Justin Sullivan - University of Alberta - Portfolio of Compositions

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • This portfolio contains a collection of compositions that were written during my time
    a the University of Alberta. During my time at UofA, I pushed myself to be more innovative,
    breaking away from some of my older aesthetics in a variety of ways. I think that this shift
    stands out when comparing ‘Lectric Lace, the first piece I composed during my time here,
    with the other two pieces that this portfolio contains. I still like ‘Lectric Lace, I should say, I
    think that it does what it sets out to do quite well, but I felt I had to push past some of my
    older idioms in order to make something more special and original.
    I’ve moved further away from the idea of absolute music. Instead, I’ve challenged
    myself to use all of the materials that the medium of concert performance provides. I’ve
    given myself greater permission to manipulate the theatre of a performance; breaking away
    from the standard play-and-bow ritual and, instead, asking my performers to behave in ways
    that, I feel, better benefit the pieces they’re performing. How a piece looks has become more
    important to me as well, as is the case with the projected head in “Gee, Golly, Wow”. Overall,
    I’ve become much less concerned with solely making music and much more concerned with
    making a total phenomenon or experience.
    Greater accessibility has been a focus for me as well. I want audiences to be able to
    participate with my pieces and I don’t believe that I have to sacrifice any sense of
    experimentalism or artistic integrity to do so. Including a greater focus on other artistic
    mediums helps me to do this quite a bit; I believe that both Accounts of a, Weird, Alien and
    “Gee, Golly, Wow”, with the aid of their extra-musical materials, stand a much better chance
    of resonating with someone who doesn’t have an education in avant-garde music while still
    being experimental enough and achieving my own artistic vices.
    I’ve also focused on including a certain writerly ambiguity. I’ve taken to writing
    pieces with no absolute, prescribed, meaning, instead writing a series of vague suggestions
    with the expectation that an audience member be encouraged to insert their own meaning into
    a piece. This technique is a matter of participation as well, with the hopes of encouraging an
    audience member to form a dialogue with the performance they’re viewing.

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  • Type of Item
    Research Material
  • DOI
  • License
    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
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