Rebecca Salzer, from the Department of Theatre and Dance, and I have been working together in a collaborative partnership for five years. We strive to create new, innovative art and enjoy sharing our passion for doing so with our students. Because our continued collaboration has sparked an observable enthusiasm in and amongst our collective student body, offering a Special Topics course on Multidisciplinary and Collaborative Composition during the Spring 2018 term seemed timely. Collaborative Composition explored collaborative strategies as well as the shared compositional principles behind all time-based art. Students from the Music Composition program of the School of Music and from the Department of Theatre and Dance, at both undergraduate and graduate levels, enrolled in the course. While it is challenging to align the schedules necessary to offer this course, we do intend to offer it again in future years. The interdepartmental connections, expanded compositional vocabulary, and collaborative skills acquired in this class have been noticeable in students’ subsequent work.
The Dance Alabama Film Festival is now in its fourth year, working toward a public performance in February, 2020. As a result of this ongoing campus festival, several student films have been selected for exhibition in national dance film festivals, including Frame X Frame in Houston, TX and the Chesapeake Dance Film Festival in Cambridge, MD. In collaboration with Rebecca Salzer, students submit film treatments in October, and then student organizers work with Rebecca Salzer and me to assemble collaborative teams, including directors, cinematographers, editors, choreographers, composers, and performers. Students submit rough cuts in December, after which Rebecca Salzer and I provide feedback and select films to continue to completion and exhibition. Finally, a faculty jury determines awards for Best Choreography, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Score, and Best of the Festival.
Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Eleven of my composition students were selected to collaborate with the Yonder Contemporary Dance Company for a creative research and international performance residency at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland in August of 2018. This large-scale project involved the creative work of 17 student dancers, seven student choreographers, ﬁve student composers, and two students from the Advertising and Public Relations program. Local and regional performances took place in Tuscaloosa, Memphis, and Atlanta, in preparation for the international event. A new and larger cohort of composers has been selected to collaborate with this same company, for a similar series of performances in Spring and Summer 2020. The project will again culminate with a cycle of performances in Edinburgh, Scotland in August 2020.
I have accepted my third invitation to serve as a faculty mentor in the University of Alabama Emerging Scholars Program. Preliminary meetings and research discussions began in October of 2015, with Emerging Scholar Alaric Rohl. Formal research for our project, "Toward Devising a Musical Scale based upon an Irrational Number," began in January of 2016. As our collaborative research has continued, a large and important amount of data has been collected. At this juncture, Alaric is working closely with me as we analyze the results of our studies, prior to potential artistic implementation.