This is just to say… premiere in Sweden on January 17

The follow-up public concert from this past summer’s activities in the Nätverksläger (New Music Incubator, see my previous post) will take place in Västerås Concert Hall, Sweden on January 17 at 5 PM. 18 composers and musicians from 5 countries will come together for this performance.

My contribution will be This is just to say, a comic, structured improvisation for narrator, vocalist, flute, cello and bass, with texts taken from William Carlos Williams’ poem of the same name and a handful of parodies of it by other authors. The idea for this piece came from an episode of the radio program This American Life, which described the poem as a non-apology apology, and the parodies attempt to take this form to new heights.

This is just to say / I have eaten / the plums / that were in / the icebox
and which / you were probably / saving / for breakfast
Forgive me / they were delicious / so sweet / and so cold

– William Carlos Williams
This is just to say / I carved your name, not mine / into the arm of dad’s chair
sorry you were punished / but the wood was so gummy / and my knife was so sharp

– Sarah Vowell
This is just to say / At our wedding I disappeared briefly 
 / to have sex with your sister / up against the back of the port-o-sans.

What can I say / the chardonnay was so fresh and cold 
and I, / so full of love and a sense of family.

– David Rakoff
This is just to say
 / I have pulled the pin from the grenade on the desk / forgive me, I thought it was my key ring and…

– Jason Nicolas

Nätverksläger för tonsättare och musiker at Klackbergsgården, in Norberg, Sweden, July 27-August 1

At a conference in Helsinki in October 2008, I met Swedish composer Martin Larsson, who told me about a pilot project he was running in Norberg, Sweden with guitarist Patrik Karlsson called New Music Incubator (literally, Networking Camp, which sounds better in Swedish than English) for Composers and Musicians, a 5-day intensive workshop where 5 composers and approximately 25 musicians come together. The composers each write a new piece every day for some combination of musicians, followed by an evening performance of the works and a final concert some months later in Västerås Concert Hall. Geared toward post-graduate professionals and not limited to contemporary classical music, it’s an opportunity to explore, to simplify, to step out of one’s comfort zone, and to expand one’s network.

I invited Martin and Patrik to come to Latvia and speak to members of the Latvian Composers Union about the possibility of expanding this project so that participants could apply from throughout the Baltics and Scandinavia with the goal that the camp would next take place in Latvia, with me as the local administrator. We successfully applied to Kulturkontakt Nord for €10,000 to hold the camp outside Liepāja, Latvia in the summer of 2010.

This July I will go to Sweden as a composer participant so I can experience the camp first-hand. All the better to administrate next year, my dear.