Nick Hennies: Psalms
About the music:
Psalms was inspired by two pieces: a vibraphone solo composed by Hennies in 2001 wherein random charges in resonance occur via consistency in striking location, and Alvin Lucier's "Silver Streetcar for the Orchestra" wherein changes in timbre and resonance occur via variation in striking location, dampening, and rate of attack. The Psalms are compositions that emerged from repeat performances where structure, duration, and form were slowly determined over time rather than the usual method of composing first and performing after.
Objects is a half-hour percussion solo for wooden and skinned instruments whose traditional timbres are deepened and expanded by the subtle addition of the vibraphone. Similar to Psalms, through traditional playing techniques it looks deep into the sonic capabilities of common percussion instruments; though in Objects the focus is on subtle changes in pitch and overtones rather than echoes and resonance. Through their relationship with the vibraphone the drums and wooden instruments slowly “grow” over the course of the piece. Objects was composed expressly for the IMA's exhibition of Tara Donovan's work; this will be the world premiere performance of this piece.
Nick Hennies is a percussionist and composer from Louisville, KY currently residing in Austin, TX. His work is primarily concerned with redefining and re-purposing the role of traditional percussion instruments through repetition, meditation, and immersion. He received his M.A. in percussion from the University of California-San Diego in 2003 where he studied with renowned percussionist Steven Schick and currently performs with The Weird Weeds, Waco Girls, and the Austin New Music Co-op. In addition to solo work, Hennies has collaborated with Arnold Dreyblatt, Radu Malfatti, Jandek, Charles Curtis, Ellen Fullman, Michael Pisaro, and many other composers and improvisers from the United States and abroad. His work as both performer and composer can be heard on Quiet Design, Sentient Recognition Archive, Full Spectrum, Thor's Rubber Hammer, and more.