Waiting for Niko

performed by Waiting for Niko (Ryan Schmidt, Liz Boyce, Nicole Herman, Niko Schroeder, and Gabriel Ellis) @ It’s Happening; A Senior Composition Recital, GVSU 1410, Nov. 20th, 2016.

Waiting for Niko is the ensemble that formed to perform the music that I composed as my senior Bachelor of Arts project. The project encompassed every aspect of realizing this music, from composition to rehearsal to performance. The recordings of the project are available for download on Bandcamp.

“Chase it Anyway” was written by the late Patrick Carroll, who was an active performer and audio engineer in West Michigan and Traverse City. Pat’s positive impact is undeniable–from his work with Earthworks Music, the music that he left behind, and the testimonies of his many friends, collaborators, and supporters. As Earthworks puts it, Pat left a legacy of “loving without reservation, courageously facing challenges without complaint, and appreciating the beauty of the present moment.” “Chase it Anyway” was released shortly before his death on the album Glow in the Dark, on which he was joined by many friends and past collaborators.

“Brothrrs” was written to honor the friends and family at Grand Valley that encouraged my first steps into the world of New Music. It consists of two parts–first slow, then fast. It the only instrumental piece from the project.

“On the Changing Repertory of Birdsong” is a short and frantic cry for environmental health, in which a frantic piano line becomes overtaken by profanity-ridden lyrics, which are then overcome by one very, very, angry bird. The charging music pauses, and then resumes with a warped chorale in the strings and crashing chord clusters in the piano.

“Sailing for a Round Earth” is a nod to the Midwestern tunes that influence my writing; solo guitar and voice are soon joined by the full ensemble in an instrumental, mixed-meter chorus. The rest of the piece is characterized by sharply juxtaposing textures, incorporating elements of the previous three compositions. This song and Pat Carroll’s serve as frames to the set, as they are both performed on open-tuned guitars in D major, and this song incorporates the idioms from Pat’s song most heavily.

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