Celestial Rings in Buffalo

I will be speaking about Thomas Ades’s violin concerto at the Buffalo Graduate Symposium on Music, 1-2 March 2014:

“Rings,” the first movement of Adès’s violin concerto Concentric Paths, evokes the physical process of planetary motion and it is from this process that multiple time-scales arise: the lower-speed outer-orbits of planetary motion correspond to higher registers of pitch where melodies tend to unfold more slowly. The texture of Rings generalizes passages in Bach’s Presto to a post-tonal pitch process: pitches undergo processes that evolve at different rates, causing harmonies to expand, contract, and explode in hexatonic syzygies.

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The François Vase Trailer


Photo by Nikolai Fox

The Momenta Quartet Performing The François Vase at The Rotunda, Philadelphia.

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The François Vase at the Rotunda

Francois Vase Momenta01

Stephanie Griffin of the Momenta Quartet performing along to the video projection of the Vase Shattering. Image Credit: Nikolai Fox

The Momenta Quartet premiered The François Vase to a full house at The Rotunda, Philadelphia, PA on Wednesday 30 October 2013. The tragic story of The François Vase was preceded by a moving performance of Bach’s Chaconne by Noco Kawamura.

Parker’s Box Gallery is sponsoring The New York premiere tonight, 1 November 2013, at Soapbox Gallery in Brooklyn. Before tonight’s performance Guy Hedreen will give a lecture and slideshow on “The Dance of Death/Seduction/Triumph on the François Vase.” On Saturday we are headed to the recording studios at the Tisch School of Art to record the Momenta Quartet with John Gurrin.

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François Vase: NYC and Philadelphia Performance Dates

Gabriela Vainsencher and I are collaborating on a new work for string quartet and video. The video features Green Chair Dance Group and the Momenta Quartet will perform the score live at the following two events:

Wednesday 30 October 2013, Philadelphia, PA: The François Vase at The Rotunda.

Friday 1 November 2013, Brooklyn, NY: Parker’s Box and Soapbox Gallery present the François Vase at the Soapbox.

The Soapbox event will also feature a lecture by the art historian Guy Hedreen, whose work on the François Vase and the Greek labyrinth myth helped shape the direction of my collaboration with Gabriela.

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Death is a Hotel Manager


(The Duchess (Patricia Schuman) reflects on her life after being told she must vacate the hotel because she cannot pay her bill. Kelly and Massa.)

Thomas Adès’s first opera Powder Her Face was performed by Opera Philadelphia. Title Magazine carried my review of the opera.

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Gabriela Vainsencher’s most recent video, Reconstruction, premiered at the Musée d’art moderne André Malraux, Le Havre, France in fall 2012. The score is a piano improvisation I performed on a Cable Nelson spinet.

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Review by Alex Ross of The New Yorker

On 16 January the Momenta Quartet performed my string quartet The Francois Vase at Matthew Greenbaum’s Amphibian Series at the HiArt! space in Chelsea. Alex Ross reviewed the concert in the 4 February 2013 issue of The New Yorker and referred to The Francois Vase as “strongly imagined” and “driven by propulsive counterpoint.”

The first and third movements of the quartet will be performed in an arrangement for string orchestra by the Temple Composers Orchestra on 28 February and 4 March in Philadelphia.

Momenta 4 Feb 2013 New Yorker

[The article mistakenly identifies me as David Fox and should correct it in the future.]

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Geranos for chamber orchestra to be performed in Philadelphia

The first movement, Geranos, of my string quartet, The Francois Vase, will be performed in an arrangement for string orchestra as part of the Temple Composers Orchestra concerts on 28 February at the Ethical Society of Philadelphia and 2 March at the Temple Performing Arts Center (TPAC). Both concerts are at 7:30pm. The programs consist of new chamber orchestra works by Temple graduate student composers. Adam Vidiksis is conducting.

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The Francois Vase to be performed by The Momenta Quartet

My string quartet, The Francois Vase, will be performed by The Momenta Quartet at the HiArt! Gallery in Chelsea, New York on 16 January in a program including works by Kenneth Brown, Elizabeth Brown, John Cage, and Joseph Haydn. Elizabeth Brown’s music will be accompanied by the stop-motion animation Piranesi by Lothar Osterburg.

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Sonata for violin and piano

Noco Kawamura (violin) and Irene Moretto (piano) will premiere my Sonata for violin and piano on Thursday 1 November as part of the Temple Composers Orchestra and New Chamber Music Concert in Rock Hall, Temple University Main Campus. The concert is at 7:30PM.

Program Notes:

This three movement sonata for violin and piano opens with grand gestures interrupted by short outbursts. The violin and piano have trouble synchronizing themselves. They become more aligned as the movement progresses and wander hand-in-hand to a strange place as the movement ends.

The second movement mourns something that was lost in the first. Brief moments of rising hope suffer enharmonic slight-of-hand, revealing that the music has in fact not progressed. In an attempt to break free, the piano delivers a momentous outburst. The result is a short, off-kilter dance for piano solo. This offers little solace. The piano turns to unfruitful meditations: note-by-note it builds up a tone cluster that drives the violin into an unbearable state of agitation.

The third movement releases the potential energy built over the first two movements by providing the music freedom of motion. Without shedding certain nervous twitches it has acquired during the journey, the music finds peace and ends quietly.

-Daniel Fox, 2012

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