Skip to content


Sounds: Thomas Adès: Asyla

As the now LA-based composer Thomas Adès performs alongside Gloria Cheng tonight in a piano duo program at Zipper Hall (details here), I thought this would be a good time to introduce our readers to some of his music. Asyla, completed in 1997, is a good place to start. In addition to being the work that launched him to prominence, its combination of romanticism, quarter-tone piano, and house music seems like a nice fit for what’s going on here in LA. And it’s influenced countless composers, as the New York Times explains here in an article titled “They’re always borrowing his stuff.”

Sounds: Julia Holter: Feel You

I was catching up on episodes of the All Songs Considered podcast this weekend and was excited to hear this new track from LA musician/composer/performer/rock star/apparent harpsichordist and Cal Arts alum Julia Holter.

It’s from her next album, which is out on September 25 on Domino Records. She’ll be playing shows in LA on October 7 and 8 at the Hollywood Palladium.

Sounds: Isaac Schankler: Somniloquy

For this week’s Sound, check out Isaac Schankler’s Somniloquy for flute and electronics, performed by Kelly Sulick:

About the piece, Isaac says:

Somniloquy gets its title from a fancy word for sleeptalking. The flute’s subdued unconscious mumblings eventually give way to more loquacious and labyrinthine figures. This sleeper goes through many stages, exploring both complex, breathy sounds and pure, unfiltered tones. In the electronics, a chorus of unstable sounds bubbles up to the surface, beyond the control of the sleeper.

More info is at

Sounds: Zaq Kenefick: Funeral Song of the People of the Ruined Cities

If you’ve been going to shows in the last year or so, you’ve probably met Zaq Kenefick. The composer and sax player, who is currently studying at CSU Long Beach, has been coming to and listening to virtually everything in town, a practice that I have a huge amount of respect for. I was listening to some of Zaq’s music last week and came across this miniature that struck me as something very special.

About the piece, which is for mandolin, guitar, and arpeggione (bowed guitar), Zaq says:

Programaticly, the piece takes place in an alternate future where all knowledge about music was lost and had to be relearned. This is the hypothetical indigenous music of those who took shelter in the ruined cities of the past.

This recording is from Ensemble Fret. There’s way, way more music on Zaq’s Soundcloud page, at

Sounds: Ted Hearne: Law of Mosaics

All week I’ve been listening to A Far Cry‘s recording of Ted Hearne‘s Law of Mosaics. I know I’m late to the game on this one – the piece is from 2012, and wild Up played it in LA a year or two ago – but we never said anything before about it, Ted lives in LA and teaches at USC now, and it’s just a phenomenal piece for strings. Here’s the fourth movement:

The record, which also contains Andrew Norman’s The Companion Guide to Rome, is available from Crier Records here and Amazon here. It’s also on Spotify and iTunes and pretty much everywhere else.

What’s perhaps even more exciting, for those of us so inclined, is that the whole score is posted on Ted’s site at

In other news, we’re starting up weekly Sounds posts. Check back every Tuesday for a new recording from an LA-based composer or ensemble. See you next week!

Sounds: Nick Vasallo: The Eternal Return

I recently heard that composer Nick Vasallo had moved to southern California, and decided we had to do something on him. I’ve been a fan of his music for a long time, after coming across it via a search for metal influences in classical music a few years back, when he was doing his doctorate at UC Santa Cruz. He’s now here to teach at Cal Poly Pomona, and when I asked what he wanted to put up, he sent me this:


More about the piece is up at, and more of Nick’s music at

Sounds: Brian Ferneyhough: Terrain, performed by Mark Menzies and WasteLAnd

We did a rather large post about the difficulties of performing music by Brian Ferneyhough just before this WasteLAnd concert back in February. While that post covered soprano Stephanie Aston’s part in Ferneyhough’s Etudes Transcendantales, the difficulty and intensity is much the same for anyone attempting this music. And let me tell you, violinist Mark Menzies SHREDDED on Terrain, Ferneyhough’s violin concerto.

The other reason for posting this today? Menzies joins wild Up for another performance of Terrain this Sunday at UCLA. The show, titled FILIGREE, also has music by Gerard Pesson, George Lewis, William Byrd, Nico Muhly, Arnolt Schlick and Whitney Houston, with two World Premieres by Chris Kallmyer and Andrew McIntosh.

The FREE concert is an early one, starting at 4pm at UCLA’s Schoenberg Hall. Full details are on the facebook event page at

Sounds: Isaac Schankler: Sad Sinusoids

First, a quick site update: the calendar/event time zone bug is FIXED! All event are now in Pacific Time.

Remember how the other day we were like “go see Gnarwhallaby this Sunday!” and then later we were like “we’ll have a preview of Isaac Schankler’s piece soon?” (If not, check out that post here.) Well, Isaac’s got a piece for Gnarwhallaby and electronics called Sad Trombone that is getting its world premiere on Sunday at the Neighborhood Unitarian Universal Church of Pasadena, and he sent me an excerpt of the electronic part, which is titled Sad Sinusoids. It’s really pretty:

As for what Gnarwhallaby will be doing with these sad sinusoids is something we’ll have the hear to find out, though we can assume it’ll include Matt Barbier doing sad stuff on a trombone.

Complete details on the concert are up at 

People Inside Electronics presents Gnarwhallaby this Sunday

Our friends over at People Inside Electronics are putting on a show with our friends in Gnarwhallaby this weekend. It might seem weird to say “our friends” about both groups in that sentence, but it’s really true, and the friendliness-factor is a big part of what makes our city’s scene so wonderful. Anyway!

In addition to a couple Gnarwhallafavorites from the Polish cadre of composers that influenced the formation of the band, this show has pieces for musicians + electronics from Morton Subotnick and Donald Erb, and a world premiere from Isaac Schankler.

Here’s a video of Gnarwhallaby performing Włodzimierz Kotoński pour quatre, which is also on the program.


Full details and tickets are up at

Sounds: Marc Evans: Romance?

Composer Marc Evans recently posted a video of his piece Romance?, and I love it. The piece keeps me hooked all the way through, and seems to draw from quite a few different musical languages, including jazz (which is neat to hear on viola). Jordan Warmath is the violist, and Marc himself is on piano. Enjoy!

(If you see a blank space above this line, the video might be taking a while to load. Try refreshing. Vimeo can do that sometimes. It’s worth the wait.)