All Classical Portland’s AMPLIFY is a response to the industry’s inequities in classical music recordings. The works of five contemporary composers are brought to light in this album, each infused with recollections of stories, cities, and movements that have made an impact along the artists’ journey. Featured on the album is Lauren McCall’s A Spark and a Glimmer, a piece influenced by visual artist Alison Saar’s sculpture Summer.
Today, Lauren is our featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner-workings and personalities of our composers and performers. Read on for a deep dive into her favorite aspects of the album, and a hot tip on the best donuts in Atlanta…
If you could make a living at any job in the world, what would that job be?
If I could make a living doing any job in the world it would be working as a composer and sound designer. As I have grown older, I have realized this is possible. My image of what a composer looks and how their work is formatted has evolved. When I was younger, I had an image in my head of composers like Beethoven focusing just on writing as their craft, but as I have gotten older my exploration of what it means to be a composer has involved writing music, sometimes teaching others how to write music or create electronic music, sound designing, performing… wearing many different hats. As I have gotten older also it has been nice to see so many different composers and that being a composer isn’t constrained to looking or being one type of person.
If you could spend creative time anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
If I could spend creative time somewhere in the world, I think it would be at an experimental media place like EMPAC, Harvestworks, or IRCAM. Some places where music technology is explored and expanded on.
If you could instantly have expertise performing one instrument, what instrument would that be?
If I instantly could have expertise in performing an instrument it would be piano. Piano has been such an important instrument for my compositional work, and I love that it is so versatile.
What is your guilty pleasure?
My guilty pleasure is donuts. If you are ever in Atlanta, a couple of really good places to check out include Revolution Donuts and Sublime Donuts, but I do my best to stay away from those places…they can get me into trouble sometimes LOL
What was your favorite musical moment on the album?
It was hard for me to pick a particular musical moment that was my favorite because I loved the whole album!! I was so excited to hear my composition opening the CD. Caitlin Edwards, Monica Ohuchi, and Nancy Ives did such a great job playing the music and were so wonderful to work with! I also enjoyed hearing the rich playing of María García performing Mélanie Hélène Bonis’ Femmes de légende. I loved finally hearing Keyla Orozco’s Souvenirs and the many stories her compositions told about places she has visited. Jasmine Barnes’ Taking Names was so powerful. I loved hearing Karen Slack Blackwell sing this composition, and the life and deeper meaning Jasmine put into the text with her music. Adam Eccleston and Monica Ohuchi also performed Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson’s Sonata for Flute and Piano excellently. The whole album was a gift and a joy to listen to! It is also so wonderful to hear what everyone has been working on.
What does this album mean to you personally?
This album goes beyond what I thought was possible for me. To be honest I never thought I would have a piece of music on an album. I feel this album is a reminder to dream big. This album also means to me the importance of giving a voice to composers from different backgrounds. It has been so great to take part in this project, the musicians taking part in this project are awesome, and I am very thankful for the opportunity to have participated in this!
Is there a specific feeling that you would like communicated to audiences in this work?
The specific feelings I would want listeners to have is of wonder, adventure, and thinking about the beauty of fireflies, and the changing of seasons.