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Interviews

Meet Oliver Lake

By Published: November 4, 2004
I just recently got a composer-in-residence at Bloomfield College, which is the next town from Montclair, about ten minutes away. It's sponsored by New Residences/Meet the Composer and just started in January. This is just the beginning of a three-year residency. I will teach some classes in composition, and I'm taking some classes there as well. I use a notation program when I write my music that's "mini'd" to a synthesizer. I can further those skills at Bloomfield. I'm going to write a lot of music as a result of this composer-in-residency. I'll be doing concerts at Bloomfield College with my big band, bringing my small group in. I'll even check out the possibility of bringing in World Sax, but the logistics of that are difficult.

Russian Composer Symposium (1987)

I think we were there about seven or eight days. It was in St. Petersburg around the time of the Russian political change. Several American composers were chosen to do an exchange with Russian composers. They wanted some improvising composers so I went along with David VanTieghem who is a percussionist. The two of us were the improvisers/performers/composers. The others were strictly teaching and composing. We went there and had our pieces played. I had one of my string pieces played, I did some solo pieces, and I improvised over my string quartet that was played by Russian musicians. That was quite interesting.

Writing for strings

I've always been attracted to the high sound of the violin. It's similar to the sound you get with the alto saxophone. One of my first records was with a string trio: three violins and a saxophone. I used some of the players out of the St. Louis Symphony. Later when I came to New York Leroy Jenkins and I played duo concerts together—just violin and saxophone. Over the years I've written pieces for the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Wheeling Symphony, and others. I was just commissioned by a pro musica out of Columbus, Ohio to do a piece for the World Saxophone Quartet and their chamber orchestra that will premier in 2001. I've been commissioned for several pieces for string quartet and my Steel Quartet. I feel fortunate. Even though I've been all over the place I've continued to do pretty much what I like.

Visit Oliver Lake on the web at www.oliverlake.net .



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