Portfolio – Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard

CV (updated Sept 2019)

anima (2019)

for harp and percussion

excerpt (audio) suggestions:
a. 0:00-3:46
b. 8:53-10:30
c. 11:50-end

SCORE / mp3 (downloads)

"Voice is a particular sound made by something with a soul; for nothing which does not have a soul has a voice

Aristotle, De Anima (Book II)

anima highlights the anthropomorphic properties of both harp and percussion through an interplay between instruments and performer vocalization. For each non-linguistic utterance and articulation there exists an instrumental equivalent, and a continuum between voice and instrument is established at every point. Orchestrated as such, the piece dramatizes the instruments as entities with physical—organic—bodies, in a quest for some kind of “soul”.

The work is written and dedicated to friends Ben Melsky and Kyle Flens.

Instrumentation: harp (+ superballs (x3) and tuning wrench), percussion (1 player).

Duration: 13 minutes.

Premiere Performance: Sept. 28, 2019, Ensemble Dal Niente Season Opener, DePaul University, Chicago, IL.

suggested affinities

concerto for piano, ensemble (13 musicians) and electronics

excerpt suggestion:
15:50 to 21:30 (in the video this is 16:03 to 21:43)

SCORE / mp3 (downloads)

suggested affinities is a concerto for piano, accompanied by 13 musicians and electronics. The gravitational center is the piano sound itself, which is ramified and given new plasticity through its interaction with the ensemble, electronics, and an obbligato trio of timbrally related instruments (harp, vibraphone, and digital keyboard). The narrative of the composition explores affinities and differences between the piano and its related family members, between the acoustic and digital domains, and finally, between mechanized and animate sound.

The electronic component features realistic sounding meta-instruments—instruments with an unusually expanded palette for articulation, microtonal inflection, tessitura, resonance, and noise elements. Through the use of hardware “prosthetics”—localized speakers, keyboards, and/or pedals—the solo pianist and obbligato trio trigger digital instrumental simulations (with its new vocabulary of estranged possibilities) that blend in real-time with their acoustic counterpart.

suggested affinities is the culmination of research carried out over a series of works using meta-instruments written between 2014-17. It combines previous instrumental expansions and further develops the project by interacting with nonlinguistic vocality. Murmurs, breaths, groans and other emulations, are also included in the orchestration and electronics in an attempt to fashion a piano with a physical—organic—body. Thus, as the machine-like properties of the piano amplify, so does its dream of becoming a biological being.

Instrumentation: Flute/Piccolo/Bass Flute, Oboe, Clarinet/Bass Clarinet, Horn in F, Trumpet in C, Trombone, Percussion (1 player), Harp, Solo Piano/Solo Synthesizer, Synthesizer 2, Violin, Viola, Cello, Contrabass.

Duration: 23 minutes

Premiere Performance: May 04, 2018; Logan Center for the Arts; Ensemble Dal Niente, Winston Choi–soloist, and Michael Lewanski– conductor. Chicago, IL

two two (2015-16)

for eight musicians

I. lullaby

II. cuckoo

excerpt suggestions:
a.   movement i. - 1:40-3:03
b.   movement ii. – full 

SCORE / mp3 (i), (ii)(downloads)

two two, written for Ensemble Intercontemporain, presents two variations on two immutable fixed notes: a mid-register Bb descending to G. This "theme" does not undergo any manner of development, but rather, applies the principle of variation to the content surrounding them. Bb-G is repeated throughout the entire work, constantly finding itself in different contexts. The inspiration comes partially as a reaction to Morton Feldman’s “Madame Press Died Last Week at Ninety” (in which two flutes persistently repeat a major-third), and also from two types of music where oscillating thirds are prominent: lullabies and cuckoo clocks.

instrumentation: flute (doubling piccolo and bass flute), oboe, re-tuned clarinet (doubling bass clarinet), percussion (1 player), piano, viola, cello, contrabass.

duration: ca. 8 minutes.

premiere performance: June 27, 2015, by the Ensemble Intercontemporain, conducted by Lucas Vis. Le Centquatre, Paris.

© 2018 Igor Santos. All Rights Reserved.

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