Franny and Zooey for Piano Duet & Suggested Reading Publication Release

Event Date: September 20, 2011

[ Photos and Video by Daniel Lara ]

The Fellows of Contemporary Art and their guests attended the musical performance premiere of "Franny" by Marya Alford, in collaboration with Ron McBain.  The concert was performed by Ron McBain at Women's Twentieth Century Club in Eagle Rock.  A reception was held to celebrate the last week of the current Curator's Lab exhibition Suggested Reading, curated by Kristine Thompson, and the release of the accompanying publication.

The limited-edition book features artwork by Marya Alford, Candice Lin, Jay Lizo,
Catherine Lord, and Marco Rios; writings by Sarah Balcomb, Teresa Carmody,
Moyra Davey, Daniel Hockenson, Douglas Kearney, and Benjamin Weissman;
and is designed by Hazel Mandujano.

Suggested Reading continues at the FOCA gallery space through Saturday, Sept. 24.

"Franny (and Zooey) for Piano Duet" is a work conceived as a performance of two pianists, one male and one female, performing a musical composition based on every element of punctuation in J.D. Salinger's short stories, "Franny" and "Zooey".  This was the premiere of "Franny".

The composition consists of the artist's transcription of the various punctuation from each line of "Franny and Zooey" to the blank page of manuscript paper.  Each color designates a different type of punctuation in the story.  For instance, pencil stands in for periods, orange for commas, green for question marks and so on.  This system also designates each type of punctuation as a certain type of note (periods equal whole notes, commas equal quarter notes, apostrophes equal grace notes, colons and semi-colons equal dotted half notes, etc.)  Alford has been working with musician and pianist, Ron McBain to finalize the composition for piano duet.  Phrasing and dynamics have been added to the piece and the music has been translated to readable musical notation.

Ron McBain's notes on the project:  "I was drawn to the idea of Franny and Zooey because of the challenges it presented.  As composer, it was compelling to work within a system that was both abstract and specific.  Finding a compositional process for a strict transcription that still resulted in a diverse and effective score required a great deal of trial and error.  As a performer, drawing out the music and phrasing was equally intringuing.  Throughout the work, I was continually amazed at the unexpected moments of beauty that arose from the system.  By deconstructing the compositional process, Franny and Zooey accentuates the beauty of the piano and the sound it produces.

Ron McBain is a composer, pianist, and organist living and working in Los Angeles.  He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in Piano Performance in 2003.  McBain has performed frequently throughout Europe, Russia, and the United States, including with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, as soloist and collaborative musician.  He currently scores for film and multi-media and enjoys working with artists and musicians alike.

Mayra Alford received her BFA from Otis College or Art and Design in 2003 and a MFA from USC in 2005.  She exhibits in Los Angeles and has screened her films internationally.  Working in a variety of media that includes film, photography, sculpture, works on paper, and sound, her work evokes a sense of romanticism, longing and loss.  Being research driven, the subjects of her work include historical and literary references.  Her practice continues to create a translation or transformation from the merging of different disciplines, forms and thoughts.

[qt: 500 375]
"Franny" performed by Ron McBain.

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