This set of piano preludes was inspired by a series of paintings by Baltimore based painter Jim Condron who I met at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts (VCCA) on residency in the summer of 2015. I was fascinated by his process of working, and upon his departure, he gifted me the following painting, Home is a failed idea: Prelude VI (1:42).
At VCCA in 2015, I started seeing and believing in my ideas as much as my notes on the page. Equally as much as my connection between the emotive and physical, the spiritual realm started to speak for me. Jim’s painting and approach to creating a fluid process between making and feeling spoke volumes to my process.
Last summer pianist Holly Roadfedlt approached me about the idea of participating in a project involving women. I met Holly through a long-time collaborator friend, Michael Hall. Her playing is splendid, and her ideas poetic. Artists with this balance stay. I have now written five pieces for Michael. Our connections led to most of my creative and educational work since we met in 2009.
Holly’s For Lisa project, music written by women composers, tells a story prompted by one of Holly’s piano students. In her lesson, the gifted 13-year old student asked Holly why she was only studying music by men. Although, Holly has frequently performed music written by women, it was an enlightening moment when her student teaches the teacher. Pieces on this project include music by Mara Gibson, Joan Tower, Clara Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn, Michelle McQuade Dewhirst, Kala Pierson, Julia Seeholzer, and more. Additionally, Holly is playing the Preludes as a part of her Preludes Project.
My Preludes, as a group titled Conundrums, are gesturally and structurally motivated by Jim’s paintings. Each prelude takes a different painting and sonically “reads” the work. Woven throughout the series, Holly’s student stories emerge, sometimes as quotations, sometimes as more emotive expressions. I began composing these pieces while at the MacDowell Colony summer 2016.
Prelude I: For Saturday (1:40)
Prelude II: The few miracles (attributed to the angel showed a certain mental disorder) (2:05)
Prelude III: I have saved all my ribbons for thee (1:20)
Prelude IV: The bones becoming light (2:00)
Prelude V: I have tried in my way to be free (1:08)
Holly will premiere the preludes in the spring and summer 2017, and they will be featured on my 2nd CD through PARMA. Join us June 19 at UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance (WRH at 7:30 pm) in Kansas City!
Conundrums (2016), Mara Gibson
Prelude 1: For Saturday
Prelude 2: The few miracles attributed to the angel
Prelude 3: I have saved all my ribbons for thee
Prelude 4: The bones becoming light – dedicated to Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016)
Prelude 5: I have tried in my way to be free – dedicated to Noah Matthew Siegel (1989-2014)
Prelude 6: Home is a failed idea
Duration: approximately 13 minutes