This piano piece is composed of twelve sections, which could be played as specified in the score, or in an order of the performer’s choosing. The piece may also be performed by two performers, each playing separate sections simultaneously, as seen in this video featuring Mila Roushakes and myself at the piano.
Katharos has six main themes spread out over twelve sections. Thus, one could view the piece as grouped into six pairs of sections– the first of each pair exposing the listener to the theme, and a corresponding section occurring later in the piece to further develop the motive. When performed with four hands, themes weave together and sometimes create new musical gestures when two parts overlap. The result is a vast assortment of weird, abstract fragments, sometimes unresolved, sometimes overdone, and often combined to create a dreamlike state.
I originally named this piece “SAVE Room,” the place in New York City public schools where students serve in school suspension to “think about what they’ve done.”
I have composed several pieces “about” specific places, using sounds from these environments as a means to evoke the experiences, both aural and emotional, that one might have there. In Kings Highway / Stillwell Ave., I string together a series of gestures to create a musical autobiography of my one year living in New York City. I derived these gestures from sounds of the city and my apartment. Since I didn’t have an audio recorder, I “painted” them onto paper and made them playable on the piano instead. Like Van Gogh, who altered the realism of his paintings and added elements to express his own thoughts and feelings about his landscapes, my alteration from musique concrete to piano allowed me to stamp my own emotions onto my soundscape.
The audio comes from my introduction of an earlier version of the work to the audience. In addition to adding the audio element, I worked with Vin Grabill created a film version of Kings Highway using photographs I took of New York– in addition to the footage of me performing the piece at the Church of the Holy City in Washington, DC. The film was selected for the Rosebud Film Festival in 2012.