Kris Peysen Composer
(POSTPONED) Summer 2020: Premiere of In the Womb by the Iowa City New Horizons Band
August 7, 2022
Hello everyone. I've been absent for a while, so this news post is meant as a catch-up regarding what has been going on professionally for me since my last post.
Starting last fall, I had a couple of performances I'd like to draw attention to. On November 6th, Moog Dreams was presented at the La Crosse New Music Festival. Then on November 14th, I performed in a new work of mine, Pedal Concerto, during the UofI Laptop Orchestra Concert. This was an improvisatory piece for electric guitar, a Max patch I'd been developing, and an indeterminate number of additional performers. The recording of that should be up shortly.
Last fall I also passed my comprehensive exams, making me officially All-But-Dissertation. The dissertation itself I will begin working on this coming fall, which will likely be a piece for sinfonietta. More details will be announced as they solidify.
Moving forward, on June 3-5, 2022, I took part in the first in-person Iowa Composers Forum Summer Festival of New Music since 2019, where two works of mine - Tidal and Mirages - were performed. I myself played the electric guitar parts on both works, alongside pianist Perry Mears (on Tidal) and flutist Carol Hester (on MIrages). Video recordings of those performances should be up soon.
Then on June 19th, the Des Moines Community Orchestra, under the baton of Carl Johnson, premiered my work To Awaken a God. This performance was originally planned for 2020, but had to be postponed because of Covid. It was exciting to finally hear this piece live!
Finally, in July 13-16th, I participated in the International Trombone Festival, where I'm excited to announce that my work Whirlwind was selected for performance! I had a great time meeting other composers and world-class trombonists.
Looking forward, I will mostly be working on my dissertation, which may end up being my longest work to-date. I may be working on some other works as well on the side. Potential upcoming performances this fall as well - I'll keep you posted.
August 29, 2021
The audio and video recordings of Mirages, my work for flute and electric guitar composed for Dal Niente, are now posted on my Works and Media pages, respectively. More announcements likely coming soon. Stay tuned!
February 9, 2021
Update on the new piece I am writing: it will be a duet for electric guitar and flute, and it will be performed by Dal Niente on April 18, 2021. The performance will also be livestreamed here.
December 6, 2020
The audio recording of Tidal is now posted on my Works page. Check it out!
Regarding future plans, it looks like I'll be writing another piece with electric guitar, which will be premiered sometime in the spring (likely April). The likely instrumentation is electric guitar, flute, and harp. Excited to further explore this instrument! More concrete details will be announced in the coming months.
November 25, 2020
The Hypercube Composition Lab has recently concluded, featuring the premiere of my work Tidal for electric guitar and piano. The video of the live-streamed concert is now posted on my Media page. An audio recording will also be posted in the near future. Excited to have had this collaboration, and definitely look forward to writing more for electric guitar in the future!
In other news, my Works page has also undergone an overhaul. You can now narrow my works down by types of ensembles, as well as by which works feature certain instrument groups. Check it out!
October 3, 2020
Excited to announce that I've been selected to take part in the Hypercube Composition Lab, which started today and will continue through the month of November. During this online festival, I'll be attending masterclasses, lessons, workshops, and will write a piece to be rehearsed and performed by Hypercube.
Specifically, I'll be writing a duet for electric guitar and piano, which will be performed live on Facebook and Youtube (links to be provided when they're available) on November 19. This is particularly exciting to me because I've been working on a Max patch (on and off for the past couple of years) to be used with electric guitar. The patch is essentially meant to be an effects-pedal emulator, but meant to allow for more nuance and "on the fly" changes than what you'd get with a standard guitar pedal rig. (For those unfamiliar with guitar pedals, please feel free to ignore that bit - just thought I'd share for those of you who have some exposure.) So it'll be nice to finally write a piece utilizing this patch.
Thrilled to be taking part in this opportunity!
Some other composition-related news:
Last weekend I also attended Longy's Digital Divergent Studio, which was hosted by Loadbang and the Longy School of Music. Earlier in the summer, I announced that I would be attending Longy's Divergent Studio. Regrettably, this in-person version of the festival had to be cancelled due to pandemic concerns. However, they did put on this online version of the festival, which I was happy to attend. Kudos to Andy Kozar, the other members of Loadbang, and everyone else involved for putting this together, especially at no cost. It was very much appreciated.
During the summer my piece Moog Dreams was also featured on the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival.
Regarding next summer, I'm automatically accepted for next year's Divergent Studio, which (hopefully!) will be happening in person at Longy School of Music. My plan is to at some point before then finish the piece I had started writing for this year's festival (scored for trumpet, trombone, bass clarinet, and baritone voice), and get it performed there next summer. Fingers crossed!
Lastly, I am also taking part in my school's annual 24+24 concert, where I'll have a short piece for solo flute premiered. This will be broadcast on the School of Music's website. The exact date hasn't been nailed down, but it's likely to be sometime in November. I'll post more details as I learn them.
May 12, 2020
Obviously the past few months have caused a significant upheaval in the arts world and elsewhere. With so much up in the air, I've been hesitant to make any announcements thus far regarding my own compositional activities. However, things have started to solidify more and more, and so now I think it's time to give an update on what I've been doing compositionally, as well as my current plans for the foreseeable future.
First, the bad news - cancellations and the like. The Des Moines Community Orchestra was scheduled to premiere my masters thesis, To Awaken a God, on May 17th, in a concert of new music. This concert was obviously cancelled. The director has told us that he's looking into rescheduling options. All their concerts for next season are already planned out, but this could be reprogrammed as as add-on concert during the 2020-2021 season. I'll announce more details as I learn them.
Last fall, I had also been commissioned to write a piece for wind band by conductor Nolan Hauta to commemorate the anniversary of the birth of his son. On April 30th I delivered In the Womb, my first piece for wind band which attempts to explore a soundmass texture for that ensemble. This was scheduled to premiere this summer, but that also seems highly unlikely at this point. Options are being looked into for the fall. Again, I'll announce more details when I know something more definitive.
I had also been accepted into Nief-Norf Summer Festival, which was scheduled to take place in June, but that has also been cancelled.
BUT, I was also accepted into Longy's Divergent Studio for this summer, and that festival is still moving forward! They were originally scheduled for a time in June, but they recently pushed it back to July 27 - August 7 in order to avoid school closures. While I'm hesitant to say for sure that I am going at this point, the later date range does make me feel more confident that it will be allowed to happen. So at this point I will say that it is HIGHLY PROBABLE that I will be attending Longy's Divergent Studio this summer. Once it gets locked in for sure (or cancelled, in the worst-case scenario) I will let you know.
For that festival, I have been commissioned to write a work for loadbang, a truly unique ensemble of trumpet, trombone, bass clarinet, and baritone voice. This will be interesting for sure!
Also, in the case of Nief-Norf Festival, those of us who were admitted for this year's festival have been allowed to defer our admission for next year's festival. Meaning I am already accepted for Nief-Norf 2021. Since it's so far off, I can't say for certain at this point whether I'll be attending, but I'm tentatively marking it down as a festival I'll be going to in 2021.
Finally, I and other composers at the University of Iowa will be taking part in a unique initiative through the University of Iowa Center for New Music. Each one of us has been paired with one of the Center's performers to write a new solo work. These will then be played on a concert sometime in the fall, and a CD will be released the following spring. I will be writing a piece for solo marimba. This is considered a make-up of sorts for the Center's April concert, which was cancelled.
That wraps it up! I will announce any new updates as they are learned.
November 15, 2019
Happy to announce that I'm now featured on an album!
This past August, I attended the Unheard-of Ensemble's Collaborative Composition Initiative, where I wrote the piece Impressions of Morning, which was performed by the same Unheard-of Ensemble. This album features a studio version of that piece, as well as the pieces written by the 12 other composer participants.
All proceeds from the album sale go towards funding and scholarships for next year's CCI. If you're interested, go check it out!
Again, huge thanks to the Unheard-of Ensemble for organizing this festival, their phenomenal playing, and their dedication to and promotion of new music.
October 5, 2019
Recordings of the two pieces I wrote for the summer festivals I attended are now up on my Works page. For Imani Winds Festival I wrote Tectonics: Phase 1, a fast and energetic wind quintet featuring a good amount of counterpoint and not a small dose of heavy metal. Then for the Unheard-of Project I wrote Impressions of Morning, which was a very different affair. Easily the most tonal and traditional-sounding work I've yet written, this piece allowed me to indulge in melody and harmony. I invite you all to have a listen to both.
In other news, I've recently received a commission to write a piece for wind band at approximately the grade 3 technical level, which will be premiered by the Iowa City New Horizons Band sometime in the summer of 2020. Excited to pursue this opportunity!
July 8, 2019
I've recently been informed that Moog Dreams, my electroacoustic piece, will also be performed at the Iowa Composers Forum 2019 Summer Festival of New Music.
July 4, 2019
Excited to announce that my new string quartet, Chasing Dawn, will be premiered this August at the Iowa Composers Forum 2019 Summer Festival of New Music by the Epinoia String Quartet! The festival will be on August 9-10 and will take place in Decorah, Iowa.
More details will be announced as it gets closer. This is turning into a busy summer!
May 19, 2019
Happy to announce that I'll be attending two different festivals this summer. In July, I'll be going to Imani Winds Festival, for which I'll be writing a wind quintet. Then in August, I'll be attending the Unheard-of Project, where I'll be writing a piece for the Messiaen quartet (clarinet, violin, cello, piano) to be premiered by the Unheard-of Ensemble. I've received scholarship support for both these festivals. Excited to pursue these opportunities!
April 28, 2019
The University of Iowa School of Music has offered me a generous travel grant to help me attend festivals this summer, of which I have recently been accepted to several that I need to choose from. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks!
March 31, 2019
Excited to announce that next year the Des Moines Community Orchestra will be premiering my orchestra work (and Masters thesis) To Awaken a God. The date and location are May 17, 2020, at 2:00 PM in the Sheslow Auditorium at Drake University (Des Moines, IA). That's still over a year away, but it's set. Mark it down!
The theme of the concert will be "new music," and will feature other premieres and new works by other composers. At the moment, I only know of my own piece, but I'm excited to find out who I will be sharing the concert with. More details will be announced as I learn them.
Excited to finally see this piece be performed!
January 7, 2019
I just received an ASCAP Plus Award for the 2017 calendar year.
December 4, 2018
The recording of the premiere of Insinuations is now up. You can listen to it here or on my Works page.
I've also decided that for my next piece I will be writing for wind ensemble. This will be read by the University of Iowa Symphony Band sometime next year. Excited to finally write for this ensemble!
September 30, 2018
Audio recording of Strung is now up on my Soundcloud. You can listen to it here.
Also recently posted is the new piece I wrote for Iowa's 24 + 24 concert, which ended up being a solo for bass-baritone.
In other news, the JACK Quartet will be doing a reading session of student works the week of December 3 at the University of Iowa, for possible inclusion on a concert the following spring. I'll be having an expanded version of Strung read during that. Stay tuned!
August 21, 2018
Video of the performance of my piece Strung at Fresh Inc Festival is now up on my Media page. Go check it out! Soundcloud recording will be following shortly.
July 1, 2018
My orchestra recording for To Awaken a God is now up. Finally, no more midi for this piece! You can listen to it here or on my Works page.
June 19, 2018
Fresh Inc Festival is now over. I had a great time meeting the members of Fifth House Ensemble, attending workshops on building a career as a musician (which the festival specializes in), and meeting other great musicians. In addition, the quirky string quartet Invoke premiered a new piece of mine. A recording (and video) will follow shortly.
And I still have another festival to go to! I leave for Atlantic Music Festival in a little less than two weeks.
In other news, the orchestra reading at my school which I mentioned in an earlier post occurred at the beginning of May. The audio isn't up yet because I haven't had much time to edit the recording, but it should be posted shortly. Stay tuned.
June 3, 2018
Excited to announce that my new chamber piece, Insinuations, has been selected as part of this year's Midwest Composers Symposium. The symposium will take place October 19-20, 2018 at the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati.
March 22, 2018
I've recently found out the University of Iowa School of Music will be doing orchestra readings at the end of the semester. My piece To Awaken a God (which is also my master's thesis) will be one of the pieces read. Excited to finally get to hear this piece! The recording will follow shortly thereafter.
March 16, 2018
The instrumentation for my commissioned piece for Fresh Inc has been announced. I will be writing a string quartet for the ensemble Invoke. You can view their website here.
March 10, 2018
The University of Iowa School of Music has graciously granted me $1500 to help me pay for the two festivals I am attending this summer. The aid is much appreciated.
March 07, 2018
Excited to announce that I have ALSO been accepted to Atlantic Music Festival, which I will be attending in July of this year. I will write a piece to be premiered there by their Contemporary Ensemble (a Pierrot ensemble). There will also be the opportunity for potential other performances with the performance students there.
Excited to announce that I've been accepted to Fresh Inc music festival, where I will be commissioned to write a new piece to be premiered at the festival. I've also been granted a scholarship from the Stephen R. Gerber Trust to assist with tuition. Can't wait!
Last night was the premiere of my trombone quartet, Whirlwind. The recording is also now up. You can listen to it here.
My fixed media piece Moog Dreams was premiered tonight. Since it's an electroacoustic piece, the recording is also now up. You can listen to it here.
You can hear the full quality audio file if you click the "Download" link on the file page. If you have good speakers, this is what I recommend.
I've written another piece for Iowa's annual 24+24 concert, which was premiered two nights ago. This was for solo English horn. Recording is now up:
Recordings of my performances at Charlotte New Music Festival are now up. First is the first movement of my new quintet , titled Stirrings, and then Burst, a short thrash metal piece (yes, thrash metal), which I'm planning on extending.
Scores can be viewed here:
Excited to announce that my piece Annealed in Fire was selected to be broadcast on Et Lux Radio, a new online radio station dedicated to playing contemporary classical music. I can't say exactly when my piece will air, but it's in "the rotation" right now, so to speak.
Here's their Facebook page:
Charlotte New Music Festival is over. At it, I got to have two performances of newly-written pieces of mine: the first movement of my quintet, Stirrings, performed by the Out of Bounds Ensemble; and a short viola-cello duet, performed by members of the Beo String Quartet. It was a blast meeting these performers, as well as other performers at the festival, and, of course, all the other composers who were participating. Looking forward to more of these gatherings in the future.