Cincinnati-based composer Daniel Harrison writes music that is characterized by unique combinations of timbres, evocative colors, and formal cohesion. Hear his piece Under the Sun for solo tam-tam performed by Carlos Camacho on our April 20 Solo Soundbox percussion concert in collaboration with Urban Artifact.
CSB: Could you tell us a little about your work as a composer?
DH: At a “shoptalk” level my work lately has explored recursive and fractal forms, synthetic modes, timbral mapping, and physical spatialization as a formal element. At a more abstract level my work seeks to explore our relationship between the familiar and the uncanny. I am truly fortunate to say that almost all of my music has been written for my friends across the country who have challenged and encouraged me in our collaborations.
CSB: What is the background to your piece for this concert, Under the Sun?
DH: Carlos Camacho and I began meeting to discuss the possibility of me writing a solo for him in early 2017. I was incredibly intrigued when he proposed that I write a piece for solo tam-tam. While this wasn’t my first time composing for tam-tam, it was my first time composing something substantial for it alone. Throughout 2017 Carlos and I regularly meet to workshop the piece. This was an incredibly difficult yet rewarding project that expanded my approach to writing for percussion. I conceived the form of Under the Sun as a series of expanding variations on surface texture, the complex of overtones created by the sounding body, and natural decay.
CSB: What are some of the upcoming projects and performances on your radar?
DH: I have several upcoming premieres between April and May. My trio Always, We Are for flute (doubling piccolo), tuba (doubling euphonium), and piano will be premiered at CCM by Lizzy and Steve Darling on April 4th. On May 16th at the Garden Theater in Columbus Ohio the Columbus Ohio Discover Ensemble will be premiering my piece Pale Blue, Black Frame for flute, alto saxophone, violin, cello, and percussion. Later that same week on May 19th at CCM I will have three short pedagogic pieces premiered on the Creative Commissions for Young Performers premiere concert. My upcoming collaborations for 2018 will focus primarily on music written for solo instruments. Collaborators include harpist Joe Rebman, flutist Danielle Breisach, oboist Sara Renner, and clarinetist Jessica Pollack.