Anna Clyne
FITS + STARTS (2003)

Duration: 6 minutes
Instrumentation: Solo cello and tape
Commissioned by the Los Angeles-based Hysterica Dance Company.
Premiered by Benjamin Capps and Hysterica Dance Company on 17 November 2003 at Greenfield Hall, New York, NY
Copyright/Publisher Information: Boosey & Hawkes, Inc

The composer writes:

Fits + Starts was composed for Hysterica Dance Company and choreographer Kitty McNamee as part of a larger work, Victorious, which premiered at Brooklyn’s DUMBO Dance Festival in 2003. Originally composed as a tape piece, Fits + Starts was later revised to include live cello, which was subsequently premiered by cellist Benjamin Elton Capps at New York’s Greenfield Hall and later programmed by Bjork at an afternoon salon in downtown New York.

Having met Kitty in 2002 at a New York dance festival, she went on to choreograph Sketches of a Return—a suite of 7 pieces for multi-tracked cello, which I had just recorded with Brooklyn-based audio engineer Alan Labiner. Having seen her interpretation of this music, along with her other choreographed works, I became familiar with her language, and was able to draw upon this for inspiration. I am particularly drawn to her use of subtle gestures that are woven into the fabric of her work to form a narrative structure. I took this as a source of inspiration for the motivic cells that drive the music— harpsichord ornaments, angular rhythmic pizzicato figures in the cello, and so forth. Another aspect of her work that I am drawn to is its core sense of sensuality— often shadowed by an ominous underbelly of tension. This inspired the more expansive and lush sections of Fits + Starts.

The material for the tape part comprises harpsichord ornaments recorded by a wonderful harpsichordist in Edinburgh—where I had just completed my undergraduate degree— plus viola figures, and cello layers which I play on the recording. These sound sources were subsequently spliced, manipulated, layered and re-configured to form the tape part. Fits + Starts became the catalyst for a long-time collaboration with Kitty McNamee. My first significant orchestral work, rewind, was composed for her Hysterica Dance, and we are currently developing a multimedia chamber opera. Fits + Starts was released on Blue Moth in 2012 on Tzadik Records.

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’s 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 the New York Youth Symphony’s award-winning program for young composers “Making Score” 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 by the Orchestra 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, Postponeless Creature, will have its world premiere in 2015. 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 include 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 Marin Alsop, Pablo Heras-Casado, George Manahan, Jeffrey Milarsky, Riccardo Muti, 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), 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 in New York’s (Le) Poisson Rouge, Museum of Modern Art, Galapagos Art Space, and Carnegie Hall. Clyne’s work has also 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. These include 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 U.K., 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. Clyne 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. She is a member of the American Music Center, American Composers Forum, Electronic Music Foundation and the American Society for Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). Her music is published by Boosey & Hawkes. Anna Clyne lives in Chicago.

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