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  • Writer's pictureKate Amrine

CD interview 2: Alexandra Gardner and Ariel Marx

This post is the second in the series of mini interviews I will be doing with all of the composers and performers featured on my upcoming CD. Find out more information about that project and how YOU can help me make it happen here:

There are also some clips from a live performance in this video so please have a listen

Last week I introduced two composers who wrote two unaccompanied trumpet pieces that will featured on my CD. Today I am very excited to introduce Alex Gardner and Ariel Marx, both who wrote pieces for this CD featuring electronics.

How did you first get into music and composition?

Alex:I grew up playing piano and singing in my school chorus, so I’ve always been into music, and I love all kinds of music. But I didn’t start composing until college—I signed up for an electronic music course my freshman year, and became completely obsessed with making my own sounds. I was hooked from day one!

Ariel: Born to musical parents, I fell in love with music at a very young age listening my mother and father sing and play guitar and piano. There’s video evidence of me “composing” at a very young age, constantly singing about everything that came to my mind. Another way I feel in love with music was how it helped tell stories in film. One thing led to another, and I pursued my masters in composition at NYU with a concentration in Scoring for Film and Multimedia.

What was your inspiration for this piece?

Alex: Ituri was inspired by the following quote, from an unknown author, which I found (completely by accident) on a scrap of paper lying in the street in Baltimore, Maryland:

When bad times befell the inhabitants of the Ituri forest in Central Africa, they assumed that their misfortune was due to the fact that the benevolent forest, which usually provided for all their needs, had accidentally fallen asleep. At that point, the leaders of the group would dig up the sacred horns buried underground, and blow on them for days and nights on end, in an attempt to wake up the forest, thus restoring the good times.

Ariel: This past year a dear friend introduced me to audio NASA released called “Celestial Music” — a recording of sound waves emitted from several stars and planets. This inspired me to create a piece using this audio, as well as trumpet and electric guitar.

What is new /exciting/ upcoming for you / currently working on?

Alex: I am currently writing a new piece for saxophone quartet with electronics, and I look forward to a composer residency with the Seattle Symphony in 2018. I will be composing a new work for the orchestra, as well as leading their Young Composer Workshop, and doing some community-based music-making with LGBTQ youth.

Ariel: I’m currently working on several short films, and have just started a feature film. 

Who are your inspiring women heroes? Musical or not, and why?

Alex: I have several, but one of the most important ones is my composition teacher from college, Annea Lockwood. She has led an adventurous and uncompromising life, and is one of the best people I know in the world. Another hero is Pauline Oliveros (speaking of adventurous lives!). I love the way she was always able to shed light on all of life’s creative possibilities.

Ariel: Kaija Saariaho for her sonic exploration and imagination, Mary Oliver for her words of wisdom and inspiration, Amelia Earhart for fearlessness determination.  What do you think we can do to change the music culture to be more inclusive of women and other less visibly prominent composers and performers? Alex: HUGE question! I think we as artists must do everything possible to “be seen and heard” in the musical world, by serving as good musical citizens and positive role models for all other artists.  I think our musical culture is hampered by a general scarcity mindset, and I’d love for it to be more focused on creativity than upon competition. Visible role models as well as a shift in cultural attitude might help attract more young women to the field.

Ariel: Keep active in discovering new musicians and composers, create a team of collaborators that represent all minorities, create, find, and share work (such as creating this album) for and with all of our sisters. 

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