Andrew Rindfleisch: Nine Little Improvisations

Nine Little Improvisations (2009)

by Andrew Rindfleisch and Pat O’Keefe

Performed by Andrew Rindfleisch, piano and Pat O’Keefe, clarinets

Nine Little Improvisations are spontaneous compositions in real time, substantially free of the customary compositional indications of concert music. Taken together, in their great variety of texture and inventive interaction, the Improvisations show what happens when two musicians, composer and performer respectively, usually so differently enabled and constrained by the roles they’re most associated with and most often play, both become performer-composers, their collaboration now one of a different sort of interaction, in which neither has the luxury of out-of-time vision, contemplation, or technical dry-runs, while both have the responsibility of real-time response, in which their developing interaction becomes a driving force of their imaginations. Considering the titles (mostly assigned post-performance/recording), who, in the context of such a delicate harmonic refinement, could be the Arnold of the Music Box? And with such articulative friction, what kind of Salt Lick could this be? And as for the particular Brain invoked, perhaps the less said the better (only in this one did the title come first), especially since the Evening Prayer finds its winding way to an extraordinarily languid lyricism, one which seems never to be over till it’s over, and the “Bluer” of the Duos plays us out in the patterns of its deceptively familiar gestures.

Composer Andrew Rindfleisch (b.1963) has enjoyed a career in music that has also included professional activity as a conductor, pianist, vocalist, improviser, record producer, radio show host, educator, and concert organizer. As a composer, he has produced dozens of works for the concert hall, including solo, chamber, vocal, orchestral, brass, and wind music, as well as an unusually large catalog of choral music. His committed interest in other forms of music-making has also led him to the composition and performance of jazz and related forms of improvisation.

Mr. Rindfleisch is the recipient of the Rome Prize, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, the Aaron Copland Award, and the Koussevitzky Foundation Fellowship from the Library of Congress. Over forty other prizes and awards have followed honoring his music. He has participated in dozens of renowned music festivals and has received residency fellowships from the Bogliasco Foundation (Italy), the Czech-American Institute in Prague, the Charles Ives Center for American Music, the June in Buffalo Contemporary Music Festival, the MacDowell Colony, and the Pierre Boulez Conductor’s Workshop at Carnegie Hall. He holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin at Madison (Bachelor of Music), the New England Conservatory of Music (Master of Music), and Harvard University (PhD).

As a conductor and producer, Mr. Rindfleisch’s commitment to contemporary music culture has brought into performance and recording over 500 works by living composers over the past 20 years. He has founded several contemporary music ensembles and currently heads the Cleveland Contemporary Players Artist in Residency Series at Cleveland State University, and the Vertigo Ensemble at the Utah Arts Festival in Salt Lake City. He has made guest conducting appearances throughout the United States and abroad with many diverse musical organizations; from opera and musical theatre, to orchestral, jazz, improvisational, and contemporary avant-garde ensembles.