February 3, 2010
new interview up here: http://www.classicalconnect.com/#/playlists/interview with the great Jon Tolansky (BBC, WQXR). Â Registration is easy and quick and allows you to hear the entire interview!
January 20, 2010
info/article on the new wind sextet (Commissioned by the Georgetown Quintet through the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County):
<-just added a super duper remixer to the project, MICHI WIANCKO. check her out: http://www.myspace.com/konomichi
Michi is among the talented young violinists in the world fortunate, tenacious, and MEGA talented enough to make a career as a soloist and chamber musician. She also, like me, does a pop side project. I cannot wait to hear what she cooks up for the mixes!!!
July 12, 2009
new remix up. here. (the zeus hagl mix)
I have been working with some great djs and musicianfolks on remixes of the gogreengo EP. gogreengo was an experimental pop project I did about three years ago. I had been unemployed and was listening to myriad new pop releases on the radio. I set myself a little challenge to create a pop album (this would be through my filter: pop as concept to me) in three days. Three was an arbitrary number. I did the entire album on my laptop, with no studio time. It consists of loops, synths, instruments I had laying around the house, processing and even the occasional dog bark or tv clip.
This “hagl” remix is the remix of Zeus (fom the EP) that I will submit for the forthcoming remixes album. Feel free to leave feedback on the remix- I am open to suggestion from most! Re[gogreengo]mix will be collection of tracks from artists like DJ Carl Michaels, Peter Clement (P.O.N.Y. [Prince of New York]), Gemini Wolf ‘s Pandar. I will release four of my own remixes for the songs: Zeus (the “hagl” mix represented on the myspace.com/gogreengotheband), Understand, Fire, and Surtitre. Keep tuned for more details on release info later this summer.
You can buy the gogreengo EP here (cheap! @ $5.97) and if you haven’t already checked out the Cello Concerto (The St. Petersburg) EP, you can do that here. Even bigger bargain @ $2.97 !! And it is with the inestimable Alisa Weilerstein and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, with Jeffrey Meyer directing. Alisa will be playing with the Berlin Phil, NY Phil, Boston Symphony, etc. this season! Make sure you catch her concert in the city/hall closest to you. She is a supremely special and passionate person and quite truly, a musical gift.
April 27, 2009
A little info on my upcoming ballet project with the Art of Elan, San Diego Museum of Art, and the The Colette Harding Contemporary Dance Company. The Art of Elan is the virtuoso chamber music series comprised of musicians of the San Diego Symphony.
This interview discusses Art and about sixteen minutes in, discusses the upcoming ballet, Alice. Alice is based on Alice in Wonderland.
The interview is here and on the page is the “Inside Art” program.
November 10, 2008
Preceding the upcoming Inscape Chamber Music Concert, a statement on our collaboration from the poet [JESSICA HORNIK] who wrote the poetry being used in the concert listed below
*November 16, 2008: Inscape Chamber Music Project, with Abigail Haynes-Lennox, soprano. Premiere of Three poems of Jessica Hornik for soprano, oboe, clarinet, harp and strings. info here: http://www.inscapechambermusicproject.org/aboutus.html
“I was fortunate to discover Joe Hallman and his music through members of my family. His interest in my work as inspiration for his own has prompted us both to new thinking about the fusion of poetry and music. Through Joe’s enthusiasm, keen intelligence, and alertness to the sense of poetic phrases as well as the silences between them, the music inherent in the poetry blossoms into the music of the music.”
: Ms. Hornik joked that she is the “Hermit of Alplaus”. I can only hope that the public will petition for her poetry. It is the stuff, of life, and of love, and of experience. :
October 19, 2008
Lois and I just worked together on a new piccolo sonata that she premiere in September 08. It is a fun, perky, joyful, but smart piece. She played it with Charlie Abramovich, piano (head of keyboard studies at Temple University and an accomplished composer and a celebrity accompanist)
Why the piccolo? How do you find so much potential in the smallest instrument of the orchestra?
The piccolo has great range – it can cut across a symphonic orchestra in the high register and the low register can resemble a simple wooden pipe. I like getting a rich tone from the instrument and frequently play it both expressively and sweetly, which aren’t the sounds one expects from the instrument.
When I was in eighth grade I performed a nineteenth century art song, one of literally a thousand older works written for piccolo solo at the turn-of-the-century. The audience’s response was amazing and from that early experience I decided that I wanted to become a piccoloist. Just being noticed by my teachers was a feat for a shy kid. An English teacher offered to accompany me and my shop teacher’s very fidgety son froze in his seat, dropped his jaw and didn’t move throughout the performance. My family started referring to me as the “pied piper”.
I learned from my teachers that the piccolo had the potential to have a Renaissance as a solo instrument. In college I studied with the great piccoloist John Krell of the Philadelphia Orchestra and later with his predecessor in the orchestra, Kazuo Tokito. The first commissioner of solo works for piccolo, Laurence Trott gave a full week masterclass on his discoveries, the most intriguing of which he had me perform- piccolo with prepared piano and color slides. The heart-wrenching photos of oil covered birds accompanied by the wailing piccolo had audience members crying.
Lois, how did you find Joe’s music?
At first I found the piccolo sonata straightforward to read. Its character is both witty and light. The more I played it the more I discovered within. It contains subtle surprises. Once you think you know where it’s heading the music takes a turn and you’re headed a different direction. I find it simple and complex at the same time.
You have premiered and commissioned tons of works for piccolo… how do you feel this new Sonata will fit in this canon you are creating?
I think it’s a great fit. I have not been disappointed with any of the works. I suppose one could argue that they all fit the genre of “Neo-classic”, but I find that each has a very different feel from the other. Joe’s work is unabashedly major and fun, both for the audience and for me!
Can you describe the process of collaboration? Did you find working with Joe any different than previous composers?
I’d describe it as two people that don’t know each other focused as one on their artistic creation. I don’t think working with any two composers has been a similar experience. Some are precise with every detail, some are only interested with the overall feel of the piece, some are happy with anything I want to try, some want me to try out different techniques for their effectiveness – most work within the broad area of the middle ground. I found Joe easy to work with. He produces the composition quickly and is not demanding.
Do you think you’ll work with Joe again? What’s next? more sonatas, chamber music, concerti??
I like the idea of a chamber work with piccolo and I’m indeed hoping to work with Joe again!
Do you have any concerts coming up (after September 26th’s “Bliss and Friends” concert in Glenside- where LH will premiere the Sonata for Piccolo and Piano):
We have another performance of the sonata coming up at Andrea Clearfield’s Salon on November 30. Email Andrea at email@example.com for details.
September 20, 2008
Hsi-ni Liu will be premiering my Canciones after Machado for solo piano (and some special visitors) at her WEILL/CARNEGIE HALL DEBUT….
Her answers are direct and endearing, as is her playing. The concert is OCTOBER 27, 2008 at WEILL HALL at CARNEGIE HALL.
[email interview follows]
can u answer the following questions:
why joe hallman? what is your connection?
Joe Hallman is a friend i went to CIM with, a person I saw at college dorm who appeared attractive because he was reading a book quietly in the lobby where most people talk, being loud, but he was alone in his own world reading his book.
what attracted you to his music?
how did you choose the program? did you discuss the program and how the pieces would fit together?
did you discuss what Joe’s piece’s role should be?
Yes. His work would open for the 2nd half of the program followed by Brahms Handel Variations.
did you get to work with Joe on the piece?
what was this experience like? was it helpful?
When is the concert and how can folks get tickets?
or call, 212-247-7800, 1-800-545-7807
We both hope to see you all there!
There is a wonderful reception, a chance to meet and talk with Joe Hallman and Hsin-Ni Liu.
September 14, 2008
I was lucky enough to have a great little interview with Gavin Plumley, a brilliant British writer and Janacek Scholar….
You can check out the transcript here:
text culled below:
From Hallman to Joe – getting to know the Philadelphian chameleon composer
Myspace is well known for introducing the world to new bands and, even when signed, many still proudly emblazon the address of their site on their latest major label release. Classical (or art) music has, by and large, still to catch on, but if the web wanderer has even a minor trawl through the pages of Myspace and the increasingly adaptable Facebook, you can find a whole seam of new talent. One such individual is Joseph Hallman, a Philadelphian, who, along with reports of his husband and three dogs, some recent problems with real estate and a damning review of Madonna’s latest album (his blog is nothing if not comprehensive), has written chamber works for members of the New York Phil and the Philadelphia Orchestra and, through his second Myspace page, GoGreenGO (The Band), the web trawler can uncover some of his experimental music… with intriguing (and amusing) titles such as ‘Understanding Couperin – mix’. Hallman’s season has and will include collaboration with an amazingly high caliber of musicians: Thomas Stacy (NY Philharmonic’s iconic english horn player); Alisa Weilerstein (the young American cellista); Pacal Gallois (international bassoon soloist); the Washington D.C.-based virtuoso chamber orchestra – the Inscape Chamber Music Project; and a piano recital at Carnegie Hall with Hsin-Ni Liu (the hardwoking Chinese pianist).
But in addition to the seriousness of some of his collaborators, there is a palpable humour in Hallman’s work, alongside that sense of broader tradition. His chamber works call on the Chamber Concerti traditions of Bach and Hindemith, and with the urban stylings of his electronica, the sound world of Hindemith’s ‘Gebrauchmusik’ cannot be far away (however ironic the nod). The snippet of the third movement from his Cello Concerto (recorded by Wilerstein and the St Petersburg Chamber Orchestra) draws on a wealth of influences – that Janacek, Bartok and Shostakovich are in his favourite music on Facebook seems only natural – but they are framed not in a glib nostalgic hommage, but in a pugnacious wrangle with instrument, expectation and a clear talent for engaging and generative material.
Those elements of generation and regeneration are certainly evident in the reassuringly direct notes Hallman includes about commissioning works from him, which he assures his readers is ‘a painless and fun process’. I was intrigued to think that work so urgent and direct could come from such a seemingly urbane and relaxed character. So I’ve posed him a few questions…
Is the world of the commission so very different to the works you create without that endorsement?
No, not so different as one might expect. Commissions can really create a fun challenge- an added element to the process of composition. They can serve to stretch one’s range as well. You may encounter extra-musical elements you hadn’t dreamed of. For example, a recent commission for a concert called “Love Machines” was for a work for voices and chamber ensemble that should rely on text having to do with sex and lust. It seemed that all the composers involved had existing works and mine would be a sort of keystone, so it had to be something different. The piece is based on text of Jenna Jameson, the well-endowed American porn star. It wasn’t something I would have ever really considered on my own (not that I am a prude). On the other hand, some might view the commission as a restricting element. I think not. Never. I think it is all about attitude and aptitude.
Clearly you have written on a number of scales instrumentally and your experimental works include the voice. Have you thought about working dramatically?
I think music is acting, especially for performers. There is an inherent disconnect one can have in performing. I believe the same is true of composition. One has to try different ‘roles’ on, so to speak. For me, each piece is a character, or many, or none. That being said, I would relish working dramatically – opera, theatre, anything. I am an addict of collaboration. I truly find joy in working with performers, poets, other composers, artists, etc. I find that I learn so much from each one. Again, I think this has to do with attitude (and aptitude). I believe that anyone can make music – there is no magic or mystery to being able to. How much you want to make music and of what type is totally subjective. I learned (as a post-college, pre-school teacher) that improvising is an act of joy – one that anyone can participate in. I used an exercise with this young children to link their idea of music – or sound, with their physicality. We each became a part of a machine. Every part started soon after the initial beat began. The ‘parts’ were the childrens’ different improvisations on physical and sound elements that they found mechanistic. I stressed improv as a huge part of the musical education process and believe it is the most powerful and pure tool for composers.
British composers, although not all blessed with its support, find that the BBC is a bastion of hope in the continuation of art music in our current climate. Is there that support in America?
I can’t speak for anyone but myself, ever. I have been lucky in finding different granting sources. Though I am completely gracious for their generosity, it is an inordinate task at times to apply. The prizes are usually very small (but helpful) and the legwork for the composer involved large. I have attempted to be as self-supporting as possible. It means an incredible deal of work, but no reliance on others or guidelines to follow. That being said, I think it is probably a harder job without grants. Managing it one’s self is pretty laborious. A great element of support is the attention paid to music now. We have been lucky to have people like Alex Ross – the music critic of the New Yorker and author The Rest is Noise – and yourself. There is a great openness that is encountered in this field now. Alot of it has to with social networking like facebook, MySpace, etc. and the relatively easy task of discovering a new artist.
You have used the internet to promote your work widely. Are you cynical about the record industry? Do you think that the day of the hard-copy recording is over?
I think speaking like that is bound to be self-damning. I think that the ‘industry’ has changed. For the better, in my opinion. Artists can control their own distribution easily and this removes so much of the glut from the middle. That being said, I wouldn’t mind someone else handling the marketing and distribution – it’d free me up to write more.
You have created two different Myspace accounts for your ‘classical’ and your ‘experimental’ work. Do you think of them as two different musical personalities?
I think the ‘experimental’ work is born out of a desire to perform and improv. I always find it too ‘poppy’ – most probably wouldn’t agree. The music is largely different but both born of an organic nature. I have always been lucky to have been allowed to be incredibly honest with my music. Like one wears a suit to work perhaps, one may also wear the black leather pants. GoGreenGO is my leather pant persona, I guess. Another factor is the wider distribution of my music- two sources for these works helps. People who might be interested in my ‘pop’ – GoGreenGO, have often commented that it drew them to my ‘classical’ music and that now they understood. In essence, one puts the other in perspective.
What is most refreshing interviewing Joe and listening to his work is that the element of serious endeavour, the ‘head in hands’ part of ‘being a composer’ is far from being hard and fast. His work and his answers are capricious, teasing and ultimately engaging. The problem with so much ‘new music’ is that its creators can appear distant and self-abstracting. That I begin calling my subject Hallman and end with the cheeky moniker Joe is indicative of his openness to engage, to explicate and to bring us to his music, whatever the persona.