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Initiatives:Creative Repertoire Initiative

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The Creative Repertoire Initiative (CRI) is a collective of twelve composers and conductors committed to creating and promoting the creation of adaptable music for ensembles in the coming academic year and beyond due to the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The members of CRI are: Robert Ambrose, Brian Balmages, Steven Bryant, Michael Daugherty, Julie Giroux, Jennifer Jolley, John Mackey, Peter Meechan, Alex Shapiro, Omar Thomas, Frank Ticheli, and Eric Whitacre.

The CRI is exploring several kinds of compositional approaches to meet demand, including adaptable music scoring, music involving improvisation, music involving elements of chance, and music with electronics. In short, the CRI is actively engaged in creating adaptable music that will meet the needs of music students of all ability levels. The CRI endeavors to inspire, empower, guide, and amplify the voices of other composers who wish to move in concert with our goals by providing templates, sample scores and other important resources.


What is Adaptable Music?

ADAPTABLE is an umbrella term created by the members of CRI that includes various types of pieces that can be realized by ensembles faced with limited, fluctuating, or unpredictable personnel. The word adaptable refers to both the music and the situation. Types of adaptable music include: flex music, full-flex music, modular/cellular pieces, and improvisatory pieces.

  • Flex pieces have instruments assigned to specific voice parts based on range/registration. Flex pieces have been in existence for many years. They are very suitable for smaller bands where certain instruments are not represented; however, they do require a minimum of one musician to be available for each part in order to be fully realized. So, for instance, if there is no bass-range player in the room, then that bass part isn’t performed. Flex pieces are abundant and include those published by Hal Leonard in their FlexBand series, as well as by Bravo Music and its Japanese parent company, Brain Music. Flex pieces by Creative Repertoire Composers (CRI) composers include Julie Giroux’s transcription of her Hymn for the Innocent, Eric Whitacre’s transcription of his Sing Gently, Steven Bryant’s transcription of his Dusk, John Mackey’s Let Me Be Frank with You, and Michael Daugherty’s This Land Sings.
  • Full-flex pieces offer maximum flexibility by which any voice is playable by any instrument, making a fully-realized performance possible with any combination of instruments. These pieces are useful in situations where, for example, only flutes are present for rehearsal on one day, trombones on another day, and a mix of instruments on still another day. The full-flex approach was created in direct response to the need for radically adaptable pieces in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Full-flex pieces by CRI composers include Pete Meechan’s Taking the Fifth, as well as Brian Balmages’s transcription of his Blue Ridge Reel, and Frank Ticheli’s transcription of his Simple Gifts.
  • Modular/cellular pieces are adaptable works written using motivic cells. Modular/cellular pieces may or may not contain elements of aleatory and/or improvisation, and may be played by ensembles of any size and makeup. Examples include Frank Ticheli's In C-Dorian (inspired by Terry Riley’s In C, and dedicated to that composer), Jennifer Jolley’s Sounds from the Grey Goo Sars CoV-2, and Alex Shapiro’s electroacoustic Passages.
  • Improvisatory pieces are adaptable works based primarily on improvisation. An example includes CRI composer Omar Thomas’s piece for young musicians, Sharp Nine.


In addition to the compositions listed below, be sure to review the complete list of works for Adaptable instrumentation.


Repertoire List (alpha by composer)

Balmages, Brian


Blackshaw, Jodie


Broughton, Bruce


Bryant, Steven


Cage, John


Danyew, Steve


Daugherty, Michael


David, James M


George, Ryan

  • Autobahn (Flex instrumentation) (2008/2020)
  • Café 512 (Flex instrumentation) (2010/2020)
  • Jinx (Flex instrumentation) (2017/2020)


Gillingham, David


Giroux, Julie


Green, Anthony R.


Hylkilä, Ilari

  • Waltz (Flex instrumentation) (2014/2020)


Jenkins, Derek M


Jolley, Jennifer


Jones, Tyler


Langenfeld, Robert


Lilliefors, Erin


Mackey, John


Markowski, Michael


Mazone, Tyler


Meechan, Peter


Perrine, Aaron


Pierson, Brooke


Pilato, Nikk


Piunno, Nicole


Pore, Robert


Ring, Gordon


Rose, Jennifer


Rusnak, Christina


Santos, Giovanni


Shapiro, Alex


Silverberg, Matt


Spittal, Robert


Stamp, Jack

  • Gambol (Flex instrumentation) (2020)


Standridge, Randall


Stephenson, James


Svanor, Erika


Syler, James


Thomas, Omar


Ticheli, Frank


Whitacre, Eric


Zare, Roger


References

  • Ticheli, Frank. "The Creative Repertoire Initiative: Adaptable Music for Unprecedented Times." The Instrumentalist, August/September 2020, 8-10.