Andy Larson

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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….

Culmination!!

I had my final required DMA recital this past Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 5:30PM in the LSU Recital Hall. It was well attended by a smattering of friends that I knew from all walks in Baton Rouge. I had bicycle friends, music friends, work friends, roommates, current teachers, colleagues from the non-university Baton Rouge music scene, and probably more. My parents even drove up from Florida! On the way in, they picked up my Aunt Kathie who lives just north of Hammond.

The recital was a tour de force of literature. I started with Songs of Ascent by Roger Kellaway. It is a three movement concerto for tuba that is approximately 30 minutes long. It was written in 1989 for the NY Philharmonic and their principal tuba player at the time, Warren Deck. He premiered it with them and then played an additional performance of it at the Sapporo, Japan ITEC in 1990. Since then, I don’t know that it has been performed. More recently, it was recorded with piano by Aaron Tindall on his CD titled Songs of Ascent. The piece itself requires absolute mastery of the tuba. It jumps from above the staff to below the staff both immediately and through a course of thirds in an extended triadic runs. It really is beautiful, well constructed, and fun to play; if you can play it!! I have been working on it since 2007. Not consistently since then, but I’ve been practicing it on and off for the last 5 years or so.

After Songs of Ascent I took a break to let my face and brain calm down a bit. I started the second half with John Cheetham’s Sonata for Tuba and Piano. It is an easy play after Songs of Ascent. Aside from a pretty constant face-to-mouthpiece ratio, it is relatively simple. It is easy to play and easy to listen to and was a lot of fun.

Following that, I performed an arrangement of Antonio Bazzini’s violin showpiece entitled Dance of the Goblins. The arrangement was done by my friend Dr Benjamin Pierce who is the tuba and euphonium professor at the University of Arkansas. The piece is difficult. And has a lot of notes. That go by quickly. I wasn’t super happy with it after the performance, but after listening to the recording, it went a lot better than I thought it did! I love it when that happens.

 

Performing is what I love to do. I love to play my instrument and inspire others. Inspire others to practice harder or think or drive them to feel angry or happy or uncomfortable or really feel anything at all. I am really hopeful to get one of the three positions I have applied for. I truly believe that the atmosphere at a university is the best possible environment to be in. The collaborative possibilities, the constant influence and inspiration of young minds, the ability to have a locus of activity— it is all so appealing. And evident. And within reach. All that’s left for me is to finish my classes this semester, take the generals (and subsequent defense) in January, and write my document. Then, you’ll be reading posts from Dr. Andy Tuba. :-)

Stay well, Internet.

Visit my kickstarter:   http://goo.gl/heH4Q

Visit my YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/larsontuba

And keep reading my website! http://www.thetubamonster.com

Beautiful day

It is a beautiful day on campus here at LSU.

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Cinema for the Ears

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This is the 27 speaker array that we use for the High Voltage Concerts here at LSU. This particular show is part of the Cinema for the Ears series. We are able to control where the sound is coming from. For example, if a plane is flying by in the fixed media piece, we can make it seem as though the plane is flying from the front right of the room, over your head, and to the back left of the room. Cool stuff! Gives fixed media pieces a new life! Gives us a different performative experience.

YouTube Channel

I have created a YouTube Channel where I can upload the few videos that exist of my performances. I will have a few more after my recital on November 2, 2011 which is being streamed live. The link for my YouTube Channel is: http://www.youtube.com/user/larsontuba

I hope you check it out and enjoy some of the videos I have uploaded and some of the videos I have favorited! There are several videos from the Laptop Orchestra of Louisiana (LOLs) Gala Concert at the Manship Theatre for the Performing Arts in the Spring 2011 semester. Please check them out!

 

Links to the live stream of LSU Octubafest events are in a previous post.

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