‘mid the steep sky’s commotion

MoM 2017 Poster

Beautiful Folk,

It’s been a while since you’ve heard about any new music from me – but rest assured, I’ve been very hard at work, and now I’m thrilled to announce ‘mid the steep sky’s commotion, a new piece composed for the acclaimed Grammy-nominated choir The Crossing (they’re amazing, truly), in collaboration with visual artist Caroline Santa (also amazing). The Crossing will premiere the work on June 11, 2017 as the first concert of their 2017 Month of Moderns, in the Crane Arts Icebox in Philadelphia, PA. The work explores the enigmatic and impenetrable quality of wind, its singular and intimate relationship to the detritus of a city, and what this relationship suggests about language, time, and transience. Heady, but oh so cool.

Mark your calendars – this one is going to be special:

Sunday, June 11 @ 4pm

The Icebox at Crane Arts
1400 N. American St.
Philadelphia, PA 19122

Get your tickets here!

And stay tuned: over this next week, I’ll be sharing a bit about my process in writing the piece, with images and sounds, poems and musings.

Finally, if you’d like to learn more and contribute towards the work, go here.

Thanks, dear friends, and see you on June 11th!

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Premiere!

rivers-still-1

A new work featuring:
Bethany Brooks
Daniel Delaney
Lea Fulton
Gabrielle Revlock
Megan Wilson Stern
Ben Stamper

Saturday, November 8, 8PM
Trinity Center for Urban Life
22nd and Spruce Street, Philadelphia
Sponsored by City Church Philadelphia

$10 online, $13 at the door (student discounts available)

BUY TICKETS | GET DIRECTIONS

All Good People,

I’m thrilled to announce the premiere of RIVERS, a new six-movement work written for prepared piano, prepared cello, dance, and film. RIVERS is the first chapter of Elements, a four-part multimedia series exploring the physical, environmental, and cultural significance of the four classical elements (water, air, fire, earth), and the specific ways their movements have shaped Philadelphia. RIVERS explores the dynamic relationship between the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers and the city recognized as the cradle of liberty and the birthplace of America.

Below are some special visual treats and more information about the piece. Read on to enjoy, and then get your tickets. The piece is really coming together beautifully, and we can’t wait to share it with you.

Be well, friends, and see you soon,

Josh


MEDIA (click on each image to watch)

RIVERS – Teaser Trailer

Where Bright Angel Feet Have Trod – Movement II

PBS State of the Arts Behind-the-Scenes Feature


ABOUT

At once a picture of stasis and motion, calm and turbulence, nourishment and destruction, rivers are a contradiction. Topography is shaped and reshaped, communities are separated and created. A critical source of water and food; a vital means of transportation, energy, bathing, irrigation; even a central figure to religious narrative and practice — rivers carry on with no regard for human beings, and yet their presence shapes humanity in profound ways. It is small wonder that rivers have captured our cultural, philosophical, and spiritual imaginations for millennia.

The piece, like the subject of its inspiration, is an exploration of disparate qualities that somehow exist comfortably in tandem: change and constancy, pattern and irregularity, danger and whimsy. Each element — music, dance, film — relates to the other in startling ways. Dancers affect the music with preparations of bolts, wine corks, tin-foil, and thread; sweeps of cinematic images anticipate, mirror, and echo gestures occurring on stage; musicians and dancers interact with their own “reflections” on screen. The roles of dance, film, and music are shifted, tumbled, turned around, and blurred; like river currents crashing into one another, or collections of small stones orbiting in an eddy; like the millions of human impacts and adjustments that daily define a city.

RIVERS is for those engaged and invested in questions of urban renewal — city planners, students, conservationists, artists, social workers, and educators; for those who have reckoned with the brokenness and inequity embedded in civic system and practice, yet maintain a vision of the city as a potential fountainhead of profound flourishing and wholeness. The audiences for RIVERS are the individuals and communities who see hope and promise in working towards a thorough and nuanced symbiosis of human culture and nature. RIVERS is written for Philadelphia.

One never steps in the same river twice. RIVERS celebrates the here and now, engaging with a particular time and a particular place. It invites its audience to experience the calm and turbulence, the shaping and reshaping, of a city and its culture.


RIVERS is supported in part through grants from the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Composers Forum, the Eric Stokes Fund “Earth’s Best In Tune”, and Lincoln City Fellowships / Speranza Foundation.

RIVERS

Movement of time, of water, of air and flame, of human beings: these are a few of my favorite things. Reckoning with the impossible calculus that instructs motions macro and micro, the closing of an eyelid, the surge of a wave, the peel of a race car around its track; this mesmerizing dynamism that is at once confounding and comforting is an increasingly irresistible pull for me.

Along these lines, I’m extremely happy to announce Elements, a four-part, multi-media (and multi-year!) series, exploring the physical, environmental, cultural, and philosophical/spiritual significance of the four classical elements (water, air, fire, earth), and the specific ways their movements have shaped the city of Philadelphia, its culture, and its history.

RIVERS, the first chapter in the series, is a picture of Philadelphia through the eyes of the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers.  Written for prepared piano and prepared cello (The Brooks-Delaney Duo), dance (Lea Fulton), and film (Ben Stamper), and funded in part by the American Composers Forum, The Eric Stokes Fund “Earth’s Best in Tune”, and The Speranza Foundation, performances are set for fall of 2014 with a DVD/download release to follow shortly after. Take a gander at the trailer below, and stay tuned for regular updates!

The river is of the earth
and it is free. It is rigorously
embanked and bound,
and yet is free. “To hell
with restraint,” it says.
“I have got to be going.”
It will grind out its dams.
It will go over or around them.
They will become pieces.

~ Wendell Berry, Give It Time, from Leavings