r/evolution for solo tenor saxophone

T. Davis / contemporary

Website(s) : http://www.saxophonetommy.squarespace.com/

This world premiere piece for solo tenor saxophone by Fitzell and Davis will explore various timbral and textural possibilities. This piece is influenced by electroacoustic sounds.

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Gordon Fitzell is a Canadian composer, performer and media artist. His music played by Eighth Blackbird sextet, whose Grammy-winning album strange imaginary animals features two of his works. His work has been presented at major festivals including Festival Synthèse Bourges, Darmstadt Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik, ISCM World Music Days (Sweden; Belgium), Lisbon Architecture Triennale (Portugal), Tanglewood Music Festival(USA), and the International Sound Art Festival.
Tommy Davis, Montreal-based saxophonist, is a performer of new solo and chamber music, focusing on pieces for electronics, video as well as mixed media involving dancers, electronics and improvisation. He has premiered works by Philippe Geiss, Robert Lemay, Denis Levaillant, Etienne Rolin and Pedro Velasquez.

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Gordon Fitzell is a composer, performer and media artist, and is currently associate Dean for the Marcel A. Desautels Faculty of Music at the University of Manitoba in Canada. He is active as a composer and performer of mixed media pieces utilizing live electronics, live video projection, improvisation and graphic scores. Tommy Davis and Fitzell collaborated at the 2014 Sask New Music Festival, performing his piece Metropolis for saxophone, piano and live electronics. This piece explores ideas of interval relationships as they relate to synasthesia and utilizes coloured photographs overlaid with the graphic notation. All elements of the score remain open for interpretation and therefore it relies heavily on improvisation and live sound diffusion for performances.
Wanting to explore further the possibilities of the saxophone, Fitzell agreed to write a commissioned piece for Davis for Strasbourg. This piece will investigate further the possibilities of the tenor saxophone in a solo setting, specifically transitions in timbre and texture as the performer transitions between key-clicks, key-clicks with air, sub-tone, normal-tone and articulations such as slap-tongue, tongue-ram, staccato and accents. More lyrical passages with pitch alterations such as bisbigliandi and vibrato will contrast the rhythmic sections, which will consist of contracting and expanding scalular and argpeggiated figurations, starting from small fragments and eventually expanding to utilize the altissimo range as well. These repeated scalular and arpeggiated figures will be connected by long circular breathing passages and will utilize new over-tone and false fingering techniques as well as growling and fluttertongue, similar to techniques used by Evan Parker (UK) and Colin Stetson (Canada) to develop the piece. Fitzell is interested specifically in the transitions of sound between these different techniques as well as the resulting timbral and textural possibilities.
An acoustic piece, it will be heavily influenced by Fitzell’s history working with mixed media and will include aspects of electroacoustic music. In order to present this multilayered piece, Fitzell has proposed a multiple-stave score format in order to display the simultaneous levels of sound production, (eg. of staves 1. scales and arpeggios 2. articulations 3. voice alterations). Although it will utilize primarily standard notation for the scales and arpeggio figures, as the piece builds towards the climax, more gestural passages will be notated, which will serve to increase intensity to the final climax of the piece. This piece is a combined effort since the composer and performer will work on it in tandem during the compositional process to explore different possibilities and to create an idiomatic piece for the tenor saxophone. This will be a world premiere performance of a virtuosic solo piece, representing a Canadian perspective of the saxophone from composer and performer.


12/07/2015 13:30 - 14:00

Cité de la musique et de la danse - Salle 22

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  • Davis Tommy / Tenor saxophone (Canada)


  • r/evolution (Gordon Fitzell) / World Premiere

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