Stephen Savage

Artist Statement   

Composing, improvising, and performing music gives me joy, and I've been lucky to work as a musician and teacher.  I've written works in the traditional way for the traditional types of musical ensemble, e.g. solo piano, chamber, and orchestral pieces.  I've also written and played "rock" and "jazz" at various points in my life, but had been mainly a "classical" composer.  The quotes are meant to convey something of the inadequacy, arbitrariness and imprecision of these terms, and of course there are many others.  Music now can be seen as a spectrum of almost infinitely subdivided sub-genres, and the "music industry" wants music categorized as one or another genre.  I have resisted this, although I know it's sometimes necessary; let me just say that my work has been in many different genres.  

Recently, I've been working with Proof of Infinity and its founder, my friend and producer Michael O'Connell, using some of the many electronic and virtual musical resources that are now available.  He has generously recommended and provided some of these resources, and my recent efforts have grown from my exploration of them.  This is both challenging and liberating; what was formerly impossible, or very difficult, is now possible and much easier thanks to the remarkable advances in music technology. I have found these resources to be just as useful for composition as other musical instruments, even though the working method is different.

Throughout this process the old techniques are still there—improvisational and compositional approaches to melody, counterpoint, harmony, orchestration/instrumentation, form, etc. I've tried to bring them to bear on a different kind of music for me, one that is still my own but informed by what listeners are hearing now in the global culture, and that I hope will have some appeal to listeners today, using the resources available at this moment. The process requires the discipline of improvising coherently, but also combines this with the capacity to edit the captured real-time flow in a digital environment, allowing not only deliberation and editing after-the-fact, but also all the Happy Accidents that contribute to the end result.

I know I've only scratched the surface of these resources, and humbly look forward to learning more, exploring further and going deeper.



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