The music on this CD is selected from work created for the choreography of Mary Sheldon Scott. My collaboration with Scott began in 1993 with the piece Tracing/River/Sand. In the course of our collaboration I became interested in the possibilities of the electroacoustic medium for work with dance. We formed Mary Sheldon Scott/Jarrad Powell Performance in 1994 and together have created 11 new works, including Vessel (2004), Kingdom (2003), Praying Mantis (2002), and Natura Abolita (2001). We have always operated from the premise that music and dance are on equal footing, both contributing equally to the vision and nature of the work. Electroacoustic music and dance become a possible and desirable relationship given the space limitations of the various performance venues, the economics of production, the technological relevance in contemporary theater, and the receptiveness of the audience (who are able to enter the world of the music so unsuspectingly through the doorway of the movement). I also find electroacoustic music to be less aesthetically autonomous than instrumental music. It is malleable and adaptable, and since its history is concurrent with the evolution of contemporary ideas in dance, they speak to each other, free of historical imperatives.
I would like to also acknowledge that the source material for Natura Abolita originated as part of an installation piece in collaboration with visual artist David Hanson. It was later edited and adapted for a section of the evening-length dance theater work entitled Natura Abolita.
Jarrad Powell is a composer and performer currently living in Seattle. He was born in Montana in 1948. His early musical training began around age five with piano lessons from his mother. He later also studied percussion and guitar. In college he studied Philosophy, Religious Studies, English, and Music and received his Masters in Music Composition from Mills College. He has worked as a dance accompanist, bicycle mechanic, ski instructor, music teacher, performer, and college professor. Important influences are the American experimental composers such as Lou Harrison, John Cage, Harry Partch, Morton Feldman and Henry Cowell, along with various electroacoustic and non-western musics. He has a long time interest in the music of Asia and is especially noted for his work with Javanese gamelan. Since the early 1980s he has directed the group Gamelan Pacifica, one of the most active and adventurous gamelan ensembles in the United States. Along with the choreographer Mary Sheldon Scott, he founded the contemporary dance company Mary Sheldon Scott/Jarrad Powell Performance (MSS/JPP) and is currently Music Director and composer for the company. He also founded the Composer/Choreographer Series, an important venue in Seattle for experimental music and dance, which has produced the work of over 40 artists. He is the founding Artistic Director of the Seattle Creative Orchestra, a project dedicated to performing and premiering contemporary chamber orchestra music. He currently works in a variety of media, including electronic, chamber music, gamelan, and music for theater and dance. He is an active member of the music faculty at Cornish College of the Arts, where he is currently Professor.
Mastering at Seattle Disc Mastering by Mark Guenther.
Cover art and design by Mary Sheldon Scott.
Photograph by Mary Sheldon Scott.
Produced by Tom Baker and Mark Radonich for Present Sounds Recordings.
Present Sounds Recordings PS0403
All pieces licensed directly with the composer for this recording.
All compositions © 2001, 2002, 2003 by Jarrad Powell.
2004 Present Sounds Recordings. All rights reserved.