Kari Besharse


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2016 World Premieres Part I: Music Box!

2016 has been a life changing year for me so far! At the beginning of the year, I had several world premiere performances – Music Box for guitar and piano, Palus for vocal trio, and Forest Songs: HD Songs. In April, my first child was born, and the adorable little guy has been keeping me very busy ever since! I’m finally getting around to posting some information about my latest pieces as well as audio and video of the performances.

Music Box for guitar and piano premiered on February 16 at Southeastern Louisiana University. The piece was written for a subset of Hypercube, Jay Sorce, guitar and Andrea Lodge, piano. The idea behind Music Box stemmed from a residency at Banff back in January, 2014. The Banff center owns the entire set of Stockhausen Tierkries music boxes!

While there, I was allowed to play with the entire collection of Stockhausen’s Tierkreis music boxes. I loved all the mechanical sounds these little boxes made – particularly the whirring of the gears, the noise of the winding mechanism and the gradually distorting, sinking, slowing sound of the music boxes as they gradually wound down. In this piece, the piano and guitar are used like gargantuan broken down, spastic music boxes, sometimes spitting out noise, sometimes warping chordal and spectral materials and occasionally spitting out fragments of the Virgo, Sagittarius and Taurus music boxes.

Here is a recording of the world premiere performance:

By the way, thanks to my husband, Philip Schuessler, I now have a Sagittarius box of my very own.

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New Pieces and Springtime Premieres

2015 has already been an extremely productive year. I have composed two new pieces with premieres scheduled in April and May!

The Inhibitors, written for pianist Mabel Kwan, is a study in frustration and irregularity. When a pattern or melody begins to emerge, it is thwarted and immediately stamped out. This piece will premiere on April 1st at Southeastern Louisiana University and April 3rd on the Versipel New Music concert at Cafe Istanbul.

I also recently completed a vocal trio for Accordant Commons called Palus. This piece captures the essence of being in the cypress swamps of Louisiana, truly one of the most beautiful and magical ecosystems on the planet. This work is scheduled to be premiered in May on Microfest, an annual celebration of microtonal music in Los Angeles.

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Hammond, Louisiana

After a fantastic summer spent traveling, composing, and hiking, my husband and I moved (on extremely short notice) to Hammond, Louisiana to teach at the music department of Southeastern Louisiana University. This fall, I am teaching three sections of Intro to Music and one section of Aural Skills I. So far, things have been pretty busy for us. Our furniture and everything else we own is still in Champaign, Illinois. Seriously, we have 2 TV dinner trays, a lawn chair, a college dorm chair from Target, and our fantastic air mattress (thanks to Ed & Amy Martin) (we are 5 weeks sleeping on the air mattress and counting).  We have managed one trip to the beach (in Alabama) and one swamp adventure, too. We do have plenty of new music in the works, so stay tuned for more news and a report of my exciting adventures this summer!