Stranded (2015)

Instrumentation: Solo percussion and electronics trombone, bass trombone

Duration:  ca. 11 minutes

Commissioned by: Brandon Bell, percussion

Premiere: 05.06.2015 at Shepherd School of Music, Houston, TX

Program Notes: Stranded was written for percussionist Brandon Bell. The piece is meant to create an experience of improvisatory “jamming” dictated by the music and by some loose guidelines. In performance, it as if the live performer is united with imaginary musicians (in this case, pre-recorded musicians) in a sort of impromptu “jam session”. The electronics contain many elements of more urban-styled music: processed electronic sounds, guitar, piano, strings, voices. Each of these instruments is used both normally and in a way that borrows from aspects of other instruments. For example, the guitar is played normally at times and at other times its harmonics are stripped of their attacks or the guitar’s body is drummed on (heard in the recurring percussion loop). The piano is also heard both normally and processed with a filter that makes it sound like it is being strummed rhythmically like a guitar. Several tracks of strings were recorded by Dian Zhang (violin) and Jarita Ng (viola) in soloistic and ensemble passages—some composed out, others improvised by the players.

Watch the premiere of Stranded below: