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On Dan Deacon

The KW Symphony and I did a concert a few weeks ago with
Dan Deacon. Here’s a little bit about the process:

Working with Dan Deacon was a blast of chaotic, creative, mischievous energy.  He’s interested in new sounds and new experiences, in creating the childlike sense of wonder and joy when you experience something for the first time.  That’s the game underlying a lot of “experimental” or “avant-garde” music: the joy of discovery.  I think when people are put off by new sounds it’s because they’re no longer in touch with their inner child.

During this collaboration Dan was discovering something himself, something very old: the symphony orchestra and all its rules, traditions and rank and regimentation.  It was hilarious and kind of terrifying watching Dan rediscover orchestras (“I haven’t written for humans in years!” he told me).  I can only imagine how feverishly he worked trying to create these scores. The process he went through to notate orchestral sounds was beyond complicated. Despite all of his hard work, the project had to be saved by me, the library and production staff, and our stalwart copyist, Trevor Wagler, in the weeks and days before the first rehearsal. Many protocols were broken!  

But who cares?  I loved that we were teaming up to make something work, instead of getting together and complaining about it!  In the end, the music was all Dan’s.  I wanted to work with Dan because I believe that he’s onto something as a musician.  I think he appreciates orchestras for what they can do. I think he’s got great ears and a strong sense of composition in the long form.  And, most importantly, he really knows how to reach people with his music, how to make them feel the joy of discovery.  The orchestra world could really use him. And now we’ve got him.  Here’s to more new sounds and experiences!