Music as Response. Music as Protest.

One night, several months after the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, pianist Nicholas Phillips joked on Facebook about commissioning a piece with any of the following:

  • movements limited to 140 notes, 140 measures, 140 phrases, or other permutations of the Twitter character limit

  • erratic shifts of character, dynamics, articulation, tempo

  • improvisatory sections that do not relate in any way to the thematic material of the piece, or commonly accepted musical practices. In ANY way.

  • playful/childish outbursts, in the form of "heckler chords" or "bad hombre-like non-chord tones" - with shocking key area explorations highly encouraged!

  • "tonality-change" denier sympathies (i.e. anti-modulation)

  • structural musical elements in no way qualified to be a part of supporting the administration of the composition

  • short, repeated motifs that are expressed vehemently (but not developed), then forgotten by the average listener at crucial later moments when they could change the appreciation/understanding of the piece

  • a blatantly critical and unwavering sense of self-importance, in the face of wide-spread critical disdain, and limited audience base.

Music can be a powerful artistic response to things beyond our control, and many composers actually responded to the idea with great excitement and enthusiasm. So, initially a "Call for Scores" was posted on Facebook where composers were welcome to use anything related to our 45th President (tweets, speeches, etc.) as source material to create a miniature, or small collection of miniatures, for solo piano. These serve as commentary on, or reaction to, words, attitudes, policies, and general behavior that they find amusing, unacceptable, confusing, disturbing, and so on. 

Everyone and anyone who responded to that call was included in the project.

Since then, the project has opened up to include more interested composers and, hopefully, more interested pianists who want to program this repertoire.


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