Anna Clyne, A Wonderful Day (2013)

    Duration: 5 minutes
    Instrumentation: Amplified ensemble and pre-recorded audio
    Commissioned by Bang on a Can All-Stars
    Premiered by Bang on a Can All-Stars on March, 14, 2013 at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City
    Publisher/Copyright: Boosey & Hawkes

    The composer writes:

    On a chilly autumn evening, I was walking down Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. In front of me, an elderly man was slowly strolling; his walking cane tapping on the concrete with each step. He was singing with a raw, slow voice, which had an immediate sense of both joy and struggle. I scurried up, and asked if he’d mind me recording him. He said yes, and we continued to walk southward as he sang. Then he stopped and we chatted a little. I asked him his name (it’s Wooly Barber), and whether he’d mind me setting his voice to music. His face lit up at the idea.

    A Wonderful Day sets Wooly’s voice — spoken and sung — with the instruments of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, who provide a gentle bed of sound. My editing of the original recordings is minimal so as to preserve the directness of Wooly’s voice and the surrounding sounds of traffic, people chatting and the tapping of his cane.

    A Wonderful Day is the first in a collection of short electro-acoustic works titled Chicago Street Portraits, which combine recordings of local street musicians with live instrumental ensembles.

    About the composer:

    London-born Anna Clyne is a composer of acoustic and electro-acoustic music, combining resonant soundscapes with propelling textures that weave, morph and collide in dramatic explosions. Her work, described as “dazzlingly inventive” by Time Out New York, often includes collaborations with cutting-edge artists. Along with Mason Bates, she was appointed one of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Mead Composers-in-Residence by Music Director Riccardo Muti, and took up the post in the 2010/11 season for a term of two years.

    Maestro Muti extended Clyne’s and Bates’ terms through the 2014/15 season, allowing them to continue their work on the MusicNOW contemporary music series and other projects with various partners throughout Chicago in support of the CSOA’s ongoing commitment to collaborating with today’s leading artists and arts institutions. An avid advocate for music education, Clyne teaches composition workshops for local young composers and incarcerated youth as part of the CSO’s Citizen Musician Initiative, and served as the director of “Making Score,” the New York Youth Symphony’s award-winning program for young composers, from 2008 to 2010. Clyne was also recently a guest composer at the 2011 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival.

    Clyne’s Night Ferry was commissioned by the CSO and received its premiere in February 2012 under the baton of Music Director Riccardo Muti. It was also taken on tour to California. Her double concerto Prince of Clouds, a CSO co-commission, received its Chicago premiere in December 2012. Clyne has had two pieces commissioned by the CSO’s MusicNOW series: Spangled Unicorn (premiered in 2011) and As Sudden Shut (premiered in 2013). A third, Posteponeless Creature, has its world premiere in February 2014.

    In August 2013, Clyne’s Masquerade had its world premiere on the famed Last Night of the Proms by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop. Other premieres in 2013 included Clyne’s The Violin, a multimedia collaboration with artist Josh Dorman and violinists Cornelius Dufallo and Amy Kauffman, and The Lost Thought, performed by Trio Mediæval with conductor Julian Wachner. Her other commissions include works for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, Houston Ballet, London Sinfonietta, Southbank Centre, ETHEL, Bang on a Can, Metropolis Ensemble, American Composers Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

    Clyne’s work has been championed by some of the world’s finest conductors, including Muti, Alsop, Pablo Heras-Casado, George Manahan, Jeffrey Milarsky, Leonard Slatkin, Alan Pierson, Andre de Ridder, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Osmo Vänskä, as well as by Alex Ross of the New Yorker, who curated performances of her work with the Seattle Chamber Players and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. As a passionate collaborator, Clyne has worked with many of today’s most inventive and pioneering artists, including choreographers Nicolo Fonte/Houston Ballet (USA), Kitty McNamee/Hysterica Dance Company (USA), Matthew Neenan/BalletX (USA), Pascal Rekoert/Flexicurve (Holland), musician Björk (Iceland), painter Y.J.Cho (Taiwan), artist Josh Dorman (USA), sound artists Jody Elff (USA), Jeremy Flower (USA), filmmaker Michael Bates (Australia), visual artists Joshua Bryan (UK/Japan), Luke Dubois (USA), Jon Niborg Speier, (USA), Rokhshad Nourdeh (France) and Joshue Ott/Superdraw (USA), and writers Tom Bolt (USA) and Scott Jacobson of “The Daily Show” (USA).

    Her work has been performed in such diverse venues as the Barbican Centre, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, the University of Edinburgh, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and at New York’s (Le) Poisson Rouge, Museum of Modern Art, Galapagos Art Space and Carnegie Hall. Clyne’s work also has been featured on the d.u.m.b.o. Dance Festival, New York Musical Theatre Festival, River to River Festival, Beijing Modern Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Soundings Electronic Music Festival.

    Clyne is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including a Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; eight consecutive ASCAP Plus Awards, which merited her recent catalogs of work for their “unique prestige value”; a Clutterbuck Award from the University of Edinburgh; awards from Meet the Composer, the American Music Center, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Jerome Foundation, International Artist Sponsorship, and a 2006 Commission Prize from ASCAP and SEAMUS “in recognition of outstanding achievement and demonstrated ability.” She was also a finalist for the ASCAP Morton Gould Composer Award, and was nominated for a 2010 British Composer Award.

    Her first recording, Blue Moth, was released in February 2012 by Tzadik Records. It showcased a diverse range of her instrumental and ensemble-with-tape compositions, including Roulette, fits + starts and Steelworks.

    Born in London and raised in the United Kingdom, Clyne began her musical studies on a piano with randomly missing keys. At the age of 11, she wrote and performed her first fully notated piece for flute and piano. She holds a bachelor of music with honors degree from Edinburgh University and a master of music degree from the Manhattan School of Music, where she received an academic-based scholarship. Her principal teachers include Julia Wolfe, Marina Adamia and Marjan Mozetich. Clyne is a member of the American Music Center, American Composers Forum, Electronic Music Foundation and the American Society for Composers, Authors and Publishers. Her music is published by Boosey & Hawkes. She currently lives in Chicago.

    For more information about Anna Clyne, visit