbackThursday piece is dedicated to these Wood Nymphs who happened to give me the inspiration to finish the duet I was writing for fellow composer Dan Brandt and I, just in time to not get scolded by our studio professor. #Brass#BrassDuet#Trombone#Euphonium#WomanComposer#NewMusichttps://www.sheetmusicplus.com/…/meliae…/21816732…

September 23rd 2021

Who Likes Thunderstorms???…….. Actually, not me. In fact, I sometimes find them terrifying! This week, we had a fairly loud one that kept me up quite late. The loud sound of the thunder hurts my ears and seeing a Lightning strike victim in the ER when I was little because my mom used to work nights and sometimes had to take us with to her job, may have contributed to this uncomfortableness. Thank goodness though. MN needed the rain. That brings me to this week’s #ThrowbackThursday piece.https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/…/reign-of…/21833455…Reign of Thunder is a flute solo and one of my first pieces that premiered at YSU. However, it was written it in the summer before starting my studies Shanyse Strickland , a Fantastic Musician known for her Horn playing and Composing these days, was the Flute Player! Cory Davis did a wonderful job accompanying on piano and I took his suggestion to double the octave in the left hand, thus improving the piece. #Flute#Flutesolo#piano#womancomposer#newmusic

Throwback Thursday August 2021 Recap

Hello Music friends and fans,

If you’ve been on Facebook page at all you may have noticed that I’ve been posting memories associated with the pieces I’ve written or arranged over the years on Thursdays. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them just as much as I have writing them.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about how to add more content here and how to prompt myself to write more, as creativity begets creativity in a lot of cases. At the endo of the month- or the beginning of the next month, I’ll be copying those posts from Facebook and archiving them as blog posts.

August 12th 2021

It’s #ThrowbackThursday! YAY!- So I will be resharing an old memory and a piece attached to it.This past week’s new moon had me thinking bout this piece.https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/…/lunar…/21815638…I wrote Lunar Tides while I was thinking about my grandpa and how he made sure I got piano lessons when I was a kid after I was figuring out my younger brother’s lesson songs and movie songs by ear. It is because of him (and my piano instructor 🙂 ) that I was eventually able to articulate the music that I was hearing in my head and start the journey to becoming a Composer. Lunar Tides was written under the moon and the underlying broken chord accompaniment flows, much like water. A friend and fellow composer, Carol Ann Smolka once called it “spa music”, which made me chuckle, but I must say the description fits! Give it a listen and you’ll hear what she meant. #newmusic#vocalmusic#solomusic#composer

August 19th 2021

Aah, August: The perfect time to walk into a store and see all of the……Halloween Decorations?!? Not that I necessarily mind of course 🙂This #ThrowbackThursday had me thinking about my favorite holiday and how it was the only time I was allowed out after dark as a kid and could dress up as one of the creatures of my imagination. It was also the time that Mr. Adams, my Elementary Music Teacher would break out the Halloween music and I’d delight in singing the songs that sounded nothing like the cheerful happy songs we sang the rest of the year. Have you seen the Ghost of Tom/ John? My Old Black Cat and You Better Watch Out! are the ones I still sing, sometimes in August, to this day. One year he had a whole assembly/ party where the entire elementary school showed up in costume and sang Halloween songs together. I was a sleepy soccer player ( I wore soccer pj’s and carried around a soccer-ball-shaped pillow- being inventive with cheap to make costumes was something I had fun with), but I specifically remember someone dressed up as the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz completely with a metal garbage can body and full metallic makeup.Anyway, enough rambling.Here is the piece/ arrangement that is associated with this memory. Please enjoy, or purchase for your own Halloween-related #Brass shenanigans!https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/…/this-is…/21874496…

August 26th 2021

Happy Thursday Friends and Music Fans,Today’s #throwbackthursday piece brings back memories. When I needed an escape growing up, my way of dealing with emotions like fear anger, and sadness, and needing to feel protected was to find an instrument, usually a piano but in this case a PINK guitar, and just improvise. To this day, I still don’t understand exactly what I am doing on the guitar beyond the names of the basic chords, though maybe someday I’ll take lessons. 🙂Anyway, this was created with a vamp of 2 chords that I would play, and I’d imagine a jam over it.Fast forward to the end of college where I was asked to provide music for a game, but that is a different memory for another day.🙂 Using Finale, I created an ending theme using this vamp and the jam I heard in my head for all of those years. Although the notation is atrocious, the sonic result is delightful and sounds pretty close to my imagination.https://samanthahogan-composer.bandcamp.com/…/mellow…

ZFestival- a July 2021Adventure!

This past month I participated in the first Composition Festival I have in a long time- ZFestival.

I first heard about ZFestival from a fellow Twin Cities Based Composer, Johnathan Posthuma. When I first applied to participate, as per usual fashion for me, I HAD LITERALLY NO IDEA WHAT I WAS GETTING MYSELF INTO! That was on purpose. 🙂

So what is this festival you ask? ZFestival is an online month long festival where they pair you with artists, composers and musicians from all over the world ( but mostly North America) and tell you to go create something.

They also have workshops and talks with guest artists and It’s all online. That’s right. I didn’t even have to leave my house or wear pants to participate in this event. ( I mean, I did wear pants except for that one time I wore a skirt. It’s just that it wasn’t required.)

Also, unbelievably, it’s FREE to participate.

They had 3 tracks this year for composers to participate in. The one I was chosen for was a multidisciplinary track.

The group consisted of Clarissa Littler, Timothy Leimu Sillman Walters, Tyler Katz, and Myself. So, a group of composers, multi instrumentalists, an amatur watercolor artist , and a computer programmer (Their instrument was listed as Math) who may or may not have doubled on these skills with prior knowledge that that was what they were going to do.

To create the project, we decided to trade pieces and record and engineer them from our own homes. A lot of Trial and Error on my end was had.

The final Gala Took place on July 31st and August 1st 2021. It was amazing to see what all of these groups came up with and celebrate their creativity. Our Project, which resembles a Prog Rock Space Opera with improvised live visual programming , was on August 1st and is the second one on the program.

As a BONUS and for your viewing pleasure, please watch the product of the 48 Hour Challenge I did with Tim, along with the rest of the projects. The prompt was…interesting to say the least. XD

You can learn more about ZFestival by visiting zfestival.org

What’s New in the life of Sam?

Well, lots of things as a matter of fact. First of all, I applied to be accepted to a 12 day Summer Composition intensive in Indiana and….I GOT ACCEPTED!!! This is an awesome opportunity as I will get to study with professional composers such as Zae Munn, Michael Schelle, Kristin Kuster,  Jay Batzner,  and Joshua Marquez, meet and network with other young composers who have similar musical goals in mind, and learn some new techniques to broaden my horizons. I will also be working my tail off in the near future to save for this learning experience (though I will also be gratefully accepting donations so that I can justifiably afford to eat).

Secondly,I’ve recently heard back From Avguste Antonov concerning the upcoming CD with Cumulus Humilis on it and that is nearing it’s final stages. As a contributing composer to his Debut album, I am both honored and excited.

Thirdly, for your playing Pleasure (or agony), several new Scribbles and Doodles have been released. Please feel free to investigate these and if you wish to perform any of them, they are free of charge, though it would be appreciated if you would send a copy of any programs.If your instrument is not there, do not worry. It will likely make it on there in the near future. Also, any recommendations or requests for a new scribble are always welcome.

Fourthly, I wrote a new Band Piece! This one is very different from most other works I’ve produced as of yet due to its placid simplicity. It is called Reverence and was composed with a young or small band in mind. The profound Fraggle Rock quote from Cantus the Bard ” There is Movement in the stillness just as there is Music in the silence.” was the main inspiration for the mood of this piece (as well as the 2 night long bout of insomnia and boredom from not sleeping). I tried to Follow Steven Bryant’s advice that he gave to me during a very fortunate meeting at Midwest last December, which was to build off of a simple motive rather than be programmatic, and kept the lessons that were learned talking to music educators teachers about needs in repertoire and what would help their students in mind. Hopefully, I’ve succeeded…or at least come close.

Fifthly, life has been a whirlwind of musical performance meeting real life lately. A midst preparing to move out into an apartment this summer and searching for a new job (as sadly I must leave my library campus job when I graduate), life has had an interesting way of creating musical opportunities that present themselves to keep one busy. Since February, I’ve been singing with  the Youngstown Trinity United Methodist Church  on a regular basis (my first full time church choir gig since 2008), performing in several concerts (Trombone day,  The C.P.E. Bach premiere,  multiple recitals and others) writing essays, and working on Scribbles and Doodles to keep myself composing on a regular basis. Any spare time has been spent organizing, practicing and rehearsing groups for an upcoming recital.

Speaking of which, the planning for the Sr. Composition recital is well underway. This will take place April 25th  5pm at Trinity United Methodist Church in Youngstown. thanks to 23 willing Victims  musicians who graciously volunteered to play my music. Stay Tuned for an update on the program.

 

 

My Latest Expirament

Thanks to my composition inquisitor (aka teacher), I have been working on a piece completely unlike any other I have attempted as of yet. Scott challenged me to  abandon my usual frame of having a story to compose  and instead  write what is called a Visual-Spacial notation piece. Basically the piece does not have bar lines to designate strict meter subdivisions. Instead, it leaves it up to the performers to designate where the musical figure is to fit within where the designated time specifies. It calls for ordered improvisation with a demand for the group to play as an ensemble.  So far, the piece looks like this:

(Click picture for a larger view)

Composing this piece has forced me to think more freely about musical lines and textures and to consider multiple possibilities for the building blocks of a work.  Along the way, my teacher has had me looking at various scores with non-traditional notation by Cage, Varese and others I may not have picked up otherwise and we have discussed them in our lesson. Many Cagian  ideas such as indeterminacy have made it into this piece as a result. For example, I got the idea for how to break up the time by rolling dice except for the 30 second section, where I anticipate the performer to successfully make a sandwich with the ingredients already set (mainly because I timed this myself at home).

Other than the fact that I am using kitchen percussion and adding the humorous element of a musician making a sandwich for no other reason than to add improvised non- traditional sounds, this piece lacks a preconceived story and instead has its own underlying framework. Although I anticipate that the piece will sound “wonkey” if and when it is performed, I have enjoyed trying to think within this loose structure.

Highlights from the Last Month

So, it’s been awhile since I have had time to post anything on here. 1 month in Internet time is equivalent to “like forever” in real world time as we all know. In order to make up for that time, I will attempt to explain the highlights  in a nutshell:

1) Cumulus Humilis was performed 3 times by Avguste Antonov the week of the New Music concerts at the end October. In that time, he was approached by Hartshorn record company in NY to record a cd of New piano works. To make a long story short (too late) he chose my piece to record on the Cd and I am still ecstatic!!!

2)New Pieces have been written- As an added unexpected feather in my cap, I was asked to write music for the upcoming Worlds Quest browser game. This was my first official video game related project and I am elated to say that my first attempt was a success .To sum things up, they liked it-a lot and I am grateful. The game will be released  on December 20th.

Also, I have been working on a new experiment at the request of Scott. I will be writing a blog post about it shortly. Other plans include creating a  collection of one page solos for  from all of the 8 bar excerpts that were composed for Instrumentation class this semester. I am debating calling the collection Doodles and Scribbles or something to that effect.

Desiree Carrion and I after Carols and Cocoa 2013

3) I played my last Carols and Coccoa concert of my undergrad. This was a surreal experience as it is hard to believe that the time has flown that quickly. Kudos to my friend (and soon to be SAI sister) Desiree Carrion for having her first arrangement for Trombone ensemble performed. God Rest Ye Marry Trombonists was a ball to perform for a last hurrah ,and I especially cracked up singing the Lyrics “to save us all from Schoenberg’s Music when we’ve gone astray”. For a three hour plus long annual concert that we all complain about, I’m sure going to miss performing in it-sort of.

4) In November, I helped premier  a piece for Trombone quartet by fellow composer Richard Zacharias called Pardon My Slide with my friends Mariah Bailey, Bo Violette and Andrew Stamp. I also had the honor of Performing The Dance of Spring for Yanda Zhu’s Graduate Composition Recital. If you haven’t heard of him, you probably will soon.