SOCAN and Butterflies

Oh hey, look at that, it’s been over a year since I posted something! Lucky for my I actually have something to say …!

News #1: I somehow managed to win first place with the SOCAN Young Composers’ Award in the Godfrey Ridout vocal category with my Norwegian piece Øst for vinden (tying with Anna Pidgorna). It’s quite humbling to learn my work has actually been recorgnised by my peers, and frankly, quite encouraging! You can read more about it here (and read more abou the winner of the grand prize, Marielle Groven, a former classmate of mine and another fantastic addition to the composer community): http://www.socan.ca/news/marielle-groven-wins-socan-foundation%E2%80%99s-2013-john-weinzweig-grand-prize

News #2: The lovely talented Sarah Albu has commissioned me to write two short pieces for solo voice, for her project “Trick Pony”, an amazing one-woman powerhouse contemporary solo voice show. You can hear some excerpts here: http://sarahalbu.bandcamp.com/album/trickpony. I dared to write about a butterfly and a moth. Just because.

News #3: I put up some excerpts of my more melodic work I’ve done with Digital Development Communications. Also just because.

And, I know this was ages ago, but the director finally got his Tedx talk online, so – this is the head of the team with whom I have the joy to work, and what he has to say:

Hope y’all had a great 2013 – now onwards to 2014!

Ost for vinden concert

I realised I didn’t post an update about my crazy Norwegian piece! It went SUPERBLY! Everyone was so professional and so dedicated that, really, it couldn’t have gone smoother. Everything was just – wow. I’m so lucky to be part of that group!  Here are excerpts of my piece!

And these are the Insane Composer™ and the ©Insane Musical Director (see previous post for reference):

Composer: Your bouquet is bigger than mine. Can I have it?
Musical Director: No.

 

TED Talks and Digital Development Communications

So I’ve been hired by contract in November by a video company called Digital Development Communications International, thanks to Luis Dechtiar, editor of the short film The Only Child  (2011), who works with this company.

I thought this was going to be a one-contract gig, and I was excited about it: DDC produces and features short videos concerning international social development,  health care, local businesses, and they needed me to create music appropriate to the culture of the subject.

I’ve been writing for them ever since. It’s fantastic for me, because of the experience, and how fast I had to write those cues despite my limted time (for those of you who don’t know me well enough, know that most of my hours are scheduled somehow with practices, rehearsals, “writing time”, and my part-time job … I’m kinda hard to catch sometimes …).

Most of these videos are commissioned by private clients and companies, so I never get to show them online. However, this week, Colby Gottert, the director, got to to a presentation in a series for TED talks. Though the talk isn’t up yet, he did create a series of his best images that he shot on-site suring the past five years, and man, are they gorgeous. We also used three of my cues and beefed them up as a score – so you can hear what type of music I do for them!

The video can be seen on the DDC’s home page, or right here – enjoy!

Concerto Della Donna & The Insane Composer Who Would Write In Norwegian

One day, a fantabulous women’s choir, known as Concerto Della Donna in Montréal, Québec, had the misadventure of admitting a new member in their group.

Top to bottom, left to right: Sarah Dowd, Sarah Albu, Dina Cindrič, Rebecca Dowd, Amena Ahmad, Naomi Shin, Andrea Bakker, Caitlin Gordon, Maia Häberle, Lindsey German, Katherine Black, Barrett Porter, Iwan Edwards, Kayla Grunfeld, Erika Wood, Marie-Claire Saindon, Sara Rousseau, Amelia McMahon - photo ©Richard Lam

This new member played it cool at first. She kept her head down and humbled herself in the most praiseworthy learning attitude.

"You cannot see me! I am self-effacing and humble! Meep!"

It didn’t last long. The newbie turned out to be an Insane Composer™, and no matter how much she folded up her sadistic impulses inside her weak human cage, it finally became known to all that she was, in fact a published Composer™.

Click me to buy the score!

(However, they yet had to discover just how Insane™ she really was.)

"I write music! Yeah baby! Praise me!"

Right.

Moving on.

Now, this Insane Composer™ needed a lesson in Humility®: it was all too apparent that her one single published piece made her too comfy. (Well, not financially, but that’s beside the point.) And the choir’s director saw that. (Or maybe he didn’t, and he’s then an ©Insane Musical Director, which is also very probable). Whatever may be the true reason, the ©Director, after learning of the true identity of the Insane Composer™, commissioned her to write a piece, stating thus:

“Insane Composer™!

Thou shalt prove thy worth to your musical sisterhood, Concerto Della Donna!

Thou shalt write a piece, a grand piece, and it must last 15 – no, 20 – no 25 – heck, just make it 30 – minutes …”

(Here the Composer™ gulps, as her published piece is only 2m45s long …)

” … and it shall be for this wonderful sisterhood of yours, Concerto Della Donna, to perform this grand piece, and you must also write it for trumpet – no, violin – and maybe add a cello in there – and dancers! And it shall be a grand gala!”

And this is when the Composer™ reveals her true Insanity™ by saying:

“Lo, I shall write it! And it shall be grand! And it shall be for trumpet – no, violin and cello and dancers and my wonderful musical sisterhood, Concerto Della Donna – and the story shall be of a Norwegian fairy tale, and the lyrics shall be in Norwegian, because none of us understands it and none of us know how to pronounce any Norwegian word!”

Humility® kicks in the moment after she sealed the deal, when she realises just how much work this proposition entails.

And so, ever since August 2012 (almost a year after the deal was sealed), Composer™ has been writing her lyrics, then sending them off to a translator to get them translated into Norwegian, then analysing the text when it was sent back to her in October, learning how to pronounce every single word (try saying “Nei, det er jeg ei”. Know how it sounds like, really? … “Naï, dé’ar (ï)yaï’aï”. And even then I’m not sure I have it right.), and once she feels ready, launching herself into writing for 17 voices and trumpet – no, violin and cello and dancers.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is how Concerto Della Donna taught Humility® to the Insane Composer™ Who Would Write In Norwegian.

Truly, though, this is a fun ride. And the fairy tale from which I’m delving is “East of The Sun and West of The Moon“, which I suggest you read if you’ve got 10 minutes free. If not, know that there’s a polar bear and a brave girl and a candle that makes something go funny and then the girl loses her prince who’s kidnapped by his evil stepmother that forces him to marry her ugly daughter and the girl rides the four winds to reach the palace East of The Sun and West of The Moon.

Drawn by the fantastic Rosie Lauren Smith - click to see more of her art

Yeah, it’s better if you just read it.

But the important part is with the Winds. Imagine this wonderful choir (listen to a clip here), with a professional violinist (Caroline Chéhadé) and cellist (Michael Nicolas) and four dancers choreographed by Katie Ward all depicting a scene where the girl must ride the four Winds in turn – the Young East, the Crotchety West, the Zen South, and the Violent North – to reach the palace East of the Sun and West of the Moon. That is what I’ve been working on, and though it will be far from perfect as far as writing goes, it will be an awesome performance if I pull through (voices are written – now for the violin & cello parts …). Another composer (ahem … Insane Composer™), James Galaty, is also writing for us now in Swedish, and the whole concert will be focused on Nordic music.

Join us on this crazy adventure, Tuesday, June 5th, 8pm, Pollack Hall (550 Sherbrooke West, Montréal) – most probably, the tickets will be around 20$, 10$ for students. After all I’ve said – how could you refuse? :D

(… again … thank you for reading my random ramblings!)

Hourly comics

So today, my roommate and I decided we were going to challenge ourselves doing a Hourly Comics project. The challenge consists of drawing one comic strip an hour for the entire day, totalling 12 to 14 strips.

This is if you can actually draw that fast. We discovered we don’t. We drew for 7 hours – Magali managed 6 strips (which you can find here), I managed 5, before we had to call it quits. In all though, not a bad attempt. We may have to do this more often, I still have topics galore to attack with the simple 4-panel strip format. I find my style is extremely stiff, so doing it more often will undoubtedly allow me to loosen up. I think it also has to do with having to draw smaller than to what I’m accustomed to make it fit all in those small-ish panels.

Speaking of loosening up, I’ve been practicing doing 10 to 15-minute sketches with a brush pen from Yoga magazine pictures. Not too shabby.

And last but not least, I’ve been trying to finally define a style for my long-term story. We’re moving away from Manga-style (not that there’s something wrong with that style, but I want to explore other venues!)

That’s enough drawings for now!

Whew! It had been so long since I’ve continuously drawn like this – I hope I’ll be able to sketch 10 to 15 minutes a day at least to get some speed and flexibility so I can finally start telling my story one day, instead of always referring to it!!

Until then, thanks for reading and checking out my random ramblings!

Viper

I guess I forgot to post this a while back. I drew this for my roommate’s birthday in July – this is her character, Viper, part of a story she writes with a friend. Slightly post-apocalyptic world, so I figured the sunsets would be interesting there – that and she seems to like to associate red with this character (I wonder why … *ahem*). This was done right after Girl Dreams of Sunset.

The Only Child

 

This is the trailer to the short film I scored this summer, The Only Child. Ghost story matched up with a youth facing her fears and moving on.

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