Like many composers, I have a temperament that lends itself to spending long hours alone. However, one of the greatest joys to be found in music is the experience of sharing it with others, whether as a listener, as a performer, or as a creator. The beauty of collaboration is its potential for emergence: the way that a collective result can emerge that is so much more than the sum of each individual's contribution. Here are some of my past and present collaborations.
Grant Wallace Band
Part band/part composers collective, Grant Wallace Band is a collaboration between myself and fellow composer/performers Ben Hjertmann and Luke Gullickson. Through a uniquely collaborative process, we create and perform music that defies easy categorization, combining threads of new music, jazz, and American vernacular styles. We have played throughout the country, including appearances at Fast Forward Austin, the Resonant Bodies Festival, and the Chicago Cultural Center. We have collaborated with Ensemble Dal Niente, the Chicago Composers Orchestra, and are currently incubating a project with the Houston Grand Opera, slated for premiere sometime in 2016 or '17. Our debut LP, Axle of the World (with Rabbit) was released in July 2015 on the Two Labyrinths label. For more information or to see upcoming shows, visit grantwallaceband.com.
Since 2013, I have worked periodically with choreographer Andrea Cerniglia, providing music for the pieces she creates for her dance company Dropshift Dance. Working closely together over months of incubation and rehearsal, we have created two full length pieces, Imposter/Malleable, presented in February of 2014, and Imposter/Contained, presented in May of 2015. For my part, I have contributed recorded and electronic music as well as participating as an improviser.
Kong Must Dead/Sissyeared Mollycoddles
I have been fortunate enough to have close personal relationships with many musicians with whom I have worked through the years. One such person is Ben Hjertmann, a composer and singer who I met in grad school and with whom I continue to find joy and inspiration in collaborations to this day. As part of the perpetually self-reconfiguring Sissyeared Mollycoddles, I played at South by Southwest in 2011 and recorded an album, Angelswort, in 2012. More recently, I spent a week in North Carolina with Ben's current project, Kong Must Dead (also including Luke Gullickson and Ryan Packard) to record a new album. That album, titled Psychopomp, is slated for release some time in 2016 and features the fruits of an intense week during which I learned the pedal steel guitar and recorded my first (and last) trombone solo.
Between 2007 and 2009, I was a member of Carla Kihlstedt's music-theater project Necessary Monsters. The ensemble, a diverse group of musicians including members of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Rube Waddell, and Zen Cabaret performed the work in Oakland and Chicago. The experience was formative; over the course of several weeks, the band became a temporary family and I learned how to negotiate the constantly shifting balance between camaraderie and professionalism. I also spent my first long days recording in the studio, acquiring experience and skills that I rely on to this day.