Justin Reed/Todd Clark
HOMMAGE Á SCRIABIN (MusicNOW commission, world premiere)
Duration: 20 minutes
Instrumentation: Turntables, lights and live visuals

The composer writes:

“When Mason [Bates] first approached me about performing a piece for MusicNOW, I felt a heady mix of thrill and fear — I had never composed and performed an original piece in the context of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s new music series! When given the conceptual outline of an homage to Scriabin and the opportunity to collaborate with renowned lighting designer Todd Clark, I immediately had feelings that morphed to excitement over the fantastic possibilities of this piece.

“As a person who lived with synesthesia, Scriabin had a fixed, specific sensory experience of a range of colors and emotions associated with different musical keys. The concept of a composer who saw music literally in terms of colors with emotional resonances was a profound concept for me to digest. I listened to a range of his compositions while researching this piece and was continuously inspired by the emotional resonance of his work. It is instinctual behavior hard-wired within our animal DNA for different sounds to invoke a broad range of emotions and physiological responses. In conceptualizing this piece, we strove to make the music’s connection with these sights and feelings a tangible reality for the audience.”

About the composer:

With a bold and unrivaled DJ technique and an ear for brilliant music, Justin Reed has been energizing dance parties for over 15 years. Not content to just “play songs,” he considers DJ-ing to be an expressive act. To that end, his DJ sets communicate the DJ’s creative potential as well as of the records’ producers. As a DJ, he has played venues from a sushi bar to Chicago’s Metro, as well as underground events that have attracted up to 3,000 attendees. His DJ career has taken him musically from techno and house to down-tempo, hip-hop, mid tempo and even forays into broken beat and bass music.

As an original member of Chicago’s illmeasures DJ collective, Reed has help to revitalize the Chicago underground as illmeasures became known for stellar loft parties. This tradition has carried on with The Freakeasy/Resonate collaboration, which, with the vibrant force of Chicago’s Burning Man Community, has set the scene on its head. Over the last five years, he has collaborated extensively with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, including as the booking agent and performer for MusicNOW pre- and post-concerts, and as a featured performer and co-producer of the POST series at Symphony Center.