"Fabrication 10: Itch" by Andy Vores Performed Sept. 16, 2014 - The Davis Square Theatre, Somerville

 

Fabrication 10: Itch is part of a large, still in-progress 32-movement cycle for various ensembles. Vores explains that each explores “somewhat more mechanical approaches to generating music”, and that “each has a subtitle; a synonym of ‘fabrication’ which says something about the piece itself.”

Itch is a high-energy work for bass clarinet and marimba that explores the symbiotic possibilities of the two instruments, traversing through passages of playful interaction and whimsical conversation. The underlying quiet tension and distraction of the “itch” surface unexpectedly, often in the form of halting, stuttering, and skittery unison passages featuring short phrases that are both jazzy and virtuosic, only to be pushed aside by the insistent moto perpetuo passages that propel the music forward, never meditating on the unscratchable itch for too long.
 

- Rebecca Marchand

 

. . . the edgy romantic irony of Andy Vores, the most compelling of the generation of Boston-based composers after John Harbison.
Lloyd Schwartz — The Boston Phoenix


Andy Vores was born in Cardiff, Wales in 1956 and has lived in the United States since 1987. He studied composition at Lancaster University, England with Edward Cowie. After graduating he was awarded an Arts Council of Great Britain Bursary for Composition and moved to London, working as a freelance music copyist and as Lecturer in Composition at the City University and as a music copyist for Universal Edition, Schotts, Novellos, and Faber Music.. Many of his works received their premieres during this time from such performers as Sarah Walker, Irvine Arditti, Gemini, the London Sinfonietta, Lontano, The Nash Ensemble, Capricorn, and the BBC Singers, including Humming Harvest Gone Snow Motor which subsequently won first prize in the Kucyna International Composition Competition at Boston University in 1985. 

In 1986 he was a Fellow in Composition at Tanglewood, where he studied with Oliver Knussen. Hammer and Darkness, Mirror and Knife, written that summer, was awarded the Tanglewood Prize for Composition. In 1987 Head Down Legs Up won the Ian Whyte Award—the prize being a commission for a new work, Twistification, for the Scottish National Orchestra, toured by them throughout Scotland in 1988. In 1990 Sinfonietta was premiered by the Omaha Symphony Chamber Orchestra as the prize-winning work in the Omaha Symphony Guild New Music Contest. The following year Twistification was chosen for a National Orchestral Association reading under Jorge Mester.

He moved to Boston in 1989 where he was offered one of five three-year funded residencies with the composers' collective NuClassix. In 1992 he was Composer-in-Residence at Bemidji State University, the first holder of an Interdisciplinary Fellowship established by the American Composers Forum and the Minnesota State University System as part of a scheme to examine new ways of utilizing creative artists in college education. During that time, with over a hundred students, faculty, and townspeople he created Earth Journey—a multimedia staged production based upon the many cultural variants of the Orpheus myth. From 1993 to 1994 he was Communications Director of the American (then the Minnesota) Composers Forum in St. Paul, returning to Boston to teach composition at the Walnut Hill School for Performing Arts.

From 1999 to 2001 he was Composer-in-Residence to the BankBoston Celebrity Series: Emerging Artists. Dark Mother for Triple Helix—his first commission for the series—was premiered in April 2000 and Urban Affair premiered by The Boston Trio the following year. He was Composer-in-Residence for the New England Philharmonic from 2002 to 2005 during which time the orchestra premiered three new works; G Major, Hex, for womens' chorus and large orchestra, and An Other I, a violin concerto for Danielle Maddon.

From 2001 until 2016 he taught at The Boston Conservatory where he was Chair of Composition, Theory, and Music History.

Commissions include Return to a Place for Sanford Sylvan and David Breitman, Wetherby Nocturne for Kathleen Supové (The Barlow Endowment), Goback Goback for Collage New Music, Quartet No.3 for The Borromeo String Quartet (Chamber Music America), World Wheel for The Cantata Singers, Umberhulk and Forgot for Boston Musica Viva, and Uncertainty Is Beautiful for the Boston Modern Orchestral Project with soprano Kendra Colton.

Recent performances include Fabrication 15: Amplification (Tangle-wood Festival of Contemporary Music), Spencer the Rover (Chorus Pro Musica), Drive (The New England Philharmonic) and Grand Monad-nock Measures (Monadnock Music Festival).