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Echo Chambers

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Peter Van Zandt Lane

Peter Van Zandt Lane


Subtitle: For Winds, Percussion and Electronic Sound


General Info

Year: 2019
Duration: c. 8:00
Difficulty: IV-1/2 (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Murphy Music Press
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $300.00   |   Score Only (print) - $65.00


Instrumentation

Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet I-II
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Bass Trombone
Euphonium
Tuba
String Bass
Timpani
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Bag of Silverware (plastic)
  • Bass Drum
  • Bell Tree
  • Brake Drums (2)
  • Concert Toms (5)
  • Crash Cymbals (suspended)
  • Floor Tom
  • Hi-Hat
  • Kick Drum
  • Mixing Bowls (2: metal, medium and small)
  • Paint Cans (2: metal, mounted)
  • Soup Cans (2: metal, mounted)
  • Tam-tam
  • Timbales (2)
  • Vibraphone

Electronics (fixed audio)


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

My interest in technology in society has served as inspiration for a good amount of my recent compositional output. Actually, a number of my compositions don't just use technology, but are about technology. My 2013 electroacoustic chamber ballet HackPolitik set the exploits of a hacker collective to the stage; Hivemind (2014) was largely inspired by the phenomenon of online groupthink concepts; /ping/ (2015) played with ideas of communication over networks, and even Astrarium (2015) and Piano Quartet (2018) are largely inspired by historical technological advancements in clockwork. I have not used electronic sound in a large ensemble piece yet, and am interested in (finally) doing so.

I would like to compose a piece in response to echo chambers in our lives, or what Internet activist Eli Pariser termed filter bubbles: states of intellectual and political isolation “largely enabled by online social network platforms and the algorithms they use to curate a validating user experience“ that have a tendency to polarize people of differing ideologies and undermine civic discourse. The idea of opposing musical themes, co-existing but not initially interacting, mediated by technology (electronic sound), is evocative to me, and I think will be evocative to musicians and audiences. Beyond my interest in engaging these kinds of topics in my music, I also feel that, through our art, we can create a space for self-reflection and cultivate discussions around the role of technology in our lives.

I feel that I can compose a convincing piece with intrigue and complexity, with slightly less difficult instrumental parts than pieces like Hivemind or Beacons, which have largely relied on more highly virtuosic writing. It is my hope that out of this comes a piece that is accessible to advanced high school ensembles. For more experience university ensembles, I would like there to be more space for interpretation and nuance with this piece, and perhaps a bit less focus on flashy instrumental writing.

Stylistically, expect something in the world of Hivemind and Radix Tyrannis (my trombone concerto premiered by Joseph Alessi and American Chamber Winds at WASBE last year). Although I'd like the piece to be more accessible to younger performers than these, I also want to expose them to a piece with a broad and challenging palette of consonance and dissonance, driving rhythm and rich lyricism, and the expressive potential of timbre in an electroacoustic medium.

- Program Note by composer (pre-publication)


In the most common current usage, an "echo chamber" refers to a system in which beliefs are amplified inside a community where varied or opposing ideas are shut out, and the process of repetition and confirmation-bias led discourse to become increasingly extreme and polarized. The prevalence of these scenarios is perhaps more pronounced today than it has ever been, in large part through how technology has increasingly fostered these closed systems in media and social networking. The term has its origins in acoustics, describing a hollow enclosure where sound reverberates.

When composing for acoustic instruments and electronics, I'm wary of the meaning that the presence of technology on stage carries in our centuries-old performance traditions. As a result, I'm inclined to connect the use of electronics in live performance to paradigms of technology in our lives, more broadly. Thus, in writing this piece for wind ensemble and electronics, I wanted to find ways that our echo chambers of tribalism might connect with the sonic origins of the term, and how growing presence in our socio-technological lives might be explored through musical storytelling.

In my piece, you will immediately hear two contrasting and opposing themes (the first in the woodwinds and percussion, the second in the brass). The themes are metrically polarized and in harmonically incompatible modes. Whereas a more conventional composition might develop the music by combining the themes, these two are like oil and water, and despite a third, more lyrical theme trying to mediate them, they persist in separate spheres until they are pushed together and thrown into conflict. Throughout, electronic echoes, filters, and resonances expand the sonic palette, extend the upper register of the ensemble, and egg on our thematic characters. A brief heroic moment of common ground is eventually achieved, but it is fleeting and dissolves before it can be satisfyingly felt as a resolution of two opposing entities.

Echo Chambers was composed for a consortium of fifty wind ensembles, led by and dedicated to Edwin Powell and the Pacific Lutheran University Wind Ensemble.

- Program Note by composer (post-publication)


Media


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Pacific Lutheran University (Tacoma, Wash.) Wind Ensemble (Edwin Powell, conductor) – 18 March 2022 (CBDNA 2022 Western/Northwestern Conference, Tacoma, Wash.)
  • Rowan University (Glassboro, N.J.) Wind Ensemble (Joseph Higgins, conductor) - 23 October 2021
  • University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Wind Ensemble (Evan Feldman, conductor) - 19 February 2020
  • Ball State University (Muncie, Ind.) Wind Ensemble (Thomas Caneva, conductor) – 6 December 2019
  • University of California (Berkeley) Wind Ensemble (Matthew Sadowski, conductor) - 6 December 2019
  • Marshall University (Huntington, W.V.) Wind Symphony Orchestra (Adam Dalton, conductor) – 3 October 2019
  • Bowling Green (Ohio) State University Concert Band (Michael King, conductor) – 3 October 2019
  • California State University, Fullerton, Wind Symphony (Dustin Barr, conductor) – 6 October 2019
  • Sam Houston State University (Huntsville, Tx.) Wind Ensemble (Kristopher Mosley, conductor) – 13 April 2019
  • University of Florida (Gainesville) Symphonic Band (John M. Watkins, Jr., conductor) – 23 April 2019
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta) (Symphonic Band) (Benjamin J. Diden, conductor) – 14 April 2019
  • Pacific Lutheran University (Parkland, Wash.) Wind Ensemble (Edwin Powell, conductor) – 10 March 2019 *Premiere Performance*


Works for Winds by This Composer


Resources