Andy Larson

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Revisit

I haven’t visited my own website in quite some time. Typically, that occurs when I don’t have time to do so. The months since my last update are no exception to that rule. Here’s the skinny since May 2012!

June 2012 – I presented a world premiere piece for two tubas and [a digital instrument called] GUA at the International Tuba Euphonium Conference in Linz Austria with my colleagues Nick Hwang [http://nickhwang.com/] Corey Knoll [http://jcoreyknoll.com/].

July 2012 – I traveled through Austria, the Czech Republic, and France with my girlfriend following the presentation in Linz. We had a wonderful time!

July 2012 – I moved to Austin, Texas in an attempt to alienate myself from my comfort zone and complete my doctorate writing document.

October 2012 – I saw Godspeed! You Black Emperor 3 times in 4 days

November 2012 – I traveled to Italy to participate in a solo competition. While I was there I visited Venice, Trieste, Cividale, Udine, and Milan.

November 2012 – I moved back to Baton Rouge because living in Austin was too awesome to get any work done.

February 2013 – I am currently in the final phases of writing my DMA document. It will be completed by March 15, and presented to the public on March 26 at 5:30PM in the Recital Hall at LSU. My final defense will take place about two weeks later, and I will graduate in May. Wahoo!!

I promise I will update this as time permits and I have stuff worth updating. For now, mark down March 4th in your calendars. I will be performing a solo recital at LSU at 7:30PM that evening. Please come by if you can!

Updates, updates!

So first some bad news. I had submitted my first original composition for tuba and electronics to two conferences. Both of them declined to include my piece. I’m a little bummed, but glad to have gone through the process and gotten some constructive comments back. They were a little difficult to take, but criticism of something that is so close and personal often that way.

In good news, I’ve made my travel plans for ITEC in Austria this summer. I will be travelling to Vienna, Linz, Vienna, Prague, and Paris. My girlfriend will be joining me on the trip, and we are mostly couch surfing or staying in hostels to keep the cost of the trip down.

I am also travelling to Washington DC this weekend to visit some family. My cousin is getting married in December and is doing a shower event in DC, so that’s the purpose of the trip.

Additionally, I am travelling to Kalamazoo, Michigan in June for the International Women’s Brass Conference. There is a tuba competition there that I am participating in. I need to keep practicing!!!

Thanks for reading, I’ll keep you posted on more exciting things in the works as they develop.

Whoa….

There’s been quite some time since my last update. This seems to be a trend for me. Sorry about that, and thanks for coming back each time!

The first two concerts in the Experimental Performance Series have come and gone and the third is fast approaching. I do have a booth recording as well as a video recording of the second concert. My goal is to piece together the video with the house recording and get some videos on YouTube soon. Stay tuned for news on that! It is highly dependent on my ability to learn how to use Final Cut so it may be a while…

The third concert is April 30 at 8PM in the LSU student union Royal Ballroom. It is a happening in the vein of John Cage. It should be alot of fun! If you are in the area, please consider coming out and seeing what we are up to.

I am still planning to be in Kalamazoo for the Susan Slaughter International Brass Solo Competition in early June in 2012. Later that month, I am traveling to Portugal to rehearse for a world premiere at the International Tuba Euphonium Conference in Linz, Austria.

There’s a lot of possibility for where I will be living come July, so stay tuned for updates as information comes in!!!

Latest News

Wow, it has been a while since I’ve updated!! It seems that about every month I get to a point where enough has happened that I need to share. So, here we are, about a month since my last post, and I am going to share!

There have been a lot of developments on several fronts here in the Red Stick.

The one that is coming up the closest is the Experimental Performance Series that I am curating. As you may or may not know, I applied for (and received) a fellowship here at LSU for this semester through the Janice H. Pellar Creative Arts Entrepreneurship Series. This fellowship has supplied me with tools and a budget with which to do stuff. The stuff I chose to do is team up with my friend, William Conlin, and curate an experimental performance series here at LSU. The purpose of this series is to raise money so that next school year, a contemporary performance techniques class can be offered that will be cross-listed between the music and theatre areas here at LSU. The dates and program of those concerts are as follows:

Friday March 30, 7:30PM, LSU Recital Hall – In C by Terry Riley
This will be a ‘cattle call’ style performance in which the audience, should they have an instrument with them (hint, hint!!!) can participate. There will be a short lecture as to how the piece unfolds followed by a realisation of the piece.

Wednesday April 18, 7:30PM, LSU Recital Hall – Experimental Lagniappe
This recital will feature works by Morton Feldman, Christian Wolff, Andy Larson, William Conlin, and others. It will be a forum at which any experimental performance can be had. The program is still in the works for this one.

Monday April 30, 8:00PM, Royal Ballroom in the LSU Student Union – A Happening
This performance will feature the piece Eight by John Cage as it’s centerpiece. Occurring simultaneous to this musical performance will be movement and dance, painting, drawing, drama, poetry, and a myriad of other artistic events. Audience members will be free to move around the space as they wish, focusing on a particular piece of art being made, or sit back and enjoy the flood of creativity that they will be witnessing.

Donations will be accepted at all three of these concerts.

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The next big thing on my agenda is my dissertation. I have a study carrel checked out in the LSU Library, so I have a space where I can go to study quietly and privately. It also serves as a holding space for all the resources I have checked out. I am currently finishing my prospectus and hope to have that turned on on Thursday. Following that, I need to have my document finished by May so that I can have revisions done in time for a defense in mid June. Then, graduation would be August 3rd!

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As for my travels, I hear on March 16 about my submission to NIME. I hear May 1 about my submission to ICMC. I am going to the Creative Arts Summit in Claremont, CA in March. I am going to Baltimore for Maryland Deathfest around Memorial Day weekend. I am going to Kalamazoo, MI for the International Women’s Brass Congress at the beginning of June. I am going to ITEC in Linz, Austria. I am going to the Jeju International Solo Competition in Jeju Island, South Korea in August. All my updated performance dates are listed on my Performances page.

Thanks for reading!

News, News, News!!!

Last time I wrote, I was sitting in my Washington D.C. hostel after arriving there for the US Army Band Tuba Euphonium Workshop. I had a performance at that conference on Friday, January 27, as a part of the Falcone Festival Winners Recital. I performed on the second half, after euphonium winner Toby Furr of the University of North Texas. Toby and I got to hang out quite a bit at the Falcone Festival this past August, so it was great to get to see him again.

I performed three different sonatas–a coincidence that actually worked out rather well. I didn’t intend to program three pieces with the same name. My intent was, instead, to showcase the tuba, what it is capable of, and how composers write for the instrument. The first piece was Sonata in d minor by Godfrey Finger. It was originally written in the baroque period for recorder and harpsichord. A really nice video of this performance can be found on youtube here. The second piece I performed was Sonata by Andrzej Krzanowski-a Polish composer. It is written in a minimalist style and features two contrasting musical ideas. One is rhythmic and repetitive while the other is more melodic and rhythmically stagnant. The melodic theme either occurs in the extreme low register or the stratosphere, so that makes it rather challenging. The piece clocks in at around 14 minutes, so the sheer physicality and endurance that is required makes it a daunting task. It is so much fun to play and, I think, fun to listen to. The last piece was the super accessible Sonata for Tuba and Piano by John Cheetham, written in 2000. It is a fantastic piece of music that is relatively easy to play and exceptionally easy to listen to. It reminds me of movie music. You can find a video of my performances of the Cheetham Sonata on my YouTube channel here.

After the conference, I returned to Baton Rouge and immediately began preparing for the oral defense of my DMA general exams. After a pretty intense two hour grilling session by my DMA committee (which is made up of Dr. Joe Skillen, Dr. Stephen David Beck, Dr. Brian Shaw, Prof. Seth Orgel, and Dr. Jon Cogburn) they informed me that I passed my defense! This means I am officially ABD and can now fully focus on writing my dissertation. As for the dissertation, I have begun contacting tuba professionals that I am hoping to interview to get some information for my document. If all goes well, I will be travelling to Cookeville, Tennessee next week to spend some time with R. Winston Morris. That will be fun!

This Friday, we have the LSU Concert Spectacular. I am performing in only a few ensembles this year–the LSU Tuba Euphonium Ensemble and the LSU Jazz Band. We are performing All That Jazz… Whoo hoo!! Later this semester, I will be performing IN C by Terry Riley–that will be on March 30 at 7:30PM in the LSU Recital Hall. Also in the works is an interdisciplinary performance including John Cage’s EIGHT. There will be music, dance, drawing, painting, sculpture, and any other art forms I can gather. Then, later in April, I will be performing a tuba recital featuring experimental and electronic music.

Busy busy busy is the name of the game, as it is for everyone I suppose. You guys be safe out there. We’ve had a number of fatalities in the Baton Rouge cycling community in the last month or so. Don’t hit cyclists and be good to your fellow human and keep in mind that no matter how idiotic they might be acting, they are still someone’s mother or daughter or cousin or friend. In other words, they are people just like you are. Be cool. Sorry…had to get that out.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll post more when some stuff happens!

US Army Band Tuba Euphonium Workshop

I’m here in Washington DC for the US Army Band Tuba Euphonium workshop. This morning i left Baton Rouge and flew with my tuba on the plane next to me. It was actually quite easy. The flight attendants all freaked out when they saw me walk into the plane. They said “No, honey, that won’t fit.” and I said “It has it’s own seat” to which they said, “oh. You’re all good then.”

I am staying at the DC Hostel, which is very nice. I just finished dinner. Earlier today I had a rehearsal with the fabulous Caryl Conger. I’m so lucky to get to work with her again.

Tomorrow, I will be a guest of Col. Tim Holtan and the US Army Field Band at Ft. Meade. I will sit in on one of their rehearsals and then have lunch with Col. Holtan and his wife, Laurie. They are old family friends whom I haven’t seen in 15 years or so.

My performance is on Friday at 1:30 eastern time. My cousin, aunt, and uncle are all coming. Hopefully, my godfather will be here, and a few other friends and family will be listening via the live audio broadcast being set up by the army band.

Here is the link to the main schedule of the conference. Simply find my recital (Friday at 1:30 eastern) and join the live stream. Hopefully it works!!

Spring Semester prep time

Hi there! The spring semester at LSU begins next Tuesday. Starting Wednesday, I have my General Exams. After those are finished, I will be teaching for Dr. Skillen while he is visiting Scotland. Upon his return, I head to Washington D.C. to perform for the U.S. Army Band Tuba Euphonium Conference. I am splitting a recital there with the Euphonium winner of the Falcone Competition from this past summer. Then on February 3rd, I defend my General Exam. Provided that all goes well, I will be ABD on February 3rd.

Between then and the performances and conferences in May (see my performance calendar for info on those), I hope to get my dissertation worked on. Also, on March 14th I will be racing the Rouge Roubaix bike race. It is a ~110 mile bike race that takes place in St. Francisville, LA. Approximately 30 miles of the 110 is on gravel roads. Yeah…. Should be fun!

Next Sunday, January 22nd I am doing a 103 mile ride with a bunch of friends. We are riding from Baton Rouge north on Old Scenic Highway, working our way to LA-10 to cross the new Audubon Bridge, then heading south on LA-1 to Plaquemine. Once there, we will eat lunch, cross the river on the Plaquemine Ferry and ride north on River Road to Baton Rouge. Should take about 6-7 hours or so. It should be a good time, provided I rode this past Tuesday for the first time since finals week at LSU.

Thanks for reading, I hope you keep on returning. I’ll post more as more happens.

Holiday time

Well, the holidays have come and gone. We still have New Year’s Eve, though, so that’s a plus. I performed for 8 masses in 23 hours at a catholic church here in Baton Rouge. I am all massed out. It was a lot of fun, though. I played with three other brass musicians from here in town who are very talented. It is always a pleasure to perform with them.

I have updated my performances page. I have a few things that I will be submitting to conferences in May and September. They are the New Interfaces in Musical Expression Conference in Ann Arbor, MI and the International Computer Music Conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Cross your fingers with me!!

I have yet to hear back from any of the jobs I’ve applied for. There are two others that I would like to get an application in to, so I will be working on that in the next few weeks. I will also be preparing for my General Exams on January 18-20, and working towards my final DMA document that is due to be completed by late March. YIKES!!!!

I will be traveling for 10 days beginning on New Year’s Day. My 2012 begins with a trip to Buffalo NY and Daytona Beach FL. Looking forward to meeting new people, seeing some old friends, and seeing family.

See you on the other side!

World Premiere

I forgot one other thing!

Yesterday I performed the world premiere of Tuba Piece no. 1 – for tuba alone and live electronics by ME!!!!!

Despite a minor false start (for forgetting to turn on my microphone!) the performance went rather well I think. The piece is sound in concept. I think I need to write a bit different musical content. The electronic component went really well! I programmed the electronics using Max/MSP and ran my sound through a PreSonus AudioBox USB into one of LSU’s hemispherical speakers. The sound and sounds were awesome! The experience was exhilarating! I’ve never been so nervous in my life for a performance as I was yesterday.

Anyway, it went well, it is over, and the piece may not ever see the light of day. A refined version of it definitely will, but probably not this version. :-)

Stay tuned for more on my compositions. It is an emerging side of my creative life that will only get more busy!

Wow! It’s been a long time!

Hello, cyber Andy Tuba fans. It has been some time since my last update. I have been extremely busy, and am finally able to fill you in. I sincerely apologize for the delay. I think the last time I typed on here, I had just performed my final required DMA recital. So much has happened since then! I am excited to share it all with you, and thank you for being patient with me.

Let’s go chronologically from the beginning of November!

The Sunday following my recital, November 6, I drove a 15 passenger van to Texas for a small recruiting tour. In this van was held percussion equipment, brass instruments, and 12 of the more awesome members of the LSU Brass and Percussion ensemble. (What happened in our van on the road stays in our van, so don’t expect any tour stories.) We can, however, share that our tour was incredibly demanding and rewarding.

  • We drove to the Cy-Fair area of Houston and stayed in a hotel Sunday night, arriving around 1am. We then had a performance at two high schools in the Cy-Far district before lunch time. After lunch, we drove to Bryan, Texas, where we did a masterclass at Bryan High School. That evening, we performed a full concert in Bryan for a crowd of about 350 people. Following this performance, we ate dinner, and drove to our hotel in Dallas, arriving at around 1am.
  • The next day, we woke up super early again, performed at two Flower Mound area high schools. We then ate lunch! Following lunch, we drove into downtown Dallas and performed at the Booker T Washington School of the Performing Arts. After that performance we had several hours to kill before our performance in the Meyerson Symphony Center at 7:50PM.
  • Several students, Dr. Skillen, and myself walked a few blocks away to the Dallas Museum of Art. They had an amazing collection of work by current artist Mark Bradford. His work was stunningly large, complex, mostly political, and sometimes unsettling. I really enjoyed his environmental installation entitled Pinocchio is On Fire. The museum also had works by Pollock, Rauschenberg, and Rothko that were incredible to see in person. One work that I really enjoyed in particular was by Ellsworth Kelly. It was called Red Panel (1980) and featured a huge canvas painted red that was slightly curved hanging on a wall. The way it was curved and hanging fooled with my eyes, big time. It was awesome!
  • After the art museum, we performed our fanfare preceding the Dallas Wind Symphony concert. Just like last time we performed there, the DWS was amazing. They performed the Jennifer Higdon Oboe Concerto, which is a remarkable composition. I have never heard an oboe sound like that. The sounds that she was getting from the band and the soloist were really quite staggering, and masterful in their combination.
  • After the concert, we went back to our hotel and slept. We woke up in the morning and drove back to Baton Rouge! Upon arrival, we had about 2 hours to hang out before performing our final LSU Brass Ensemble concert for this season. It was a wonderful concert that was well attended and got us some really nice compliments. This Brass Ensemble thing is really gonna take off at LSU in the next few years.

After that, I had a really intense paper to prepare. I was writing on the use of the tuba in the music of Morton Feldman, Christian Wolff, and William Kraft. It led me to some really interesting places in my research. I have enjoyed reading on the composers, and am looking forward to continuing my research on experimental music and the tuba.

Next, I had to prepare a 20 minute conference style presentation to the rest of my class based on my research and my paper for the same class. It is always difficult to prepare that much talking, but as a performer, I felt quite comfortable with it. I also feel like I have a good grasp on how to present what I am doing in a way that is watered down enough to be understandable, intelligent enough to sound credible, and persuasive enough to entice the reader to want to learn more.

Then it was Thanksgiving break! I went to the LSU Tigers vs. Arkansas Razorback game on Black Friday. It was an amazing way to end my collegiate football career. While in the stadium on that beautiful afternoon, I got somewhat nostalgic and began thinking back to 10 years ago when I first enrolled at LSU and how my life has changed since then. It’s been quite a roller coaster!

After the weekend, Rachel (my girlfriend) and I went to the Saints vs. Giants game on Monday Night Football in the Superdome down in New Orleans. That was something that was on both of our Louisiana bucket lists. (Since we both anticipate leaving Louisiana upon our respective graduations, we formulated our Louisiana bucket lists. More on that later.) The Saints pummeled the Giants in what was my first professional football game. We sat in section 605, seats 5 and 6. It was awesome. The Saints are awesome, the atmosphere is awesome, the stadium is beautiful, the fans are great. I really enjoyed being at that game.

This week, I have a small presentation due on Friday. Following work on Friday, I am driving to Atlanta to watch the LSU Tigers take on the UGA Bulldogs in the SEC Championship Game. It airs at 4PM Eastern. I’ll be in section 303! Watch out…

Then, next week, I have finals on Monday and Saturday, and am proctoring exams for my two minor lesson students on Tuesday.

I have also been in the process of getting the questions for my General Exams, as well as scheduling the Defense of those exams. It is difficult work, co-ordinating that many schedules, but will be worth it (and dare I say, fun!) to do that defense in the end. My committee is full of really talented professors who are good at what they do and have my best interests in mind. I am so lucky to be at LSU!!!!

That’s a lot of writing. I hope you got through it all okay. If you have any questions for me, are interested in my research, want to cheer me on, think I’m an idiot and want to tell me so, or get in touch with me for any other reason, my contact info is on this page! Until next time….

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