Home » Events » William Winant Percussion Group & Blood Moon | Mills Music Now

William Winant Percussion Group & Blood Moon | Mills Music Now

Loading Map....

Date(s) - 02/06/2016
8:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Littlefield Concert Hall, Mills College


Add This Event to Your Calendar

Buy Tickets

The William Winant Percussion Group premieres new works composed for them on a program including improvised music by blood moon.


  • blood moon

02.06.16. a, b, c

  • Nava Dunkelman and Robert Lopez

Calder Hannan – Orchid Drift Gaps (2015)
Kristina Warren – Choose (2014)
Rachel Devorah Trapp – overmorrow : no attack in progress (2015)

  • William Winant Percussion Group

Matthew Burtner – The Speed of Sound in an Ice Rain (2015)
Christopher Luna – Vortex (2015)
Sophia Shen – Rite of the Elves (2015)

Program Notes

  • Matthew Burtner – The Speed of Sound in an Ice Rain (2015)

This piece is about listening to an ice rain and imagining the speed of sound changing. I recorded the sound of the ice rain in five channels, listening to it crackle on surfaces. While listening, I wondered how that precipitation affects the speed of sound: does sound speed up in the more dense ice-filled air? Is the sound of precipitation then faster than it would be on a dry, hot day? Does the ice in the air scatter and dampen the sound? This piece invites us to hear that experience as music.

  • Christopher Luna – Vortex (2015)

This piece is derived from one of several recordings that I made while driving across the United States from Oakland, CA to Charlottesville, VA. The title, Vortex, references a new age idiosyncrasy in Sedona, AZ: the belief that there are zones of energy (vortexes) in specific points of the area. These zones attract tourists eager to practice (or perform) some spiritual activity. Not quite inspired by the animated demonstrations of enlightenment amidst the magnificent landscape, I kept exploring the area until I found Sedona’s unique airport –mainly used for helicopters and small private airplanes. It is set on the top of a small mountain that lies in the middle of the area’s canyon’s diameter. I recorded the takeoff of a helicopter, from its ignition to its flight, succeeded by the approach and landing of another helicopter. The choreography of these machines in such a setting was accompanied by fascinating noises. If there was any vortex in that valley, this was it for me. The red valley, the flying objects, their rhythmic, timbral and dynamic richness were adapted to be played specifically by the William Winant Percussion Group.

  • Calder Hannan – Orchid Drift Gaps (2015)

This is a piece in three sections. In the first, two thematic ideas drift across each other. In the second, gaps appear in repeated ideas. The third is a game for the performers that explores in an abstract sense the ideas of drifts and gaps as they relate to rhythm.

  • Rachel Devorah Trapp – overmorrow : no attack in progress (2015)

overmorrow : no attack in progress (2015) is a sonification of the 257 fatal shootings of civilians by American on-duty police officers in 2015 where The Washington Post reported no attack was in progress or the threat level was undetermined at the time of the shooting.

Each minute of the piece represents one month of the year, and incidents are heard within the minute in proportion to the date on which the incident occurred.
The player on the left is sonifying the fatal shooting deaths of civilians reported to be White. The player on the right is sonifying the fatal shooting deaths of civilians reported to be Black, Hispanic, Asian, Other, or Unknown.

Incidents in which the civilian was armed with a gun at the time that they were shot are heard on the drums, incidents in which the civilian was armed with a knife, a vehicle, another weapon, or a toy gun is heard on the wood instruments and incidents in which the civilian was unarmed or their armament was undetermined are heard on the metal instruments.

All data used is from The Washington Post National Police Shootings Database

  • Kristina Warren – Choose (2014)

Choose was originally composed for percussion quartet in 2014 and appears here as a duo. In this piece, the players think interrelatedly about local and architectural time scales. The percussionists work with two kinds of rhythmic notation – traditional, and a strip of changing color as proportional notation – and create loops from fragments of read rhythms. Superimposed over this largely free approach to rhythm, each player occasionally chooses how to inflect their looped rhythms, for instance by assuming the rhythmic character of the other player’s material. Ultimately, Choose is a structure for guided improvisation and can vary greatly from one run-through to the next. I am grateful to Rachel Devorah Trapp for her diligent programming work, and to Robert Lopez and Nava Dunkelman for their brilliant realization of the piece.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.