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The CURIOUS EAR An Adventure in the Composer’s Workshop

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The CURIOUS EAR 

ECHO Chamber Orchestra will present a series of three webinars to explore the compositional process online in real time with composer Belinda Reynolds, conductor Daniel Canosa and musicians from the ECHO. This is an opportunity for participants to watch and listen as the composer brings the skeleton of a new work and begins the work of colorizing it with the orchestral instruments.  ECHO musicians will play fragments of music in different ways, taking time to point out interesting aspects of their instruments.  Webinar participants will be invited to offer suggestions that will be played in real time as a new element in the process.

The Curious Ear is designed for the creative musical community of ECHO to come together with listeners to use the Zoom online format as a positive contribution to bringing a new composition into being.  Belinda Reynolds notes that much of a composer’s work is solitary.  In ordinary circumstances, musicians only engage with pieces when they are complete.  Over her career Belinda has developed a workshop aspect to composing new works for many musical organizations.  The Curious Ear webinar takes this approach online and invites participants into the workshop with Belinda and the musicians.

The first session, on January 11th, begins with a piano rendition of a section of the new work. Musicians playing the higher instruments of the orchestra will play portions of this, trying it in different ranges of their instruments with a variety of articulations and expressive ideas.  In an interactive process between players, composer, conductor and listeners a version will be created to record for the next step of creating the piece.

In the second session on January 18th, a similar process will work with the lower instruments of the orchestra.  Participants will notice distinct differences between winds, strings and percussion instruments themselves as well as the roles they take within a piece of music.  After ideas are explored, passages will be recorded by the lower instruments.

The final webinar of The Curious Ear will be on February 1st.  In this session, Belinda will present an edited and mixed recording using material from the first two sessions.  Belinda will play the piano rendition of the excerpt used in the previous workshops. Having studied, edited and mixed the recordings made in CE 1 and 2, Belinda will “unveil” this section of ECHOS with a more complete orchestration and her chosen expressive details.  Reactions and observations from attending musicians and listeners will be shared. Belinda will take notes to reflect on for the final version of the work. There may be time for Belinda to offer a “taste” of another section of the piece, inviting attendees to experience and share their thoughts about it through email. 

When public performances are again allowed, ECHO will perform the new piece “ECHOS” live.

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