Patterns in Nature

Patterns in Nature

Nachoff has always loved film and animation: his compositions are very expansive and cinematic in scope and lend themselves well to a creative visual: for his Juno-nominated album Path Of Totality he commissioned six film-makers to create six original short movies inspired by the music. This fruitful collaborative experience inspired Nachoff to develop Patterns In Nature: an ambitious multi-media project, again combining science, film and music. The development stage will see Nachoff collaborate with Dr. Morris, filmmakers, and musicians, all using each others’ work-in-progress as inspiration. Dr. Morris will construct new physical experiments specifically for this project that will provide source materials that can be incorporated into the composition and filmmaking process. Each piece will feature a different filmmaker and a different core improviser from within the ensemble, creating a body of work that is strongly differentiated but with a powerful unifying concept. With an instrumental palette that blends a modern chamber orchestra with unique improvisers, and the powerful visual statements from the bespoke video content creations of Nachoff’s chosen film collaborators Anne Beale, Lee Hutzulak, Gita Blak and Udo Prinsen, the result will be a unique and unforgettable immersive experience.

Saxophone Concerto (2017)

Saxophone Concerto (2017)

Quinsin Nachoff — Composer and soloist

with Turning Point Ensemble
Conductor and Artistic Director — Owen Underhill

Flute, alto flute, piccolo — Brenda Fedoruk
Oboe, English horn — David Owen
Clarinet — François Houle
Bass Clarinet — AK Coope
Bassoon — Ingrid Chiang
French horn — Steve Denroche
Trumpet — Tom Shorthouse
Trombone — Jeremy Berkman
Harp — Janelle Nadeau
Piano — Rory Cowal
Percussion — Martin Fisk
Violins — Mary Sokol Brown, Domagoj Ivanovic
Viola — Tawnya Popoff
Cello — Peggy Lee
Double Bass — David Brown

 

Premiered at Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre
SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts (Vancouver, Canada) 
Co-presented by The Turning Point Ensemble and The Vancouver International Jazz Festival, June 27 & 28, 2017

Thank you to Professor Stephen Morris at the University of Toronto Physics Department. His research area is emergent patterns in Nature. Through one of his physical experiments, cracking patterns in drying mud helped to form the foundation for several musical elements in this concerto.

In 2017 Nachoff was invited by Vancouver’s Turning Point Ensemble to compose and feature himself in a Saxophone Concerto. As inspiration he used the data from a physical experiment of University of Toronto Physicist Dr. Stephen Morris. Morris’ area of physics is Emergent Patterns in Nature, and the composition drew on Nachoff’s fascination with the way that Nature spontaneously builds ordered patterns, from the organized swirls of flowing water to the networks of cracks that appear in drying mud. Nachoff and Dr. Morris also collaborated on another piece, Bounce, from the Juno-nominated album Path of Totality with Nachoff’s ensemble Flux (featuring David Binney, Matt Mitchell, Kenny Wollesen and Nate Wood) that uses the physics of a bouncing ball as a motivic idea throughout the piece, manifesting melodically, rhythmically and harmonically. In both works Nachoff endeavoured to incorporate the science as a source for inspiration, taking artistic liberties with the source materials, rather than using it as a set of rules that must be strictly followed. The Saxophone Concerto premiered at the Vancouver Jazz Festival in June 2017, setting the stage for further collaboration.

Snippet from Rehearsal

Pyramid Project

Pyramid Project

Quinsin Nachoff – tenor sax, compositions
2 Trumpets – have included Ralph Alessi, Jonathan Finlayson, Tim Hagans, Nadje Noordhuis, Shane Endsley
French Horn – John Clark
Trombone – Ryan Keberle
Tuba – Marcus Rojas
Drums – have included Jim Black, Mark Ferber, Jeff Davis

Nachoff’s music is equally grounded in jazz and contemporary classical and this project explores this intersection in a highly individual way. A series of compositions for a five-piece all-brass ensemble are driven by Jim Black’s powerfully polyrhythmic jazz-rock drumming while Nachoff’s own distinctive voice on tenor sax sails above. By turns quizzical, introverted, textural, and dynamically funky in the best street brass tradition, this is a truly idiosyncratic blend of genres that shapes a cohesive whole. The power, dynamism and playfulness of the band shine out in live performance: launched with a series of shows at Brooklyn’s Seeds!, IBeam and Cornelia Street Café, with a line-up of Ralph Alessi (trumpet), Jonathan Finlayson (trumpet), John Clark (French Horn), Ryan Keberle (trombone), Marcus Rojas (tuba) and Jim Black (drums), the band has continued to develop, with Tim Hagans & Nadje Noordhuis joining on trumpets for a gig at Hunter College NYC.

Penderecki String Quartet + Ethereal Trio

Penderecki String Quartet + Ethereal Trio

Penderecki String Quartet
Jerzy Kapłanek, Jeremy Bell – violins
Christine Vlajk – viola
Katie Schlaikjer – cello

Ethereal Trio
Quinsin Nachoff – tenor sax
Mark Helias – bass
Dan Weiss – drums

Nachoff’s free-ranging creativity has long led him to explore the outer reaches of contemporary music. The groundbreaking ‘Stars and Constellations: Scorpio’ followed this angle naturally by taking the exploration of the physical outer reaches of interstellar space as its inspiration. The piece was commissioned by the Penderecki String Quartet, who provided the perfect creative partnership: in the thirty years since their formation in Katowice, Poland, they have established a reputation as one of the most celebrated modernist chamber ensembles of their generation. With his creative foils Mark Helias and Dan Weiss on bass and drums respectively, Nachoff blends the freedom of the jazz trio with the intricate precision of contemporary classical quartet writing. The success of the commission’s 2015 premiere has inspired Nachoff to venture even further on his exploratory voyage: premiering in 2021, he will be writing a complementary piece in the series ‘Stars and Constellations’ along with a piece for double string quartet (with the addition of the Molinari String Quartet) and Trio.

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