Tyshawn Sorey

Mills Music Now
November 14, 2020 | 7:00 PM PST
Presented by Mills College Music Department and Center for Contemporary Music

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Solo I and II (November 2020)

These are spontaneous compositions featuring myself on piano from my home den/office/practice studio. If one likes slowly unfolding music, Solo I would be an ideal selection to listen to. If one likes very fast music, Solo II would be worth listening to.

Dr. Tyshawn Sorey - piano

Tyshawn Sorey offers this for viewing after the concert program.

Autoschediasms: Video Chat Variations (2020).
Notes (from I Care If You Listen): Autoschediasms is three-dimensional hybrid system of live composition that is both an evolution of and a departure from the Conduction™ vocabulary of Butch Morris and the Language Music vocabulary of Anthony Braxton. This music system interpolates three large components: they are Gesture, Autonomy, and Category. [...] [I]t has evolved into a system where, for instance, in some of the Morris gestures, I have added many additional distinct cases in which these cues are to be performed, therefore increasing the possibilities of creative interpretation. This would then become the first component, titled Gesture. In Autonomy, the second component, I developed a different numbering system using 10 performance/sound classifications for the musicians to perform at their own accord and in response to or independently of what is happening in the music. Where Autoschediasms becomes most involved, however, is through the third component: Category. [T]he cues in Category are all indicated by the use of cards that are in color and some cards that are not. For example, players are sometimes asked to perform a number of actions that are relational in some way by distance either within their pod or to another pod of musicians on another screen. All three of these components demand a considerable amount of time to learn and rehearse and are often juxtaposed into a complete whole, therefore creating a unique compositional model for orchestra music: one that is a democratic process that incorporates detailed formal processes and calls for both instrumental and virtual soloists to navigate highly prescribed performance parameters that may otherwise be ignored, left to only their devices. For this virtual collaboration, Autonomy and Category cues were of significant focus here, as some Gesture cues would have been much too complicated for the performers to interpret, given latency concerns and such.

Dr. Tyshawn Sorey - prompter, and the Alarm Will Sound Ensemble (credits listed at the end of the video).

Tyshawn Sorey

Newark-born composer and multi-instrumentalist, Tyshawn Sorey (b. 1980) is celebrated for his incomparable virtuosity, effortless mastery and memorization of highly complex scores, and an extraordinary ability to blend composition and improvisation in his work. He has performed nationally and internationally with his own ensembles, as well as artists such as John Zorn, Vijay Iyer, Roscoe Mitchell, Muhal Richard Abrams, Wadada Leo Smith, Marilyn Crispell, George Lewis, Claire Chase, Steve Lehman, Jason Moran, Evan Parker, Anthony Braxton, and Myra Melford, among many others.

The New York Times has praised Sorey for his instrumental facility and aplomb, “he plays not only with gale-force physicality, but also a sense of scale and equipoise”; The Wall Street Journal notes Sorey is, “a composer of radical and seemingly boundless ideas.” The New Yorker recently noted that Sorey is “among the most formidable denizens of the in-between zone…An extraordinary talent who can see across the entire musical landscape.”

Sorey has composed works for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the International Contemporary Ensemble, soprano Julia Bullock, PRISM Quartet, JACK Quartet, TAK Ensemble, the McGillMcHale Trio, bass-baritone Davóne Tines, Alarm Will Sound, the Louisville Orchestra, and tenor Lawrence Brownlee with Opera Philadelphia in partnership with Carnegie Hall, as well as for countless collaborative performers. His music has been performed in notable venues such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Village Vanguard, the Ojai Music Festival, the Newport Jazz Festival, the Kimmel Center, and the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center. Sorey has received support for his creative projects from The Jerome Foundation, The Shifting Foundation, Van Lier Fellowship, and was named a 2017 MacArthur fellow and a 2018 United States Artists Fellow.

Sorey has released twelve critically acclaimed recordings that feature his work as a composer, co-composer, improviser, multi-instrumentalist, and conceptualist. His latest release, Pillars (Firehouse 12 Records, 2018), has been praised by Rolling Stone as “an immersive soundworld… sprawling, mysterious… thrilling” and has been named as one of BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction 2018 albums of the year.

In 2012, he was selected as one of nine composers for the Other Minds Festival, where he exchanged ideas with such like-minded peers as Ikue Mori, Ken Ueno, and Harold Budd. In 2013, Jazz Danmark invited him to serve as the Danish International Visiting Artist. He was also a 2015 recipient of the Doris Duke Impact Award. Sorey has taught and lectured on composition and improvisation at Columbia University, The New England Conservatory, The Banff Centre, University of Michigan, International Realtime Music Symposium, Harvard University, Hochschule für Musik Köln, Berklee College of Music, University of Chicago, and The Danish Rhythmic Conservatory.

Sorey received a B.Music in Jazz Studies and Performance from William Paterson University, an M.A. in Music Composition from Wesleyan University, and a D.M.A. in Music Composition from Columbia University.



Jean Macduff Vaux Composer‐in‐Residence

Jean Macduff Vaux (Class of 1933) was a Mills alumna who went on to earn a secondary teaching credential at the University of California at Berkeley. She lived a life of community service. During World War II, for example, she was a civilian volunteer with the 3rd Fighter Command and worked with the Red Cross. She was an active supporter of Mills' Alumnae Association and served as the National Branch Chair, over‐seeing thirty‐four branches in the 1950s. Jean and her husband Henry Vaux were founding members of the Cyrus and Susan Mills Society.

The Vaux family has established The Jean Macduff Vaux Composer‐in‐Residence Fund at Mills in Jean's memory. The endowed fund is used by the Music Department to invite distinguished
composers to teach at Mills in residencies which culminate with concerts of their works.

The Mills College Music Department is very grateful for the vision and generosity of the Vaux family.