Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Music of North Side Spaces

Some of you may know about my 'Music of North Side Spaces' project in the works. For those of you who don't...well, I have a project called 'Music of North Side Spaces' in the works. There you go. But for those of you who want to know more, I received a grant in the fall of '09 to write music for the summer of '10, scheduled for June 27th at 3pm. Mark your calendars. The performance will feature live performances in site-specific settings on the North Side of Pittsburgh. The project has wider ambitions to connect several organizations in that area, including the New Hazlett Theatre, Children's Museum, Lake Elizabeth/National Aviary, and Mattress Factory, promoting the organizations in general and get people over to the North Side, as well as use alternative transportation (walking/buses). There were several awards chosen as part of the Grable Foundation ' Charm Bracelet Microgrant' process. My project in particular involves guests taking a walking tour of the area, and along one's route you'll hear live music, written by myself, inspired by the history and architecture, natural landscape, and fun facts about one's surroundings. Not only will wanderers realize how close some of these museum/cultural attractions are to one another, I hope it adds a little spontaneity to some of the usual sights on the North Side, and maybe passers by will join in and listen. The best part is that it will be free!

I'm setting to work on this project with a few upcoming meetings, and I hope I can have some questions answered. There are so many factors I've never had to consider before, like park permits, rain plans, coordinating musicians along a time-line, a monologue for a tour guide, and expenses written into the grant. Do I take elements from current cultural trends, like the large African-American population in that area, or do I highlight a site for its former life in the 1900's as a vegetable stand and outdoor pavillion? Do I keep the size intimate, and only distribute a few postcards, or do the other organizations get involved and promote the concert, which might make the group so large that nobody can hear any of the acoustic music? Will I need a megaphone? Oh, and what is everyone going to wear, and I hope it involves top hats and/or costumes. It's going to be a great experience, but the list of questions is pretty long. On top of all of that I have hopes that the music I'll write for it is still interesting.

I'll keep you posted on the progress of planning a possible brass band, Andrew Carnegie's ghost, typewriter percussion, DJ, melodica, folk trio, improvised flute music in trees, and other exciting possibilities...

(Photo above: Deborah Asheim work at Mattress Factory, as I don't have any pictures of the spaces I want to use yet. To be continued!)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Stalactite Press

My sculpture/sound installation received a nice mention on the Pittsburgh Arts- Digging Pitt blog a couple days ago:

"The above work, Nathan Hall's Stalactite, is beautiful. It is this softly glimmering work, with a subtle sound component. I won't try to project a philosophical interpretation on this. For me, it was purely an aesthetic enjoyment of a beautiful object."

Well, thank you Susan, for writing kind words about the piece!

If you haven't seen the work already, please stop by SPACE gallery downtown Pittsburgh before February 13th, when the show closes. Admission is free. If the other sound pieces in the gallery are too loud for you to hear the ambient component of the work, you can ask the gallery staff to turn the other piece(s) down for you.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

2009 Review: A!

The year 2009 gets a grade A from me! I thought about A minus, but too many exciting things happened this year to warrant the slash. I suppose it doesn't get an A+, but that would probably have to be one hell of a stress-free year to get bonus points.

Here are some highlights! In no particular order. While I like, no, love lists, I have a hard time prioritizing them.

I managed to secure a boyfriend for a whole year! That was a huge deal. My previous relationship was only four months. Thanks, Boyfriend, for stickin' around! You are delightful. Here we are at the ends of a giant creative sandwich known as Vocal Assembly.
I joined three music groups! I sang experimental and graphic vocal music with Vocal Assembly, wrote a piece for glockenspiel ensemble for Outer Circle, and just recently was asked to join Alia Musica, a group of local composers. And no, I don't have time for all of them at once. Sadly.

I received a grant to write music in 2010, and over the past year wrote five new music works, and debuted a sculpture in a prominent Pittsburgh gallery! Also, the music that I wrote for a play premiered and ran for eight nights, and nobody ran out of the theatre throwing up (at least over the music).

I released a CD! Nathan Hall + David Bernabo. If you haven't already bought one, see me. Or see this website for the album's record label.

I saw Bayernhof Museum of musical instruments, featuring antique music boxes, player pianos, and eccentric mechanical contraptions. And batcave.

My band Wungsten performed more than ever, including battling for top Pittsburgh band. We lost, but it was only because our parallel secundal harmonies go unappreciated by the masses. Here is our trifecta about to perform our hit 'Buckminster Fuller', inside of a geodesic dome of his own design (it's in Montreal).
Travels this year included aforementioned Montreal and Colorado, two places I'd never been but were both beautiful in their own ways. Montreal taught me some differences between Montreal French and Paris French, one of which included watching 'Pimp My Ride' in French. Otherwise known as Pimp Mon Char!
Colorado included this lovely item.
It's just a rock, but it's looking over a recently snow-dusted mountaintop in Boulder, CO.

I also performed several concerts with the Mendelssohn choir of Pittsburgh, the most memorable being John Adams' On the Transmigration of Souls, but the most amusing being Carmina Burana, as I'm trying to sing over braces put on my teeth one day prior. Perhaps the ol' braces was actually the most thought-proviking year-long activity; it certainly was on my mind every day, having to take ten minutes every time I flossed, and going to the orthodontist every month, trying to bond (dental pun!) with other adults who have braces. You remember this time, back in February? This picture is a little monstrous but it's hard to get pictures of teeth that don't look absolutely disgusting (teeth are so much grosser than they seem). This was the 'right when they got put on' face.
This is now. They're still naturally a little bumpy, and they have yellowish connector bands to solidify the tooth placement, but they're so much straighter and aligned. I actually like that they don't look like a whole new set of teeth, more like a better version of what I had before, more symmetrical (and without having to pay $5K for the fancy invisaligns). I hope that when the braces come off that I remember how to move my lips with my 'normal' teeth. I'm sure I'll be thinking that it feels weird all over again without so much metal in my mouth. Small differences in position that make a big difference to me! It's kind of amazing how making tiny changes and improvements can add up, one month at a time, to a big change in the end, especially when looked back in retrospect. Perhaps that's a good wise statement to start my 2010.

Almost one year later, I am scheduled to get these braces off on the 16th. Wish me luck for another grade A year full of music and merriment, and straight teeth for years down the road. More to come in 2010!