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15 Questions to JB Floyd

img  Tobias

Hi! How are you? Where are you? I’m doing well.
I am in Miami where I am on the faculty of the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. I just returned from 2 incredible concerts in Belgium with Thomas Buckner, David Wessel and Matius Kuhl. I’m still riding that wave.

What's on your schedule right now?

My schedule now is for preparation for my concert on the Interpretations 20th Anniversary Series which is November20th and also preparing a chamber music concert with my wife, Pin-I Wu, cellist for January, 2009 in Taiwan.

The "Interpretations" series is celebrating its 20th season this year. In which way does this bring back personal memories for you?
My memories are of my two other featured concerts on the Interpretations Series in the past and enjoying many other past Interpretations events.

What, to you, makes "Interpretations" stand out from the cornucopia of contemporary music series?
The broad range of compositional styles and the high level of performance presentation make this series an important source for current trends in contemporary music.

In which way, would you say, has "Interpretations" been marked by its location – is there something typically New Yorkian about it?
New York being the center of creativity in this country Interpretations is able to showcase composers and performers that no other location can match.

How would you describe and rate the music scene of the country you are currently living in?
Distressing at best. There are small enclaves of enthusiasts for new music but much isolation except for Internet exposure.

Speaking about your own music: How do you see the relationship between sound and composition?
I am interested in both organized and spontaneously discovered sound-structure and improvisation.

In which way, would you say, is your cultural background reflected in your work?
My background has always included the Western Classical tradition as well as contemporary jazz, free improvisation and electronic experimentation. In the 1970s I organized a multi-media group, Electric Stereopticon that toured in the USA, Latin America and in Europe.

How strictly do you separate improvising and composing?
I try to converge the two disciplines as much as possible in my compositions.

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What's your approach to performing on stage?
An ambient sound environment is my first priority. I need an environment in which all musicians can communicate. Other that that, no power outages!

How would you define the term "interpretation"? How important is it for you to work closely together with the artists performing your work?
It is important for me to convey my intentions to the artists with whom I work but also to be completely open to their concepts and suggestions for interpreting my scores.

Russian composer Alexander Danilevski said: "The musical innovations of the 21st century will not be intonational ones; they will be based on developing a new musical form and dramaturgy." What are your thoughts on this?
There is such a wealth of musical expressions and styles being explored today from all over the world that are a great stimulus to all creativity.

Would you say that a lack of education is standing in the way of audiences in their appreciation of contemporary composition?
Certainly performers today are still attracted to the traditional repertoire of the past but many of these advanced performers are discovering the excitement of new music and are helping to attract a new audience that is curious about current musical trends.

How, do you feel, could contemporary compositions reach the attention of a wider audience without sacrificing their soul?
The task is for the performer to be sensitive to the art of programming. Crossing aesthetic boundaries is necessary to offer the new along with the established.

You are given the position of artistic director of a festival. What would be on your program?

If I had the necessary budget I would engage the artists I just performed with last week in Belgium: Thomas Buckner, baritone, David Wessel, electronics and Matius Kuhl, composer/percussionist. We would walk on stage and create a fantastic free improvisation that would stir the audience to a state of ecstasy.

Transporting Transmittance (Mutable Music) 2003
Suitable for Framing David Rosenboom/ w. Trichy Sankaran (Mutable Music) 2004


JB Floyd

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