Newsfeed (2016)

Mezzo-soprano, baritone, clarinet, electric guitar, electric bass, piano, drum set, percussion (vibraphone, xylophone, prayer bowl), and electronics. Approx. 14 minutes. 

Newsfeed centers on two ideas: the integration of popular with classical music, and an exploration of media absorption in multiple forms.

The piece uses borrowed instrumentation from the popular music world, including electric guitar, electric bass, and drum set. It also utilizes a range of styles, many of which are associated with popular music, including hip-hop, jazz, rock, reggae, and musical theater. Pre-recorded electronics accompany the live instruments, beginning with a sound collage of advertisements, popular music excerpts, and news media. The text is acquired from various media sources including political speeches, blogs, social media, and advertisements.

The fast-paced, fluctuating structure of the music is reflective of the way my generation processes media; we are continually taking in a vast array of content, often from multiple sources at a time, and consequently find ourselves in the questioning pit of “what, if anything, does it all mean?” The interruptive nature by which we digest media is further accented by periodic social media updates in the music. While not intended to criticize technology, this piece simply asks the question: is this means of absorbing and communicating information effective, and how has it shaped our world?

Newsfeed was premiered on April 28, 2016 at Daniel Recital Hall, CSU Long Beach. Performers: Maria Schafer (mezzo), Marcus Carline (baritone), Tanner Olivas (clarinet), Alexander Miller (electric guitar), Jonathan Eastly (electric bass), Paul Blackwell (piano), Tyler Kreutel (drum set), and Kevin Capacia (percussion). Conducted by Denny Bui.

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