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Rhonda Taylor | Audition

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Album Links
NMSU Faculty Page for Rhonda Taylor Composer Rick Burkhardt Rhonda Taylor's live recording of "Ghosts" by Chris Arrell Rhonda Taylor's recording of "the milliner's fancy" by Jeffrey Mumford

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United States - New Mexico

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Classical: Postmodern Avant Garde: Electro-Acoustic Moods: Featuring Saxophone
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by Rhonda Taylor

World premiere recording of saxophone music by modern composer Rick Burkhardt.
Genre: Classical: Postmodern
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. El Avion Grande
11:12 album only
2. Take Cover Story (feat. Rose Drucker)
5:36 album only
3. Audition (feat. Ron Stabinsky)
14:19 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
about the music

Rick Burkhardt wrote El Avion Grande for Kelland Thomas in 1996. Thomas premiered El Avion Grande at the 1997 ThreeTwo Festival in New York. The work consists of seven sections, each of which contains a dialogue between two sonic extremes, such as quiet/loud, high/low, short/long, etc. The text is from Federico Garcia Lorca’s Poet in New York, and is presented throughout the work at varying levels of intelligibility. Burkhardt writes that “Lorca considered the idea of a poet in New York an oxymoron. Nowadays he would be deported.”

Rick Burkhardt writes about Take Cover Story:
In Take Cover Story (1993), two systems attempt to inhabit the same cage. One is a circling system which peers at isolated building blocks, trying to discern its (melodic) continuity from a series of progressively rotated vantage points. The second is a system of waves whose arrivals accelerate, piling (unmelodic) sound forms onto the same building blocks. The likely conflict between these two systems (which is a conflict of semantic character as much as a conflict between incompatible modes of sound production) can also stimulate sudden moments of surprise "assistance": for example, a wave impels connections which (briefly) reveal the circling melody; static circling becomes a field to (briefly) "host" the emerging waveshapes, etc. In a longer piece, these "assistances" could expand into formal states; here, they propel the music into a kinetically-imposed endgame (therefore also semantically-imposed), a decision (left unmade) between a small handful of implied syntheses whose potentially resolving "soundnesses" remain in conflict.
I imagined helicopters, with their circling propellers (which on film can be seen to stand still or circle backwards) producing a think hum of discreet, sometimes audible pulses. The hurtling motions of these machines first appeared to me on televisions, with the subdued rustle (and the size) of dignified birds, hovering venerably over ancient and dusty landscapes. The wind, the noise, the weight, the danger, the fact that helicopters are built at all, were glossed over, flattened and placated by a narrative whose lullaby-effect outdid previous (historical) incitements to violence: this was an incitement to violence in our sleep, sung to by a subconscious that was fully aware no helicopter was ever peaceful. I wanted to enter that mechanical hum, to explore that awareness. Take Cover Story did so from a respectful (but I could have said "fearful") distance.

Rick Burkhardt composed Audition for Rhonda Taylor in 2000. In this work, Burkhardt comments in general on the strangeness of performances/auditions, where, despite what one might be concerned with on a meta-level (whether it be artistic or political or something else), she is often expected by others to report/perform certain specific tasks that may have little long-term value. The text is by Rick Burkhardt. Taylor gave the World Premiere of Audition at the 12th World Saxophone Congress in Montreal in July of 2000, and the U.S. Premiere at the ThreeTwo Festival of New Music in New York City in October 2000. Regarding Audition, Burkhardt offers this quotation from Robert Ashley:
"I can’t think, unless I am being interrogated. Which is, in the case of thinking, why we don’t have very many free-standing thoughts. We have answers. I catch myself doing this. I wake up in the middle of the night in the middle of a complicated argument, and I realize that I am answering to something that hasn’t even been asked. It’s as though I am interrogating myself. There is no kidding myself that this is a meditation. I am on trial. Or arguing for something. And so I have begun to notice this in a lot of writing. We don’t have meditations, thoughts. We have answers."

about the musicians

Rick Burkhardt (b.1970) is a composer, playwright, and songwriter whose original chamber music, theater, and text pieces have been performed in over 40 US cities, as well as in Europe, Mexico, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. In 2006 he received his PhD in Music Composition from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied with Chaya Czernowin. He is a founding member of The Nonsense Company, an award-winning experimental music-theater trio that since 2005 has given hundreds of performances around the country. His original songs (written for the political cabaret duo The Prince Myshkins, for which Burkhardt plays accordion) have been performed and recorded by musicians around the English-speaking world. His play "Conversation Storm," published in the anthology "Plays and Playwrights 2009," will be released as a feature film in 2010, starring The Nonsense Company.

Violinist Rose Drucker (b.1979) enjoys a diverse career as an orchestral and chamber musician, performing in Boston area groups including the Orchestra of Emmanuel Music, Boston Philharmonic and Discovery Ensemble, a chamber orchestra committed to bringing exciting classical music to concert audiences as well as children in their own schools and communities. Ms. Drucker is also second violinist of the Arneis Quartet. Recent performances with Arneis include appearances in New York at Carnegie Weill Recital Hall as prize winners of the 2010 International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition and Juilliard’s Paul Hall, as well as festivals at the Banff Centre in Canada, Stanford University, Deer Valley, Utah and concerts in Boston and New England. In addition to performing Bach Cantatas at Emmanuel Music since 2004, Rose has appeared on the Chamber Music and Solo Bach series at Emmanuel and was a Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Fellow in the 2005-2006 season. Ms. Drucker has studied with Peter Zazofsky and Mark Rush and holds degrees from Boston University and the University of Arizona.

Saxophonist Rhonda Taylor (b. 1976) is dedicated to the creation and performance of meaningful sonic art of our time. She has worked with a variety of today’s most outstanding composers, including Bernard Rands, Robert Morris, Jeffrey Mumford, and Robert Lemay. She has also commissioned and premiered works by such emerging composers as Rick Burkhardt, Avi Tchamni, Justin Rubin, Chris Arrell, Ben Carson, and Jon Forshee. Her recent activities include presenting a recital of late 20th century solo saxophone works at Spivey Hall in Atlanta, lecture recitals on Gérard Grisey’s Anubis et Nout at institutions in the U.S. and abroad, solo performances at NASA Biennials, World Saxophone Congresses, and at new music festivals throughout the United States. Her primary teachers were Kelland Thomas at the University of Arizona and John Sampen at Bowling Green State University. She also studied with Jean-Marie Londeix and Jean-François Guay at Domaine Forget, and with Arno Bornkamp, Jean-Michel Goury, and Kenneth Radnofsky at the International Clarinet and Saxophone Connection at New England Conservatory. Dr. Taylor has been on faculty at New Mexico State University since 2003, where she is the College Professor of Saxophone and Music Theory.



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