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Work Samples

[ XelmYa ] - Daniel Grantham - enact direct escape (world premiere)

The premiere of "enact direct escape" performed by XelmYa+ in Berlin in June of 2018. This work was selected in a call-for-scores to be published by the Italian publisher Diaphonia Edizioni and premiered by the ensemble XelmYa+ in 2018. It is a graphic score where the instrumentalists select from a series of motivic ideas derived from the harmonic series and interpret them to reflect the images.

five inscriptive meditations (excerpt)

A video excerpt made for the electroacoustic musical work "five inscriptive meditations" written using Max 7 and Processing 3. The initial sounds for the work were five test drawings made for a collaboration with Maren Henson while she was working on her MFA at MICA. These drawings were part of her exploration of the shapes and sounds of language and were derived from the first five letters of the alphabet. These recordings form the basis for the rhythmic patterns in the work and are layered, contorted, and added to sounds from the harmonic series.

from the compass, a dream

A video of the performance "from the compass, a dream" for voice and an open ensemble. Improvisation is a central element of this work that employs a graphic score. The performers interpret graphic and text elements as they perform. The text was created through a Markov chain executed on source texts combining various literary sources. These phrases were rearranged and modified to correct grammatical errors and create a more cohesive and poetic text. These phrases were then combined with the musical elements and the image.

gradualmente, el hermoso universo (excerpt)

A video excerpt combining a recording and the score of the piece "gradualmente, el hermoso universo" performed and premiered by the Central Michigan University's New Music Ensemble in the Fall of 2013. The graphic score asks the performers to use color, shape, size, and texture to inform improvisations based on the corresponding colored pitches in the staff. This is the first work selected to be performed after a eight-year hiatus from composing.

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About daniel

Baltimore City

daniel grantham's picture
daniel grantham currently lives Baltimore, Maryland, where he is active as a performer, composer, and music theorist. His works are informed by an interest in unconventional notation, the harmonic series, guided improvisation, and literature. His compositional process starts with decisions about structure, time, and perception. Working from Barthes, Heidegger, and the music theorist Jonathan Kramer’s work The Time of Music. daniel relies on a balance between group dynamics and individual decisions to... more

enact direct escape

The images from the score to enact direct escape for violin, oboe, and recorder. This work was selected in a call-for-scores to be published by the Italian publisher Diaphonia Edizioni and premiered by the ensemble XelmYa+ in 2018. It is a graphic score where the instrumentalists select from a series of motivic ideas derived from the harmonic series and interpret them to reflect the images.

deconstruct reorder conjoin repeat

deconstruct reorder conjoin repeat is an attempt to blend the static and strictly structured sounds of my electronic works with the tone colors and rhythmically unconstrained nature of my acoustic works. In it, acoustic sounds of instruments float in and out of an electronic texture, providing a more complex tone color and a sense of melody to an otherwise pure electronic sound. Interrupting these sections, the instrumentalists improvise in a transitional and contrasting manner. This arrangement allows the human element to freely play supported by the unchanging electronic sounds.

This piece will be premiered by Ghost Ensemble on December 21st, 2018 at MISE_EN PLACE Bushwick, New York City.

five inscriptive meditations

A video excerpt made for the electroacoustic musical work five inscriptive meditations written using Max 7 and Processing 3. The initial sounds for the work were five test drawings made for a collaboration with Maren Henson while she was working on her MFA at MICA. These drawings were part of her exploration of the shapes and sounds of language and were derived from the first five letters of the alphabet. These recordings form the basis for the rhythmic patterns in the work and are layered, contorted, and added to sounds from the harmonic series.
The video furthers attempts to create works in which the audio and visual element are directly related through computer-based analysis.

  • five inscriptive meditations

    A video for my electroacoustic musical work "five inscriptive meditations" written using Max 7 and Processing 3. The initial sounds for the works were five test drawings made for a collaboration with Maren Henson while she was working on her MFA at MICA. These drawings were part of her exploration of language and were derived from the first five letters of the alphabet. These recordings make the basis for the rhythmic patterns in the work layered, contorted, and added to sounds from the harmonic series.

from the compass, a dream

A video of the performance from the compass, a dream for voice and an open ensemble. Improvisation is a central element of this work that employs a graphic score. The performers interpret graphic and text elements as they perform. The text was created through a Markov chain executed on source texts combining various literary sources. These phrases were rearranged and modified to correct grammatical errors and create a more cohesive and poetic text. These phrases were then combined with the musical elements and the image.
It was selected and premiered by the Black Sheep Contemporary Ensemble for a concert in October 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts.

From the compass,
a dream,
the streets were streets and
thronged within
an infinite period of air.
Through it, the sight of verses
will see what’s really
always been blossoming--
though it seems
the dreamers dream of sooty skies.

I may be called to be by
to be a stranger.
I may be called to be by
not knowing how
that broad flat rock and those weeds
ever found the point where no sun shines.

If you hear our language in the wild garden,
it is no different
from the moon playing
the first couple of grinding songs.
Maintaining that all thought
what would remain
in the thought
impossible

gradualmente, el hermoso universo

gradualmente, el hermoso universo performed and premiered by the Central Michigan University's New Music Ensemble in the Fall of 2013. The piece was written in the summer of 2013 and was the first piece that was performed after ten years of not writing any music. A graphic score where the performers are asked to improvise using the image, colors, size, and musical notation to create a dialogue across the ensemble. Performers: Kelly Vander Molen, violin; Evan Harris, tenor sax; Jenna Veldboom, alto sax; Melissa Bialecki, cello; Nathan Brown, trombone; Kosta Kapellas, double bass; Kenny Yagiela, marimba; Bryce Craig, mallets; Frank Nawrot, acoustic guitar

The title is derived from this paragraph from the short story "El Hacedor" by Jorge Luis Borges: "Gradualmente, el hermoso universo fue abandonándolo; una terca neblina le borró las líneas de la mano, la noche se despobló de estrellas, la tierra era insegura bajo sus pies. Todo se alejaba y se confundía. Cuando supo que se estaba quedando ciego, gritó; el pudor estoico no había sido aún inventado y Héctor podía huir sin desmedro. Ya no veré (sintió) ni el cielo lleno de pavor mitológico, ni esta cara que los años transformarán. Días y noches pasaron sobre esa desesperación de su carne, pero una mañana se despertó, miró (ya sin asombro) las borrosas cosas que lo rodeaban e inexplicablemente sintió, como quien reconoce una música o una voz, que ya le había ocurrido todo eso y que lo había encarado con temor, pero también con júbilo, esperanza y curiosidad. Entonces descendió a su memoria, que le pareció interminable, y logró sacar de aquel vértigo el recuerdo perdido que relució como una moneda bajo la lluvia, acaso porque nunca lo había mirado, salvo quizá, en un sueño."

  • daniel grantham - gradualmente, el hermoso universo

    The recording and score of my piece "gradualmente, el hermoso universo" perfromed and premiered by the Central Michigan University's New Music Ensemble in the Fall of 2013. Performers: Kelly Vander Molen, violin; Evan Harris, tenor sax; Jenna Veldboom, alto sax; Melissa Bialecki, cello; Nathan Brown, trombone; Kosta Kapellas, double bass; Kenny Yagiela, marimba; Bryce Craig, mallets; Frank Nawrot, acoustic guitar

prologue: the stroke

A work resulting from a collaborative effort with Edward Victor Sanchez, "Angie's Adventures in Wonderland". He wanted to create a work that described the effects of and recovery from a stroke. This was the initial prologue that was going to represent the stoke itself. The work is an algorithmically generated video where the amount of change from frame to frame in the video creates the drum-like sounds. Each time the algorithm runs, the audio and the visuals will be different than the previous iteration but builds to a similar conclusion.

  • daniel grantham - prologue: the stroke

    A work that came from a collaborative effort with Edward Victor Sanchez, "Angie's Adventures in Wonderland". He wanted to create a work that described the effects of and recovery from a stroke. This was the initial prologue that was going to represent the stoke itself.

étude: hommage à György Ligeti

This work for solo piano was written during the final revisions to my thesis about the early music of Hungarian composer Gyögy Ligeti. It explores compositional approaches and methods garnered from the thesis research. However, the work has yet to be performed since, similarly to the études of Ligeti, which are difficult or impossible to perform, it is quite difficult. The main structural component of the work is its ever-expanding and collapsing motivic ideas and the use of tempo as a device for creating contrast between similar sections.

herzog chaconne, in the jungle

An audiovisual work created from footage from an interview with Werner Herzog from Les Blank's "Burden of Dreams." In it, Herzog discusses his views on the jungle. Short clips are taken from the interview and run through an algorithm written in Max 7 that creates the glitchy, scattered, musical texture. The work will continuously run until stopped, never repeating exactly, and interweaving the rhythms created by Herzog's voice punctuated by the algorithm as he discusses various aspects of the jungle.

'cause otherwise everything is the same

An electroacoustic work combining synthesized sounds of the harmonic series with delayed and distorted clips from interviews with author Henry Miller. The work began through manipulation of clips of Henry Miller’s gruff voice using Max 7. This was overlaid with another work created using PureData. The piece is an attempt to isolate and emphasize the unique creaking, raspy character of Henry Miller’s voice and was my first electronic piece to use recorded acoustic sounds as a basis. The techniques learned in this piece led to including acoustic sounds in "five inscriptive meditations" and "herzog chaconne, in the jungle."

three poems by three tang poets

A piece written for Dasch, a saxophone quartet based in Georgia. The piece features a combination of graphic notation and traditional notation based on three poems by the Du Fu (Full Moon), Li Bai (A Quiet Night Thought), and Wang Wei (Bamboo Grove Pavillion), three poets from the Tang Dynasty of China. It was premiered in Athens, Georgia in 2015. The entire score is handwritten in an effort to connect further to the source material.

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