Improvisation is the tightrope walk wherein we venture into the unknown with no map, no pre-existing plan, and, hopefully, a mind & heart fully open to every possibility for discovery along the way. I improvise because I want to hear music I've never heard before, & I want to surf that wave which lifts you when you stop trying to force music into a certain shape, and allow the music to determine its own shape. Hopefully the listener can enjoy the journey as thoroughly as the musicians do.
Scott Fraser has been creating electro-acoustic music since the early 1970's, and currently focuses on expanding frontiers on electric guitar. His recordings have been released on the Fun Music, Artifact, TrancePort, Hypnos, and pfMentum labels. Fraser is a multiple Grammy-nominated recording engineer/producer & has toured extensively since the early 1990's as sound designer for the Kronos Quartet.
Trained as a pianist and lawyer and a lifelong doer of art, from childhood on I cherished and sought freedom from restraint or excessively burdensome rules. The greatest pleasure was doing what spontaneously appealed and excited. The sound of the modern harpsichord attracted me, and I began performing early harpsichord music, but also composing modern works for it. I was especially attracted to a unique type of composition for harpsichord: Unmeasured Preludes (no time signature, no definite key, just a great musical ramble in an improvisatory way). I already had a Korg synthesizer with an array of wonderful or weird sounds, and had composed some for that, so when my friends Patrick and Scott invited me to join them in an improv project, I was ready to go.
Sally Mosher composes music for hapsichord, piano and other instruments. Trained as a pianist, presently she performs and records as a harpsichordist, with repertoire ranging from English Renaissance through her own modern compsitions. Some of her compositions have also been recorded and performed by noted hapsichordists. A lawyer (JD, USC). Mosher is also an artist, and her paintings provide the art for Soundings.
As both composer AND performer, I find improvising an ideal combination of both, involving a different part of one's brain than being an "interpreter" of others' music, ie. following directions, and/or being "faithful" to the composers' intentions. My harpsichord/organ studies certainly included improv training. In fact, I extemporize daily in my position as Principal Musician for UCSB's Theater/Dance department, where I am encouraged to know many disparate musical styles. Most mornings I will record my musical "effusions", notating the good bits after reviewing/reflecting on them. As a pedagogue, I enjoy asking my students to improvise... after initial timidity, they are often amazed, as am I, at the good stuff that emerges from their musical psyches. Also, making music with others is wonderful..Sally, Scott and I have been playing together for decades.
Patrick Lindley received three degrees from New England Conservatory of Music, presently composes and improvises as pianist, harpsichordist, and organist. He has performed extensively in both the U.S. and Europe. Currently, he is Principal Musician for the Dance and Theatre Departments at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Music Director at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Santa Marbara.