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Violinist, improviser, composer, instrument builder, and installation artist Jon Rose discusses his work creating music by bowing the Great Fences of Australia. These include the famous Dog Proof Fence and Rabbit Proof Fence. Hollis Taylor’s recent book/DVD Post Impressions documents this project, and a new work for the Kronos Quartet, was recently premiered at the Sydney Opera House.

Jon also discusses the development of his Relative Violin philosophy and artistic trajectory, beginning with the inauspicious attempted destruction of his violin at the tender age of 7, just 2 years prior to Fluxus artist Nam June Paik did the same before an audience in New York. Discussion also leads to ornithology, and Hollis Taylor’s work observing and decoding the music of various songbirds native to Australia, including the Pied Butcher Bird, the Crimson Rosella, and the Lyrebird. James Ilgenfritz and Jon Rose also play a handful of duos for bass and violin, with colorfully abstract directionality and, at times, striking comparisons to the actions of the birds discussed.

Born in 1951 in Rochester, UK, Jon Rose started playing the violin at seven years old, after winning a music scholarship to King’s School Rochester. He studied violin with Anthony Saltmarsh (exponent of the Knud Vestergaard ‘Bach’ bow). He gave up formal music education at the age of 15 and from then on was primarily self-taught. Throughout the 1970’s, first in England and then in Australia, he played, composed and studied in a large variety of music genres – from sitar playing to country & western; from big band serial composition to sound installations. The collaborative LP Tango (Hot Records) in 1983 with Martin Wesley-Smith was a world first in violin and  sampling improvisation using the renowned Fairlight sampler. In 1986, he moved to Berlin in order to more fully realise his on-going project (of some 25 years): The Relative Violin. This is the development of a total artform based around the one instrument. Necessary to this concept has been innovation in the fields of new instrument design, environmental performance and new instrumental techniques. In 2000 Rose formed the duo Temperament with pianist Veryan Weston, specialising in improvisation with different tunings (Just, 19 tone, etc) for the keyboards and various scordatura for the violins. In 2005 he finished a major commission, Pannikin, for The Melbourne Festival, and was awarded a two year fellowship from The Australia Council to research and develop The Ball Project. In 2009 The Kronos String Quartet and The Sydney Opera House commissioned Music from 4 Fences.

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Ten Thousand Hours 4: Jon Rose

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Composer and percussionist Aaron Siegel discusses his acoustic experimental work, raising questions about the relationship between composer and interpreter, spaces and contexts in which they interact. Unique instrumentation and experimental notation systems are discussed as Siegel and James Ilgenfritz read through a compositional sketch for glockenspiel and double bass that includes some extremely brief improvisational sections. Siegel refers to Padgett Powell’s book The Interrogative Mood, discussing his thoughts on the composer/interpreter relationship. Comparisons are also made with the wall boxes of Donald Judd and the wall drawings of Sol Lewitt, illustrating his philosophies on binary opposition and his method of conceiving of large-scale musical structures.

Aaron Siegel is a composer of acoustic experimental work that raises questions about the relationship between performers, audience members and the space they occupy together.  His music has been performed by pianist Emily Manzo, Till by Turning, Mantra Percussion, Kyklos Ensemble, Iktus Percussion Quartet, Cadillac Moon, the Flux Quartet and the Aaron Siegel Ensemble.  The first recording of the Aaron Siegel Ensemble, Every Morning, A History, was praised by Signal to Noise as being “representative of the flowering DIY chamber music scene in Brooklyn.” He performs regularly with his own ensemble as well as with the collaborative trio Memorize the Sky and the Anthony Braxton 12+1(tet). The Aaron Siegel Ensemble premiered Science is Only a Sometimes Friend for 8 glockenspiels and public participants in the East Meadow of Central Park as part of the 2009 Make Music New York Festival, a performance described by The New Yorker as “hypnotic clouds of chiming tones.”  Recent ensemble performances have included Preparing the Past at Roulette in New York and a reprise of Science… at Issue Project Room in Brooklyn.

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Ten Thousand Hours 3: Aaron Siegel

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Virtuoso trumpeter Dave Ballou discusses his activities as an improvising musician, his work as a composer of chamber music, and his philosophy on creativity. Topics include the Macro Quarktet (which he co-leads with trumpeter Herb Robertson), his transition from playing split lead trumpet in the big bands of Woody Herman and Tommy Dorsey to the school of creative improvisers he’s worked with for the last two decades, and his compositions for members of the TILT Brass and the Meridian Arts Ensemble. The conversation is interspersed with duo improvisations between Dave Ballou and James Ilgenfritz.

Dave Ballou (photo by Scott Friedlander

Dave Ballou has released nine internationally recognized CD’s as a leader and co-leader. He has performed or recorded with ensembles led by Michael Formanek, Kevin Norton, Maria Schneider, Andrew Hill, Dave Liebman, Oliver Lake, Joe Lovano, Sheila Jordan, Steely Dan, Rabih Abou-Kahlil, Don Preston and an extensive list of jazz personalities. Dave has performed Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #2 with the Bella Musica Orchestra of NY, and Larry Austin’s Improvisations with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. He also was a featured soloist for the premiere of Gunther Schuller’s Encounters, a composition celebrating the 100th anniversary of Jordon Hall. Dave is currently head of the Jazz/Commercial Music division at Towson University in Maryland. He earned a BM from Berklee College of Music in 1986 and a MA from the University of New Hampshire in 1991.

Ten Thousand Hours 2: Dave Ballou

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Robert Dick and James Ilgenfritz discuss Dick’s early development as an innovative performer on the flute, the development of The Other Flute, his revolutionary book on new flute techniques, his Glissando Headjoint and the artistic influence of Jimi Hendrix. Robert Dick’s inimitable vocabulary of extended flute techniques can be found in short musical excerpts, both solo and duo with host James Ilgenfritz.

Photo by Scott Friedlander

Robert Dick lives in New York City and is on the faculty of New York University. He holds a B.A. from Yale University and an M.M. in composition from the Yale School of Music. As one of the flute world’s most respected masterclass teachers, Robert Dick has been in residence in literally hundreds of universities, colleges and conservatories throughout the US, Europe, Asia and Australia. As a composer in the classical world, Robert Dick is one of only two Americans ever to be awarded both Composers Fellowships (twice) and a Solo Recitalist Grant by the N.E.A. His discography reveals a musician of major creative scope, with original solo and chamber works and collaborations with fellow creative musicians in such groups as the Ambient/Overdrive band King Chubby. Other CDs feature music by Telemann and Jimi Hendrix. As an improvisor, Dick has performed and recorded with New Winds, Tambastics, Oscura Luminosa, the Soldier String Quartet, the A.D.D. Trio, Paul Giger and Satoshi Takeishi, Jaron Lanier, Randy Raine-Reush and Barry Guy, Mari Kimura, Steve Gorn and many more of Europe and America’s finest improvisers.
Ten Thousand Hours 1: Robert Dick

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