Lowertown Listening Session
Zeitgeist Halloween Commissions
Sept. 6, 2018
6 p.m. music
5:30 p.m. doors open
Studio Z: 275 East Fourth Street, Suite 200, St. Paul
Zeitgeist has commissioned composers Daniel Nass, Dameun Strange, and Doug Opel to write brand new works for Zeitgeist’s Halloween Festival: Things that go bump in the night. Join Zeitgeist, singer Alyssa Anderson, and composers Daniel Nass, Doug Opel, and Dameun Strange for a discussion on how to create music that sends shivers up your spine.
Lowertown Listening Sessions invite curious listeners to enjoy adventurous sounds and insightful conversation with the music-makers of our time. Held at Studio Z, Zeitgeist’s performance space in Lowertown St. Paul, this monthly happy hour series brings guest artists from all genres of new music (jazz, classical, world music, folk, and more) for performances and informal discussion in an after-work setting with food and beverages from Lowertown eateries.
Based out of St. Paul, Minnesota, award-winning composer and sound designer Dameun Strange creates soundscapes that explore the outer limits of music and creativity, fusing them into a style and sound uniquely his own. A native of Washington, DC he was heavily influenced by his early study of Classical, Jazz, Electronic, and West African genres, and has since delved into Gospel, Neo-Soul, Acid-Jazz, Ska, and Hip-Hop, creating innovative and integrative arrangements rich in magnetic sound. A celebrated keyboardist and saxophone soloist, Dameun continues to push the boundaries of genre, using his compositions to move us toward a more inclusive and unified society.
The music of Daniel Nass has been reviewed as “playful,” “eerie,” and “witty.” He has received numerous awards and recognitions, including ASCAP awards, as well as invitations to SEAMUS and SCI national conferences, and prizes in the ISU Carillon Composition Competition, the UMKC Chamber Music Composition Competition, and was one of three composers awarded a commission to write a new choral work for the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus. Other recent commissions include Zeitgeist, Stone Arch Collective, pianist Matthew McCright, Sod House Theater, and the dream songs project. A native of Howard Lake, Minnesota, Nass holds degrees from Saint Olaf College, the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory of Music, and the University of Texas at Austin. Past teachers include Kevin Puts, Donald Grantham, James Mobberley, Chen Yi, and Peter Hamlin. His works are distributed through his self-publishing company, Daniel Nass Music, and recordings are available on the Innova, Centaur, Crescent Phase, and Avid Sound Records labels.
SHADOWS OF SHADOWS PASSING by Daniel Nass
In the summer of 2018, I visited the famously haunted Palmer House in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, seeking inspiration for a new Halloween-themed commission. I slept in room 11 (known for being occupied by a spirit named “Annie”) and took part in two paranormal investigations. This work reflects what I experienced in my time there – in particular, the glimpses of shadows I observed creeping in the darkness of the hotel’s basement. The title of the work is derived from Edgar Allen Poe’s “Marginalia.”
Shadows of Shadows Passing was commissioned by Zeitgeist. Special thanks to the Palmer House and Jenny Melton of the Twin Cities Paranormal Society.
…AND THE SOUND IS THUNDER by Daniel Nass
“What do you know about sleep paralysis?”
That’s how this collaboration between myself and Minnesota playwright Rachel Teagle began. As we were in the early stages of what we wanted this piece to be, Rachel messaged that question to me, and touched upon something with which I have had significant experience. My first, most noteworthy episode occurred in college, waking up in the middle of the night to see an intensely bright light outside my 4th floor dorm room window. I was unable to move until the light faded away five minutes later.
…And the Sound is Thunder is a depiction of the waking nightmare and surreal experience of sleep paralysis.
Exploring amalgamations of contemporary, rock, jazz, pop and electronic music, Doug Opel’s work has been sought after and performed by the National Young Arts Foundation, American Modern Ensemble, Nautilus Music-Theater, Vox Novus, Duo Petrof, Keys to the Future, Vision of Sound and the Duquesne Contemporary Ensemble. He is a recipient of the Aaron Copland Award and winner of Definiens’ Composition Competition Competition.
He has received commissions from the Chatterton-McCright Duo, Ricochet Duo, the Bridge Chamber Music Festival, the Chautauqua Institution, the Atlantic Chamber Ensemble, pianists Robert Satterlee and Nicola Melville, MATA, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and bass-baritone Timothy Jones. He has also written for cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, PUBLIQuartet and the ensemble Intersection.
Opel’s 3 preludes to missing the point can be found on Melville’s Dozen, by pianist Nicola Melville [Innova Recordings]. Dilukkenjon for two pianos, appears both on Duo Petrof’s 88x2 [Columna Música], and the newly released Powerhouse Pianists II, featuring pianists Stephen Gosling and Blair McMillen [American Modern Recordings].
Midnight Mary by Doug Opel
Midnight Mary was inspired by the following urban legend from New England. [from Damnedct.com]
"In 1872, a woman by the name of Mary Hart died in New Haven (Connecticut) and was thereafter interred in Evergreen Cemetery. Different stories surround the demise of Ms. Hart. The most horrific says her family found her apparently dead of a stroke at the stroke of midnight and quickly had her buried; her aunt, however, had a dream the next night in which she saw Mary still alive in her coffin and pled with the powers-that-be to dig her up. After they finally capitulated, dug her up, and opened her casket, they discovered a horrific sight: Mary was dead, but apparently hadn't been quite that way when buried -- her fingernails were bloodied and the inside of her coffin was shredded as she had apparently tried to claw her way out.
Another story says that because Mary had been a witch in life and her grave was cursed, anyone who was there at midnight would meet a terrible end when the witch rose from the dead. Since New Haven is renowned as a college town, there was always a student or two who scoffed at the story and tried to stay the night in the cemetery, only to be found dead the next morning, a victim of the murderous spirit of Midnight Mary.”
Taphephobia - the fear of being buried alive - is said to have been fairly widespread around the late 1800s/early 1900s. An industry of sorts evolved whereby coffins could be purchased equipped with an adequate supply of air piped in from the surface as well as signaling mechanisms - very often, a bell or bells of some sort, with strings tied to the head and limbs below. These became the basis of my programmatic material: wooden knocks, scrapes, music boxes and triangles for the bells, all built around a static piano line intended to evoke a sense of being trapped, or simultaneously, the image of Mary’s ghost walking the grounds of Evergreen Cemetery, haunting those who dared to visit her grave at midnight.
Tonight’s excerpt(s) are from one of two intended movements, entitled “evergreen”.
Tickets can be securely purchased by credit card or through your PayPal account in advance, or by cash, check, or credit card at the door. Tickets purchased online will be held at the door.