-BP & KH
Anna E. Garman: I was lucky enough to have a private lessons teacher who recognized that I was utterly bored with the middle school bassoon repertoire (of which there is basically none). He dabbled in composition himself, and introduced me to the idea of writing music when I was only a year into my studies. He told me where to download Finale Notepad, and the rest is history.
AD: What was your inspiration for Cracked Brick?
AEG: I can't say there was any one specific thing that inspired me for Cracked Brick. When I started the piece I just knew I wanted to stretch my own boundaries as a composer. Knowing I would have a dedicated duo to perform the work gave me a lot of freedom to try new things without the fear of it being off-putting to the performers. AVIDduo was on the receiving end of that freedom.
AD: How was your experience writing for AVIDduo? Were there any advantages or disadvantages in writing for flute, piccolo, and saxophone?
AEG: I had a great time writing Cracked Brick. The instrumentation did present a few unique challenges, but overall I really like the combination of flute and saxophone. The biggest obstacles for me were the different dynamic capabilities of the two instruments and the relative lack of a bass register (as a bassoonist, I tend to gravitate towards low registers), but neither presented any serious problems. In fact, one of my favorite moments in the piece is when I completely forsake the low register and have both the flute and saxophone way up in the stratosphere.
AD: What are your current musical projects?
AEG: I am currently in the final semester of my masters degree, so at the moment all of my time is eaten up by my thesis. It's an as-of-yet untitled work for full orchestra and solo Tenor and Baritone. I'm using two texts, one is Psalms 139 and the other is A Wasted Illness by Thomas Hardy. It should be finished by April 2014.
AD: Your husband, Michael A. Garman, is also a composer. Have you ever collaborated?
AEG: We collaborated once, and had a lot of fun doing it. We each wrote one movement of a three movement miniature for bassoon and clarinet (our instruments) separately, and then came together to write the final movement. If anyone has ever participated in an “exquisite corpse” exercise, that is basically how we approached the last movement. I would write about four measures of clarinet music, then he would write four for bassoon, overlapping and getting ahead of me. It was quite a challenge to get into someone else's mind and try and keep the motives and harmonic language consistent. We performed the work at the University of Redlands in 2011, but the last movement has since been lost. My second movement is now a standalone work, entitled Wonderings Subdued.
AD: How can musicians commission you, purchase your scores, or hear samples of your work?
AEG: Everything can be found on my website at www.annaegarman.com. If you don't find what you're looking for there, I'd be happy to field your emails at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have no problem handing out scores, parts, and recordings, so don't be shy.
AD: Do you have any advice for young composers?
AEG: I'd say that just like learning an instrument, composing is about practicing. Don't be afraid to try new things, make mistakes, and most importantly, learn from other composers AND musicians. You should always be thirsty for new information.