Daniel Wohl, Glitch (2009)

Duration: 20 minutes
Instrumentation: String quartet and electronics
Commissioned by Carlsbad Music Festival for the Calder Quartet
Premiered by the Calder Quartet on Sept. 29, 2009, at the Carlsbad Music Festival in Carlsbad, Calif.
Publisher/copyright: G. Schirmer

The composer writes:

“All audio mediums inherently contain flaws that make them compelling in their own ways: the hiss and pops of vinyl records, the skips on a scratched CD, and mp3 compression errors were inconsistencies that have come to represent an era in music. In the age of digital reproduction, a player’s mistake on an acoustic instrument such as a tiny variation in pitch or an accidental scratch in the midst of otherwise ‘normal’ playing style, can now read as a glitch. These accidents form the conceptual basis for this piece. The electronics consist of processed and distorted string recordings, while the quartet itself plays its share of intentional pops, hisses, fragmentary melodic motifs and other inconsistencies that comment on — or reflect back — to the track.”

About the composer:

Born and reared in Paris, Daniel Wohl currently lives in Brooklyn; he creates music that “blurs the line between electronic and acoustic instrumentation and seemingly melt both elements into a greater organic whole” (WNYC). He frequently collaborates with ensembles, artists, filmmakers and choreographers, bringing to life his vision for new music that connects the endless sonic possibilities of today’s world with his classical compositional background. He has been called one of his generation’s “imaginative, skillful creators” (New York Times) with work that is “provocative and surprising” ( N PR) and “beautiful … original” (Pitchfork).

Over the past few years, Wohl has worked with ensembles such as the American Symphony Orchestra, Albany Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, eighth blackbird, Calder Quartet, New York Youth Symphony, So Percussion, Bang on a Can All-Stars and collaborated with artists such as Julia Holter, Laurel Halo and Son Lux.

He also is the co-founder and co-curator of Sound/Source, an electronic and electroacoustic music festival held at MOMA Ps1. A recent graduate of the Yale School of Music, he is a recipient of three ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Awards, as well as grants from the Barlow Foundation, New Music USA, the Brooklyn Arts Council and the Jerome Foundation.

Recent and upcoming projects include Holographic, a full-length album commissioned by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra/Liquid Music, MASS MoCA, the Baryshinikov Art Center and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Out on New Amsterdam Records in January 2016, the album is co-produced with Paul Corley (Oneohtrix Point Never, Ben Frost, Tim Hecker) and includes the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Mantra Percussion, Lucky Dragons and Mivos Quartet, among others. Other projects in the works are a new piece for string quartet and electronics commissioned by the German festival Donaueschinger Musiktage for the Calder Quartet; a new work for MOMA Ps1 featuring Caroline Shaw (Roomful of Teeth) and Olga Bell (Dirty Projectors); appearances at the San Francisco Symphony Soundbox series, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW series; a consortium commission for 20 percussionists; a new piece for the Bang on a Can All-Stars through their People’s Commissioning Fund; a score for the surrealist indie film “Elixir” (a 2015 Berlinale selection); Cycles, a full-length ballet score commissioned by Georgia Tech’s Sonic Generator ensemble and the GLO ATL dance company, and a film score for “The Color of Time,” featuring James Franco, Jessica Chastain and Mila Kunis.