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Benjamin Taylor

Shipbreaking at SEAMUS


SEAMUS 2013 has officially wrapped up! This year’s conference by the Society for Electroacoustic Music in the US was hosted by the McNally Smith College of Music. As usual there were 15 concerts with tons of varied pieces including video, live electronics, an 8-channel speaker array, and some unusual instruments (think bowed cardboard, light sensors strapped to TV screens, and the such). Between concerts there were paper talks and demos of new technologies.

On Friday I performed Benjamin Taylor’s piece Shipbreaking for alto sax and Max/MSP. I met Ben at SEAMUS in 2011, which led to a consortium commission for Shipbreaking. It was exciting to have it selected for a performance at this year’s conference! Photo of concert setup above.

I also got to hang with Chris Chandler (who’s piece a thing of dream and mist I recently played at NYCEMF), plus see his SEAMUS commissioned piece Smoke and Mirrors performed by the wonderful Ensemble 61.

This year’s conference had some after hour performances at the local bar Amsterdam. Tonight’s group Sinister Resonance (photo below) was particularly awesome!


Talk with Benjamin Taylor

While on my Contour Lines mini-tour Benjamin Taylor and I recorded one my first video interviews. We talk about Ben’s musical interests, composing, his new piece “Shipbreaking”, and much more. I’ve posted the result on YouTube for anyone interested in Ben and his music. I’m still not sure of the best way to present these talks, but posting a lengthy video sure beats having to transcribe it! Also, I’ve got a bunch more almost ready to share…

You can hear plenty of audio samples on Ben’s website ( Check out my other talks here.

Benjamin Taylor’s “Shipbreaking”

I’m excited to start sharing a few videos from my recent Contour Lines shows! The idea for these concerts first came from working on a commission I organized for Ben to write his piece “Shipbreaking”. I was lucky to have him travel to the East Coast to join me on my mini-tour. Above is a pre-concert talk with Benjamin Taylor from my show at Yes.Oui.Si in Boston, MA (funded in part through New Music USA’s MetLife Creative Connections program).

And here’s my live performance of “Shipbreaking” the following night at Red Room in Baltimore, MD:

Ben’s pre-concert talk video on YouTube.
My performance video on YouTube.

Benjamin Taylor selected for ACO reading

New Music Box has a new post announcing that Benjamin Taylor has been selected to have his music read by the American Composers Orchestra! I just spent half of last week on a mini tour of the East Coast performing Ben’s new piece Shipbreaking (commissioned by an international consortium that I organized). I’m so excited to see others promoting his work!

From New Music Box:

Ryan Chase, Peter Fahey, Michael-Thomas Foumai, Paul Kerekes, Pin Hsin Lin, and Benjamin Taylor have been selected to participate in the American Composers Orchestra’s 21st Annual Underwood New Music Readings. Chosen from among more than 250 submissions, these six composers in the early stages of their professional careers represent a broad spectrum of musical backgrounds and sound worlds. Following the readings, one composer will be chosen to receive a $15,000 commission to write a new piece for ACO, to be premiered during the orchestra’s 2013-2014 season.

The readings will take place June 1-2, 2012, at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music in New York City and include two public events—a working rehearsal on June 1 at 10 a.m. and a run-through on June 2 at 7:30 p.m. Both events are free and audience members will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite pieces during each session. The winning composer will be commissioned to compose an original mobile phone ringtone that will be made available free of charge to everyone who voted.

Contour Lines mini-tour complete!

Last night I finished my Contour Lines mini-tour of the East Coast! It was an awesome experience booking, planning, and then finally performing this solo program over 3 days in 3 cities. My thanks goes out to everyone who came to the shows (NYC’s Gershwin Hotel, Boston’s Yes.Oui.Si, and Baltimore’s Red Room).

The concerts featured performances of Benjamin Taylor’s new piece Shipbreaking for alto sax and electronics (commissioned by an international consortium I organized). I was fortunate to have Ben fly out from Indiana to be my Boston and Baltimore shows. Ben did a pre-concert talk on his music, Shipbreaking, and using electronics for performance. Plus we had audience members, who had never seen or used anything like this before, come up and try out the equipment. Many thanks to New Music USA for a Metlife Creative Connections grant to support the project.

There’s a ton of video from the concerts, Ben’s talks, plus an interview I did with Ben before the Boston show that I plan to post online. I also have video of interviews with Victoria Cheah, Katarina Miljkovic, and Fabien Lévy that I need to get around the sharing. As soon I finish relaxing…

The photo above is from my sound check before the Yes.Oui.Si show.

Contour Lines

I’m very excited to announce my latest project: Contour Lines!

Contour Lines is a program of contemporary electroacoustic and solo works for saxophone, featuring the newly commissioned piece, Shipbreaking. The project explores the landscape of contemporary saxophone, from avant-garde to classical to pop and jazz influences, with an emphasis on electroacoustic works. Concerts will showcase both established and young composers, including leading spectral composers Gérard Grisey and Fabien Lévy, Dutch composer and culture commentator JacobTV, current Meet The Composer Studio resident Kati Agócs, and past winner of the Look & Listen Festival competition Paul Leary.

Commissioned works by Victoria Cheah, Paul Leary, and Benjamin Taylor will represent the younger generation of composers. Cheah’s Strangeloop (solo bari sax) navigates the tangled hierarchical system of strange loops. Leary’s Number Stations (alto sax and audio playback) blends pop/rock influences with classical training. Taylor’s Shipbreaking (alto sax and processed sound) reflects on the wonderment of accomplishing monumental tasks through simple means. Shipbreaking was commissioned by an international consortium led by myself. Ben will be present at my Boston and Baltimore concerts to talk about his piece and give a hands-on demonstration of the technology used. The talk and performances will be shared on YouTube.

East Coast mini-tour:

April 18 @ 8:00pm – Gershwin Hotel, NYC
April 19 @ 8:00pm – Yes.Oui.Si, Boston (talk/tech demo by Benjamin Taylor at 8pm, concert at 8:30pm)
April 20 @ 9:00pm – Red Room, Baltimore (talk/tech demo by Benjamin Taylor at 9pm, concert at 9:30pm)
May 17 @ 9:30pm – On The Cusp, Jersey City

Fabien Lévy: L’air d’ailleurs-Bicinium
Benjamin Taylor: Shipbreaking – commissioned by international consortium
Gérard Grisey: Anubis-Nout
Victoria Cheah: Strangeloop – commissioned by Zach Herchen
Kati Agócs: As Biddeth Thy Tongue
Katarina Miljkovic: If in a winter…
JacobTV: Billie
Paul Leary: Number Stations – commissioned by Zach Herchen

Contour Lines logo designed by ycArt Design Studio.
This project is funded in part through New Music USA’s MetLife Creative Connections program.