Adrienne Albert, Composer and Stravinsky’s Favorite Alto

April 16th, 2014 • Composer Quest


As a singer with a very pure tone, Adrienne Albert has been recruited to work with many talented composers over the years, including Leonard Bernstein, Philip Glass, and Igor Stravinsky. In this episode of Composer Quest, we talk about Adrienne's own composing process. She shares some stories behind her music, including how she used woodwind players to represent a chorus of animals in her Alaska-inspired "Animalogy." Continue reading...

Quest 9: Film Scoring for Live Orchestra (Presented by MNKINO & Composer Quest)

April 13th, 2014 • Composer Quest


The MNKINO filmmaking group and the Composer Quest podcast are teaming up to bring you a fun challenge for the summer. Filmmakers will make short films, composers will write scores for them, and the Composer Quest Orchestra will perform these scores live along with the films. If you're a composer or filmmaker, sign up below, and I'll be in touch with more details! Continue reading...

Music Theory for the Bored with Justin Merritt

April 9th, 2014 • Composer Quest


In order to be more productive, composer Justin Merritt once tried polyphasic sleeping, meaning he slept only a couple hours per day. After countless hours of busyness, he finally came to the revelation that he just needed to feel bored to become inspired. In this episode of Composer Quest, Justin and I talk about how Buddhist philosophies have influenced his life as a composer, and he shares some great composition advice he gives to his students at St. Olaf. Justin also explains how he invented a unique system of creating scales and modulating, which he used in his beautiful piece "Lachryme" for string orchestra. Continue reading...

FEZ’s Composer Disasterpeace on Creative Music Theory for Games

April 2nd, 2014 • Composer Quest


I'm excited to bring you this Composer Quest podcast episode with talented video game composer Rich Vreeland (aka Disasterpeace). We talk about his snowflake-catching game January, and how he infused his code with music theory to make some beautiful generative music. Rich also explains his composing techniques for the indie games FEZ and The Floor is Jelly. Continue reading...

Quest 8: May the Four-Hand Piano Be with You

April 2nd, 2014 • Composer Quest


In honor of Star Wars Day (May the 4th be with you), our eighth Composer Quest quest will involve the number four. Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to write a piano piece for four hands (two pianists at one piano). You're also encouraged to work the number four into your piece in other ways, like the harmony, rhythm, or form. The best pieces will be performed by Susan Hsu and Franco Holder here in Minnesota on May 4th (6pm, Underground Music Cafe). Continue reading...

Polka Expert Joey Johnson

March 26th, 2014 • Composer Quest


When he was just 14, Joey Johnson started touring with America's Polka King, Frankie Yankovic. Joey has carried on the tradition with his own polka band, and in this episode of Composer Quest, he shares everything he knows about accordions and polka. Joey's original tunes have been featured in a number of commercials and TV, and we talk about the pros and cons of being published in a music production library. Continue reading...

Minimalist Mandola Songwriting with Nathan Eliot

March 19th, 2014 • Composer Quest


In this episode of Composer Quest, we get a sneak preview of Nathan Eliot's first solo album, Universe in Me. We talk about the creative process behind his songs, singing super high as a countertenor, and bringing his mandola into a special ed classroom. Continue reading...