New Works for Solo Cello
T. J. Borden presents a concert of contemporary works for unaccompanied solo cello, including the premiere of a new piece by Lena Nietfeld, influenced by her studies of Hindustani, Balinese, and Western experimental musical traditions. In Nietfeld's work, the performer is asked to coordinate his playing with a computer program that randomly produces clicks between 0.7 and 3.4 seconds in duration, resulting in a unique sense of phrasing and timing each time the piece is performed. The precise tuning used is meant to vary from performance to performance; each performance uses a total of seven non-tempered pitches which are determined beforehand based on criteria designed to produce a specific range of interval sizes and acoustic beating. The application of light finger pressure at points in time randomly determined by the computer creates an array of harmonics and other noises that enrich the overall soundscape of the work.
Lena Nietfeld is a composer currently based in Rochester, NY, USA, where she is pursuing a PhD at the Eastman School of Music. Born in Seattle, WA, she holds a MA from the Eastman School of Music as well as a BM with highest honors from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her teachers have included Robert Morris, Lisa Bielawa, Allan Schindler, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, Susan Botti, Betsy Jolas, Tania Leon, Evan Chambers, and Bright Sheng. She has also studied gamelan for nine years, both in Indonesia and the US, under the instruction of renowned artists I Dewa Putu Berata, I Nyoman Suadin, Matheus Wasi Bantolo, and Sigit bin Soegito. In addition, she has studied Hindustani vocal music in India with Pandit Pashupatinash Mishra and Zimbabwean mbira dzavadzimu in Rochester with Glenn West. Nietfeld's works have been performed by numerous talented artists and ensembles, including South Indian percussion virtuoso Rohan Krishnamurthy, Tim Feeney, Jamie Jordan, Sean Connors, Gamelan Lila Muni, Gamelan Suranadi Sari Indra Putra, the Eastman Composer's Sinfonietta, members of the Seattle Symphony, and the St. Petersburg String Quartet. Many of her works are cross-cultural in nature, seeking to identify and highlight commonalities between two or more musical traditions through the creation of a new, unique musical language. This is done with a particular emphasis on broader theoretical concepts such as form, rhythmic structure, improvisational principles, methods of performer interaction, tuning concepts, and indeterminacy.
Tyler Borden, known as T.J. to many, is a cellist comfortable in many different settings. He has performed in concert halls and basements, art galleries and theaters. Growing up in Rochester NY, he began classical training at age 6 and has continued it first at Ithaca College and now at the University at Buffalo. He has performed with various ensembles at Syracuse University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Cornell University, and the Eastman School Music. He has also developed a passion for experimental and contemporary music which has led to him performing many premieres and working with numerous composers, including Steven Mackey, Tony Conrad (with whom he opened for Godspeed! You Black Emperor), and Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky. He performed at the 2008 Sound Ways New Music Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia and has performed with the Slee Sinfonietta in Buffalo. Currently, he is a member of Wooden Cities, a Buffalo-based new music collective of musicians dedicated to performing the work of emerging and underrepresented composers. In the spring of 2012 he will be performing the Lutoslawski Cello Concerto with the University at Buffalo Symphony Orchestra. A fledgling composer himself, T.J. was also commissioned to write and perform a piece for solo cello by the Cleveland Institute of Art for their 2011 commencement ceremony.
In addition to performing the works of others, T.J. is also an active improviser and collaborator. Last summer he embarked on a 3 month tour of the US, playing 33 shows in 31 cities in 20 states. In 2011, T.J. gave workshops on free improvisation at the New Directions Cello Festival and his improvisations will also be used in an upcoming film by Guggenheim fellow Kasumi entitled Shockwaves. He has been joined in performance by many wonderful improvisers from around the country: Christian Asplund (viola, piano), Bob Bucko Jr (guitar), Thomas Helton (dbl bass), Evan Lipson (dbl bass), Johan Nystrom (drums), Steven Ricks (trombone, objects), Jane Rigler (flute), Nate Scheible (drums), and Jack Wright (sax), as well as upstate NY locals such as Steve Baczkowski (winds), Daniel Bassin (trumpet), Pat Cain (sax, vocals), Martin Freeman (guitar, electronics), Esin Gunduz (voice), Zane Merritt (guitar), Peter Murphy (guitar, voice, electronics) and Rob Phillips (turntables). He has shared bills with Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Jandek, Nate Young, Jack Wright, Travis Laplante, Ches Smith, Blood Stereo, and Bill Nace, to name a few among many wonderful musicians. He is currently looking forward to a tour of the Northeast with Pat Cain and Martin Freeman from the end of December through the beginning of January.