Leading up to our Ignition Duo show, we will be writing about a few of our composers and performers! Dan VanHassel told us a bit about himself in preparation for the big show at the Center for New Music.
Be sure to check out the show at the Center for New Music on February 27.
Tickets will be available at the door, and rest assured we will have Lagunitas beer present, as they have offered their generous support of the arts.
I started performing classical piano and cello as a kid and loved that, but really only listened to rock and hip-hop and other popular music until my late teens. I also played electric guitar in rock bands growing up. I started composing because I wanted to combine the rock music I was listen to with the classical music I was trained in (my hero was George Gershwin). Since then, my knowledge and taste has evolved considerably, but I still view what I’m doing as following that initial mission I had as a teenager.
I think there is enormous potential for the electric guitar in contemporary composed music, and despite the fact that I play the electric guitar, I haven’t really composed for it very much. I also thought this might be a nice opportunity to meet new people and connect with different musicians and scenes in the Bay Area.
The electric guitar is the primary folk instrument of our time. For any musician or composer, regardless of genre, to not engage with the instrument in some way to me would be a huge loss. It would be the equivalent of a composer in the late 19th century to not write for the piano. The instrument is developing a pretty substantial tradition, and I think there’s no doubt that it’s here to stay and we will be performing electric guitar music in some form for centuries to come. The challenge I think is to figure out something fresh to do with a sound that is ubiquitous throughout our society.
To me the workshopping is incredibly valuable, because even though I play the electric guitar, every player approaches the instrument in a slightly different way. I really want the piece to work well for the guys in Ignition Duo, and not to just be something idiosyncratic to my own way of playing. I really like the easygoing vibe of everyone. It feels like a comfortable space to experiment and try out new things or whatever else we might want to do.
The Guerrilla Composers Guild is a fiscally-sponsored affiliate of the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the service of chamber music in California.
Please consider making a donation to help us put on our future shows! We are proud to be fiscally sponsored by the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, and would love it if you considered donating. If you would like to donate goods or have a special request with a donation, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
The show is also supported in part by Lagunitas, and we are so excited to feature their beers for your enjoyment!