Kari Besharse


Leave a comment

Rails

Alarm Will Sound has posted the world premiere recording of Rails on their soundcloud page.

Rails premiered in July 2011 at the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival.

Here are the program notes for the piece:

Rails (2011) was inspired by the soundscape of Hammond, Louisiana. More specifically, it engages the sounds that I have heard on a daily basis since moving from Champaign, Illinois, to Hammond, Louisiana in August 2010. My apartment is two blocks away from two intersecting railroad tracks. One is the Illinois Central line, which runs from Chicago to New Orleans, the other is a freight track. Intermittently all day (and all night) I hear trains approaching and passing from different directions. These trains are too loud to simply ignore, and often it feels like there is a low-level earthquake shaking the apartment. The conductors of these trains tend to lay on the horn as they are passing through town, creating a long and varied sound as the train whistles are warped by their own mechanism, the atmosphere, and by speed and distance. Additionally, each of these trains has its own unique rhythmic profile, its own pattern of creaks, clicks and knocks, and its own speed. Each time a train passes; a unique sonic experience is created. Therefore, the sounds of these trains are very much a part of my piece, the spectra of their whistles, the rush of sound when they pass by, and their creaky mechanical rhythms. My apartment also looks out over a park, so my piece is also populated by pastoral sounds such as birds and wind chimes.


Leave a comment

Almost There

My courses at Southeastern Louisiana University have kept me pretty busy this Fall. Right before the semester began, I was asked to teach Form and Analysis and Modal Counterpoint. These two new courses have been a joy to teach, but have kept me on my toes all semester. Our last day of class is only two weeks away, December 1st. I am hoping winter break will provide me with some solid composition time and some new inspiration…

I’m going to Africa. No joke. I’m going on a safari with my family to South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I have been looking forward to this since the second I was invited to go along, and now it’s just two weeks away. I am going to take my audio recorder and video camera and collect lots of material. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it yet, but with my recent interest in site-specific sounds and soundscape, I am positive I will compose something. It’s hard to speculate, I’m just very excited about the trip at this point.

This semester, I have been trying to eek out time to work on my piece Icons, for T.V. Buddha Ensemble in Champaign, Illinois. It’s getting there… I should have a double bar line very soon.

Today I finally finished editing the score and instructions for Embers, my piece for saxophone and piano.


1 Comment

Rails

For the past couple of months I have had my head completely underground composing a work for the MIZZOU New Music Summer Festival coming up July 10-17. This piece was written for Alarm Will Sound, one of the top American new music ensembles directed by Alan Pierson. This year, the festival will feature the music of guest composers Roger Reynolds and Anna Clyne. There is an interesting lineup of daily masterclasses, presentations and concerts. Although resident composers were not able to include electronics in their works, I am psyched to see that many of the other concerts will include electroacoustic works and pieces for instruments and electronics. I am really looking forward to this festival!

The piece that I wrote for Alarm Will Sound is titled Rails, which was inspired by the soundscape of Hammond, Louisiana (my current home). Here is the program note:

Rails (2011) was inspired by the soundscape of Hammond, Louisiana. More specifically, it engages the sounds that I have heard on a daily basis since moving from Champaign, Illinois, to Hammond, Louisiana in August 2010. My apartment is two blocks away from two intersecting railroad tracks. One is the Illinois Central line, which runs from Chicago to New Orleans, the other is a freight track. Intermittently all day (and all night) I hear trains approaching and passing from different directions. These trains are too loud to simply ignore, and often it feels like there is a low-level earthquake shaking the apartment. The conductors of these trains tend to lay on the horn as they are passing through town, creating a long and varied sound as the train whistles are warped by their own mechanism, the atmosphere, and by speed and distance. Additionally, each of these trains has its own unique rhythmic profile, its own pattern of creaks, clicks and knocks, and its own speed. Each time a train passes; a unique sonic experience is created. Therefore, the sounds of these trains are very much a part of my piece, the spectra of their whistles, the rush of sound when they pass by, and their creaky mechanical rhythms. My apartment also looks out over a park, so my piece is also populated by pastoral sounds such as birds and wind chimes.

Jasmine

Jasmine assisting with the composition of "Rails" (and no, I didn't stab her in the throat with the pencil)

With my piece finished, it’s time to satiate some of my wanderlust.  Phil and I will be taking off in a couple of days for a 2-week camping adventure in Colorado or Appalachia. In July, after the MIZZOU New Music Summer Festival, I am also looking forward to ICMC in Huddersfield, England.


Leave a comment

Embers

Embers, my latest work for saxophone and piano premiered March 19th at the North American Saxophone Alliance region 6 conference at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida. This piece was written for Southeastern Louisiana University saxophone professor, Dr. Richard Schwartz. He was accompanied by Dr. Philip Schuessler (my astonishingly talented husband) on piano. The premiere performance was not recorded, but Phil and Rich are rehearsing the piece for a recording session next week. Here is an excerpt from their rehearsal today!

Embers330_02


Leave a comment

It’s 2011???

Wow, it is really hard to believe that 2011 arrived so fast! The fall semester proved to be an extremely busy one. Teaching over 300 students at Southeastern Louisiana kept me on the edge of my seat and continuously occupied with grading and planning. After a long and productive Winter break, I am almost (sigh) ready to do it all over again starting this Tuesday!

With December came two new commissions for pieces. The first, a piece for a newly formed new music ensemble put together by U.I. comrade Ming-Ching Chiu. This work is titled Icons I is for clarinet, trombone, violin, electric guitar, and percussion and is set to premiere (tentatively) in February.

The second piece, which I am just getting started on is Embers for saxophone and piano, a work requested by Southeastern Louisiana saxophonist, Richard Schwartz for the upcoming National Saxophone Alliance region 6 conference in Jacksonville, Florida!

More about these new pieces, other activities, and updates to this site are coming soon!


1 Comment

Etchings Festival & Adventures in France and Spain

In July, I had the privilege of being a participant in the Etchings Festival, which took place in Southern France, in the beautiful village of Auvillar. Of course, I ended up adding two weeks of travel time on to explore other new places in France and Spain.

I flew into Paris, spent one night, and then took the overnight train to Barcelona, Spain, which was a completely new city for me (overnight train travel on the cheapest seat possible – not recommended (but actually, I’ve got another overnight train trip coming up, maybe I’ll never learn)). I went to all the architectural sites and museums that I could possibly fit into four days, then it was time to hit the tracks again… Back to France, to the Pyrenees.

In the Pyrenees, I stayed in a great little town called Cauterets, which was the base for my mountain explorations. I hiked. About 25 miles in three days (but who’s counting, I survived, my feet survived, no ours or chiens des montagnes were encountered) on the GR-10 and other trails around the vicinity of the Parc National des Pyrenees. It was amazing, and honestly, I didn’t really want to leave. It was also incredibly inspiring, and my forthcoming set of guitar and viola pieces will be inspired by some of my hikes (and Miro).

Okay, so the Etchings festival itself was pretty incredible. I met a lot of fabulous people, and the performers were excellent. My latest acoustic piece, Luminous Flux, for alto sax, bassoon, violin, viola, and cello was rehearsed and then premiered by members of the East Coast Chamber Ensemble at this 13th century chapel in the town of Auvillar, France. The guest composers were Fabien Levy and Louis Karchin, who both had some extremely refreshing insight into my music.

My wonderful performers were Florence Cooke, violin; Oliver Margulies, viola; James Barralet, cello; Mary Joy Pratchett, alto sax; and Maria Wildhaber, bassoon. A special thanks goes to John Aylward for conducting the rehearsals and performances.

The participant composers were great, too. We had a lot of adventures (some countryside hikes), drank a lot of wine, and ate a lot of cheese.

The clock tower in the center of Auvillar, avec Aaron Bresley, Brian Padavic, Mu-Xuan Lin, and Craig Pellet, mes nouveaux amis.