Leading up to the Phonochromaticism concert on May 29th at the Center for New Music we will be talking to our composers and performers to get an idea of how their brains work and releasing one or two per day leading up to the show. Per usual, the composers will initially be anonymous, but you are welcome to read this (spoilers!) and give yourself a competitive advantage in guessing before the official announcement!

Who are you, how did you get here?

At the age of 21, I didn’t play an instrument, I couldn’t read music, and I had no exceptional exposure to “classical” concert music. When I started to take class piano lessons as an elective that year, it became clear that music was what I wanted to pursue in life.

With such great players at your disposal, what did you decide to do?

The piece I wrote for Phonochrome (Infrared) can best be described as 7 minutes of whiplash inducing polystylism. Within a span of 12 measures the players are asked to switch mood markers from ‘suddenly somber’ to ‘violent, harsh’ to ‘whimsical’ back to ‘somber’. unnamed-1

What was your color?

Infrared lies at one extreme of the spectrum, where visible light becomes invisible. I wanted to explore the transition from structure and logic (the seen), to mystery and intuition (invisible).

How has it been working with us and Phonochrome? Good, I hope?

Workshopping this piece with Phonochrome was very useful. The first minute of this piece is quite challenging, with rapidly changing rhythmic stress patterns at a fast tempo. In about 3 passes, Phonochrome had this section nearly up to tempo. It was clear at that point that I could be as imaginative as I wanted with this stellar group.


In addition to Phonochrome, Mark will be participating in the Oregon Bach Festival this summer, be sure to check his stuff out online!



This concert is generously sponsored by Gyre Music:
Gyre Music was founded in 2000 to promote the compositions of Frank Wallace, which are called “contemporary musical emancipation” by NewMusicBox.org. Gyre has published over 100 songs as well as dozens of solos and chamber works for guitar with flute, clarinet, mandolin, violin, English horn, cello, viola and piano. Scores are available as PDF downloads or fine Printed Editions with art work and design by Nancy Knowles. Many recordings of Wallace’s works are also produced by Gyre and are consistently praised for their sonic beauty. Gyre Music is at www.gyremusic.com.


Phonochrome Composer – Mark Ackerley

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