On April April 13th, 2014, architect and artists David Ross and Mark Dutcher hosted a unique salon/party at their home to celebrate Ernst L. Kirchner’s painting, “Bathers at Moritzburg.” Inspired by the work, I composed “Die Badende” as my contribution to this multifaceted celebration of Kirchner’s works. With an art installation by Danielle McCullough and a reading of new poems by Eve Wood, this art salon was an inspiring and refreshing collaborative event between diverse artistic perspectives.
I would love for these kinds of events need to happen more in the classical world. Out of all of the concerts, festivals, and showcases that I have participated in, the reception of my piece by the art-enthusiasts in attendance was one of the warmest I have ever received-there was an uplifting sense of curiosity and thankfulness that I haven’t experienced in a typical “new music” concert setting.
Historically, chamber music originated in the homes of the aristocracy as a form of entertainment and subsequently moved to the concert stage as it developed. For those to whom it was inaccessible, chamber music became a prohibitive barrier communicating a sense of elitism and power over the less wealthy. Mark and David’s event conveyed the exact opposite sentiment, the doors were open for all to come in and enjoy art and music directly. While conducting the performance of my piece, I felt as if I was returning to my own version of the idealized roots of chamber music. I found a deep sense of artistic satisfaction of composing music away from a stage directly to an audience.
Composing for an event like this was one of the most rewarding artistic endeavors I have had the chance to participate in. It became a way of avoiding the intensity of composition showcases that are often the only performance opportunities that a student composer can partake in. It was also an opportunity to compose and perform for people who wouldn’t normally be able to experience a piece of “classical music” that is only a few weeks old.
My peers and I tend to take the composition of contemporary classical music for granted, but this change of an audience was a way for me to really understand the rare emotive abilities of our craft. I obviously have nothing against composers, but I can’t say there is a more unsettling spectacle than an audience full of composers feverishly analyzing nearly every aspect of your composition as it occurs.
I would like give a special thank you to both David Ross and Mark Dutcher for commissioning my piece and holding this event.