Poetry? Jazz Piano? David Leach doesn’t see them as that different, and we asked him to give us a taste of why. Hear the full extent of his research, titled ‘The Long Watch: Original Poems/An Exploration of Poetic Voice’, tomorrow at the Senior Symposium.
In broad terms, what about T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Jorie Graham and Charles Wright spoke to you as a poet? How do they inspire you?
Each of these poets resonates with me on a range of wavelengths, from their philosophy and thematic material to the particularities of their syntax. With Graham, for example, I’m particularly captivated by a kind of desperation I hear in her voice and by the way she manipulates syntax to create the sense of the conceptual mind working at the absolute edge of its capacity. They are all very different poets, so it’s hard to generalize apart from saying that I’m inspired by each poet’s obvious commitment to their art, the depth of their engagement with language, and the vast scope of their inquiry into existence.
Has being a creative writing major impacted the way you play jazz piano?
Being a creative writing major has deeply impacted my piano-playing and vice-versa, so it’s hard to point to some aesthetic or some idea about the creative process and say “that came from poetry and affected my music” or “that came from music and changed how I write.” I hear language as music. I’m more in love with the sounds and rhythms of language than I am concerned with what it ostensibly means. At the same time, when I sit down at the piano to play, I find myself trying to shape time in the same way that poetry shapes experience through emotion, intellect, and intuition. Writing and music for me are like two halves of a rubber ball—without both together, nothing bounces.
Interview and photo by Christine Jay ‘16
This Friday, the Senior Symposium will take you on an afternoon-long journey through the important research of seniors at the college & conservatory. We’re catching up with some conservatory-specific students to give you a sneak peek!
Today’s feature is Rhys Hertafeld, whose project examines the physics of sound in Grisey’s Jour, Contre-Jour.
What does your Senior Symposium presentation entail, and how does Grisey “blur the lines between pitch and timbre”?
For this project I have analyzed the use of spectral techniques in Grisey’s Piece Jour, Contre-Jour.I will demonstrate how Grisey employs, in his own words, “sonic material that comes directly from the physics of sound.” These techniques blur the concepts of pitch and timbre into a single entity and ultimately challenge the traditional music theory notion that these musical parameters are completely separate.
Interview by Christine Jay ‘16
"Don Quixote in Western Classical Music" is just one of the presentations at this Friday’s Senior Symposium, and we were lucky enough to get the chance to ask Julia Connor just what her project is all about.
When was the first time you read Don Quixote and what about Don Quixote captivated you?
I first read a few of the more famous chapters of Don Quixote (ie the windmills) in AP Spanish in high school and read both volumes of the book in Spanish over the summer and during the first part of last semester.
In a nutshell, how did Don Quixote broadly impact Western Classical music?
The book is captivating because it has influenced so many facets of our lives in ways that we don’t often think about. There are hundreds of operas inspired by the book as well as a good number of symphonic works and ballets. The project explores the novel’s influence on Classical music outside of Spain, specifically in Italy, France, England, and Germany. The main thing to take away from the project is the amazing universality of the novel and the remarkable fact that over 400 years of musicians and composers have felt compelled to write music based on the adventures of Cervantes’ crazy caballero andante.
Interview and photo by Christine Jay ‘16
Students’ small jazz ensembles are performing this week and next week! There’s a concert tonight at 7 PM at the Cat in the Cream, and more on these dates:
Thursday, April 24 at 7:00 pm
Sunday, April 27 at 7:00 pm
Tuesday, April 29 at 7:00 pm
Thursday, May 1 at 7:00 pm
Sunday, May 4 at 7:00 pm
Tuesday, May 6 at 7:00 pm
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