Reverie (Dan VanHassel)

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Composer's Notes:

"Reverie for two electric guitars was written for the Ignition Duo under the auspices of the Guerrilla Composers Guild in San Francisco and received its premiere at the Center for New Music on February 27, 2015.

Coming out of rock music as an electric guitarist myself, I am very interested in music that transforms the sound of instruments through a highly personal and idiosyncratic approach. This, combined with my distaste for highly virtuosic and aggressively masculine approaches to the electric guitar, resulted in an extremely calm and meditative piece. By removing the attack sound of individual notes with volume pedal swells and extending the sound through (nearly) endless delay loops, the piece becomes a gradually shifting soundscape of harmony and color with very few recognizable landmarks for the listener to grab onto.

Despite this (or because of it) the music is very strictly structured; based on a progression of seven chords that gradually increases in speed through the course of the piece. One guitar is responsible for playing these harmonies, while the other elaborates on them by adding additional colors and playing long slow melodies on top of them."

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from ABLAZE AMIDST THE HORNS, released January 30, 2016
Composed by Dan VanHassel

The music of composer and multi-instrumentalist Dan VanHassel (b. 1981) has been described as “energizing” (Wall Street Journal), “a refreshing direction” (I Care If You Listen.com), and “an imaginative and rewarding soundscape” (San Francisco Classical Voice). Drawing from a background in rock, Indonesian gamelan, free improvisation, and classical music, his works create an evocative sound world that is both exuberantly expressive and intricately constructed.

His work for chamber ensemble and electronics Ghost in the Machine, performed by the Talea Ensemble on the final night of the 2015 MATA Festival in New York City, has been praised as “something of a masterpiece…this piece needs to be heard, seen, talked about, and learned from” (New Classic LA). fzzl for snare drum and live electronics, featured at the International Computer Music Conference in Perth, Australia, was called a “magnificently-crafted composition…VanHassel has created a consistently fresh and surprising dialogue between the live performer and the electronically induced sound” (Lontano Music).

Current projects include a large-scale song cycle for soprano Vanessa Langer and chamber ensemble Wild Rumpus, premiering in Summer 2016 with support from Chamber Music America’s Classical Commissioning Fund and a new work for the UC Santa Cruz Wind Ensemble with the composer on electric guitar, premiering in May 2016 with support from the Barlow Endowment.

Other recent performances of note include the world premiere of Ever Expanding for trio with live electronics in Shanghai, China commissioned by Shanghai Conservatory’s Electronic Music Week, as well as performances by Dinosaur Annex in Boston, pianists Gloria Cheng and Keith Kirchoff, Empyrean Ensemble, Ignition Duo, Ensemble Pamplemousse, Red Fish Blue Fish percussion ensemble, and Santa Barbara’s Now Hear Ensemble. His work has also been featured at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, UC Davis Music and Words Festival, Wellesley Composers Conference, June in Buffalo, Music11 Festival, the SEAMUS National Conference, and the Original Gravity Concert Series.

Forthcoming recordings featuring his music include Ablaze Amidst the Horns, the debut album from San Francisco’s Ignition Duo, featuring Reverie for two electric guitars, and Music from SEAMUS, Vol. 25 featuring fzzl. Recordings of his music can also be heard on releases on the Soundset, Perishable, and Thinking OutLoud labels.

His music has been recognized by numerous honors and awards from ASCAP, New England Conservatory, UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, the Guerrilla Composers Guild, and the Kalamazoo New Music Project.

Also active as a concert organizer and performer on piano and electric guitar, Dan is co-founder and artistic director of contemporary chamber ensemble Wild Rumpus in San Francisco. Cited as a “fresh young ensemble” by the Wall Street Journal and “a showcase of virtuosity and imagination” by San Francisco Classical Voice, Wild Rumpus is devoted to presenting the music of the present, with an emphasis on commissioning young and emerging composers.

Currently residing in Boston, Massachusetts, Dan has degrees from the University of California-Berkeley, New England Conservatory, and Carnegie Mellon University. He has studied composition with Edmund Campion, Ken Ueno, John Mallia, Michael Gandolfi, Leonardo Balada, and Nancy Galbraith.

www.danvanhassel.com

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Ignition Duo San Francisco, California

Forged in 2011 by David Gonzales and Ramon Fermin, Ignition Duo has set out to marshal a new and vital repertoire for two electric guitars via intensive collaboration with emerging and established composers.

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