Thursday's free performance invites the audience to engage with unconventional sounds
Soft light floods through the Christian Keesee Founders Hall, reflecting off the dance studio’s floor-to-ceiling mirrors. Zachary Daniels, composer and creator of Experimental Music Oklahoma, readies his keyboard and synthesizers, an eight-count tempo ringing through the hall. His fellow musicians look to him for their cue, an electric guitar, piano, keyboard and trombone at the ready. Rehearsal has begun.
“I always strive to challenge listeners when writing experimental music,” Daniels says. “I hope to open the world of sonic possibilities for my audiences and craft a musical, entertaining and engaging event that will leave people wanting more.”
Daniels dove into nontraditional instruments during his Master of Music and Doctorate in Composition at the University of Oklahoma, exposing himself to the eccentric works of composers like John Cage and Harry Partch. It was within these unconventional sounds that Daniels found the nuance in the day to day.
“I grew to understand and believe that music is all around us, and I often hear musical qualities in many aspects in our daily lives,” Daniels says. “To me, a nontraditional instrument is a means of removing the barrier of traditional instruments and their technique and discovering the musical qualities of the world around us.”
And that’s exactly what Daniels did. He has written for ratchets and saws, cell phone choirs, laptop quartets and more, pulling inspiration and sounds from things like a busy street corner, trains, a recycling plant and even the sound of a toaster.
A featured piece in Thursday’s free performance, #Toasted is an in-depth listen to the interior of a toaster. Along with the unconventional “instruments,” Thursday’s 7 p.m. performance will include the premiere of F, Make it Sharp (originally composed in response to the then-on-view exhibition Abstract Remix); the “nothing but garbage” piece Recycled Material, comprised of unique sounds found at Tulsa’s recycling facility; and Nocturne for Dice, a collaborative “chance music” demonstration dictated by rolling multiple dice.
“Experimental music is a very broad term,” Daniels says. “To some, it starts when you throw out traditional notation and forms of generating music. To others, it starts with minimalism aesthetic or the incorporation of electronic instruments. As for myself, I think of it as a means of creating music in challenging new ways. Anyone can roll dice, but with the proper framing, the roll of dice can become a unique world of sonic possibilities.”
With composers and musicians Jacob Frost, Nikki Krumwiede, Nathan Wayler and Benjamin Krumwiede joining Daniels on stage, Thursday’s audience will learn how experimental music can exist alongside minimalist sounds and chance encounters. Together, the five artists will improv, collaborate and experiment with traditional and nontraditional sounds, creating means of connections in new ways.
“I seek to enhance the audience’s understanding of music as a whole.” Daniels says. ”To give all those in attendance an experience they will never forget.”
Join us 7-8 p.m. Thursday, July 28, in our Te Ata Theater. Tickets are not required — admission is free! All are welcome.
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