James Drew passed away Dec. 23, 2010.
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Vist his web site for more information.
“I’m still asked the following question,” the composer writes, “How does one create musical images whose basic shapes retain their identity even though they are created from indeterminate processes? My solutions haven’t changed much from 1963, when I composed Lute in the Attic (see Cage’s Notations for score example) and continue today with Scratchbook Pieces 2006. In the process I developed over the years I use a standard array of quasi-conventional notation, but with an expanded sound vocabulary. I also use a dialectical process of combining sound images that’s similar to a kind of iso-rhythmic circle. In other words, the melodic/harmonic images (which are linear-goal directed) operate in a non-linear space, which is self-referential. There is always some part of the overall sound imagery that is being heard in a work at any given time. In my Greywolf Online Composition Studio (www.greywolf-artistry.com), students ask many questions about variation processes, creating form, silence in music, early chant to tone-clusters, conventional and indeterminate notation, and questions about composing for various instruments. In our current period, it’s extremely encouraging to see that there are so many very talented intelligent young people who will make important contributions to the valued aspects of our culture. Bravo!”
Whispering at the Edges of Heaven, was introduced in 2006 via live Internet broadcast from Frankfurt, Germany, while the Coro Odyssea of Lisbon, Portugal presented the premieres of Alleluia and Scratchbook Series: Vox Organalis.
Several works received performances during 2006, including Talking Circle by Resonanz Percussions, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Lute in the Attic, by soprano Elie Zoft in London, England; Dublin Dream Songs, by soprano Nanette Ore in Liverpool, England; Solemn Acts in Rain, by the Ryan/Blake Duo, in Warwick, England; and the piano work Scratchbook Pieces was performed by the composer in Chicago, IL.
Whispering at the Edges of Heaven, chamber/radiotheatre versions; Sounding Stillness, solo violin; “Vox Organalis,” from Scratchbook Series; Alleluia, SATB; Greywolf Singing, solo cello; and Tzigane, violin concerto.
Whispering at the Edges of Heaven, Wavefield Ensemble under the direction of the composer.
A recording project devoted to James Drew’s works, which includes both the composer’s instrumental and vocal chamber works, has been undertaken by James Fulkerson’s Barton Workshop in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Drew’s “in-progress” Handbook of Classical Improvisation (ranging from Bach to experimental processes) is scheduled to be published in 2006 by Artistry Press International. It is based on Drew’s personal history as an improvising pianist and from his intuitive collaboration projects. His most recent collaboration is with visual artist Bee KC Tan, where unscheduled changing processes of their installation in the Singapore Arts Festival (The Theatre of Ukiyo-e) function through sound, mirrors, kinetic clay figures, and deep layers of moving silk. James Drew and Mary Gae George of the Greywolf Performing Arts Institute have recently designed additional children’s music and theatre projects which will be available via the internet in 2006 at: www.greywolf-artistry.com.
Funeral St. March was premiered in Amsterdam by J. Fulkerson and H. Jeffreys. The Kalvos Ensemble premiered New Orleans Requiem on WGKR-Vermont. K.C. Tan and the composer installed The Theatre of Ukiyo-e in Singapore for the 2005 Singapore Arts Festival.
Several of the composer’s works have been performed internationally the past season, including: Ukiyo-e by the Singapore String Quartet, Singapore; The Lute In The Attic by Charles von Tassel and the Barton Ensemble; and Animating Zero Degree by the Barton Workshop, Amsterdam; Metal Concert by Ubang Percussions, London, England, U.K.; and Solemn Acts in Rain, J. Ryan/M. Solas, Liverpool, England, U.K.
The Sky Re-Tuned, two pianists; In Memoriam: J. C. Higginbottom, solo trombone; New Orleans Requiem, solo cello; and Classical Symphonies for re-configured orchestras; all by Artistry Press International.
Ukiyo-e, Singapore String Quartet; AGW Recording. The Orangethorpe Aria, Leslie Morgan and the Mirecourt Trio; Cinnabar Recordings.