Showing posts from April, 2018

In Memoriam: Colette Inez (1930 – 2018)

Belgian-born poet, Colette Inez died in January 2018. Here at VCCA, we mourn the loss of a good friend. This award-winning poet was in residence twelve times from 1983 – 2010.Inez with her auburn air and bucket hat was a wonderful summer presence at VCCA.See her tribute to a VCCA hornet in her poem below.
Inez was the author of eleven books of poetry and a memoir, and her work was published in over one hundred anthologies and textbooks. She collaborated with several VCCA Fellows, among them Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and VCCA Fellow David del Tredici. Inez and del Tredici produced a song cycle titled Miz Inez Sez for a CD that “may be the best new music album of the year” wrote The New Yorker. At the time of her death, she was collaborating with VCCA composer Gina Biver on a piece that is scheduled to premiere in October 2018.
Among her honors were fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, two awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, and three prizes from…

A Kaleidoscope of Pitch

Composer Alexander Blank is working on a solo piece for flute. This might seem like enough to fill a residency, but it is not a typical musical score. Much of the music that Blank writes is microtonal, or “using pitches that lie in-between the white and black keys of the piano,” and these explorations have opened up his compositions to literally billions of additional possibilities.

Blank uses a natural phenomenon called the harmonic series to organize his musical ideas and sound palette. For this piece, Blank looked at the first 64 pitches found in the harmonic series and narrowed that number down to 21 unique pitches that vary in how far “out-of-tune” they sound. He then ordered them “from the highest level of sharp to the lowest level of flat” and placed that range on a gradient colored scale. This visualization assisted him in analyzing the properties of each of the chosen pitches and how they relate to each other in various ways. He calls it “a kaleidoscope of pitch.”

“The visua…