Friday, June 30, 2023

Performance Notes for "Aftonian Sequenza" (Premiered in Sarajevo) and "Counterfly"

Conductor Fuad Šetić and lovely impro ensemble: Amila Ravkić-Mezzo, Andreja Boltek-Flute, Ilma Cagalj-Clarinet, Zuhra Melić-Horn, Suada Kurić-Violin, Anela Botticini - Cello, Tarik Kamaric-Guitar, Ammar Biser-Guitar, Ismet Skrobo-Guitar, Muharem Osmanagić-Accordion, Emina Huskić-Piano, Hanan - Flute + guests concert: Kenan Kojic - Piano and dino rešidbegović - piano.

Program: Cornelius Cardew, Hoods stock-Ramati, Bil Smith, Dino Rešidbegović, Kaća HadžifejzovićIvan Dujmović

Performance Notes:

Aftonian Sequenza is an obvious nod to Luciano Berio’s solo ‘Sequenza’ pieces which are a large influence in my work in general.  This score is essentially three vignettes in which you can capture the continuity in the visual score, yet with each successive page the score becomes more disruptive.  The frenetic notation in the third page is meant to mimic that of a short wave radio and I would ask the solo instrumentalist to interpret it as such.  The lone boot suggests to the instrumentalist to stop, and stomp their foot on the floor at approximately half way through the work.

In this piece, the link between synthetic sound and philosophical performance should always be self-evident—it’s about getting under the surface, and abstraction... it is about challenging inherited conceptions of what it means to be a musician, what it means to sense, to understand, or to think. This means expanding your perception of the world through new musical concepts, using philosophical performance to break down what’s known and familiar until you realize that underneath those recognizable ordinary surfaces there’s a whole world of intricate abstract mechanisms working away.

Counterfly is inspired by a character in the Thomas Pynchon novel “Against The Day”.  As this novel opens, the ‘Chums of Chance’ (who are a pack of children) are floating aloft in a hot air balloon.  The intention is for the  performers to assume a more minimalist, whimsical…even child-like approach.  In one performance, I encouraged the performers to exchange instruments for a short passage.

I compel the performers to recognize that there’s a really beautiful process where, if you have integrity and pay careful attention to how this music thing is growing, how it presents itself, what it connects to, and if you make only the right compromises (because you’ve got to make some), then it becomes much bigger than either of you as performers.  ,Then the composition and performance becomes something real, has a certain independence from you, and in effect tells you what you can and can’t do with it.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

"Waverly, Iowa and Totowa, NJ". The Full Score

"Waverly, Iowa and Totowa, NJ"

Bil Smith Composer

For Marilynn Foelske and Nan Smith


Contraforte (Contrabass Bassoon)

Contrabass Flute (EvaKingma System)

Contralto (Voice),

and Accordion

The Full Score

Published by Laboratorie New Music​

Monday, June 26, 2023

"Eyeball Stuck To A Viewfinder" Segments 1, 2, and 3. For Vibraphone.

There are Laws of Randomness...

Randomness has been a big process in music, but randomness means laws. It’s a way of calculating.​ There are laws of randomness...calculations of randomness. 

And so it’s just a particular form of the occurrence of physical laws. It’s a way of anticipating, and it is completely normal. 

In certain compositional structures, if you break laws which are fundamentally random, you can’t find yourself again in randomness.  
It is not the same incident. 

Sunday, June 25, 2023

"Against The Vortex" for Inderbinen DaVinci B Flat Trumpet. Bil Smith Composer

"Against The Vortex" 

for Inderbinen DaVinci B Flat Trumpet.  

Bil Smith Composer

Link to PDF Score

Dimensions:  22" X 10"


Carnegie Hall Premiere of "Delinquent Spirit of a Drowned City” for Solo Piano." Nicolas Horvath, Piano. Bil Smith Composer:

Nicolas Horvath, Pianist with the score to “Delinquent Spirit of a Drowned City” 

Early this year, I was honored to be part of this amazing event which saw my composition, "Delinquent Spirit of a Drowned City", first performed in Paris by Nicolas Horvath, have it's US Debut at Carnegie Hall on January 9, 2015.

The program was unique : the world premiere by a single pianist of all the 20 Philip Glass Etudes, alongside with world premieres from composers such as Alvin Curran, Jaan Rääts, Régis Campo, Tom Sora, Michael Black, Eve Beglarian, and Lawrence Ball.

Nicolas is a brilliant pianist with a vision for programming that is rarely found.  His innovative performance on New Years Eve (December 31, 2014) in Kiev lasted for 22 hours and included all of the Glass Homages.  

“Delinquent Spirit of a Drowned City” for Solo Piano

“Delinquent Spirit of a Drowned City” for Solo Piano

U.S. Premiere by Nicolas Horvath

January 9, 2015
Carnegie Hall
New York, NY

Produced by New York Artists Management
Jasna Popovic

Bil Smith Composer
Co-Conspirators:  Jhenna Marche, Siyang Gong

Carnegie Hall Concert Announcement

From The New Yorker...

"In December of 2012, a prodigious Monacan pianist named Nicolas Horvath gave a performance in Tokyo that lasted thirty-five hours. It was his eighth solo presentation of “Vexations.” “No food or drink for three days before the Vexations,” he explained to his fans in the comments section of his YouTube channel, where he posts six- and nine-hour segments of his marathon performances. Responding to a newcomer, he said, “28 hours is pretty nice indeed but alone it is very hard. Pain starts past 6 hours; Madness starts past 12 hours; Hell starts past 20 hours!”


The score: Four (4) independent pages, 27.5” X 17.5” on boards; three (3) transparencies, 17.5” X 3.35”, Performance Notes book, portfolio enclosure and oil on canvas 46” X 31” (integument).

This work is inspired by Philip Glass’ “The Light.”  Glass composed this work in 1987 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Michelson-Morley experiment, whose data, failed to demonstrate their hypothesis, but led to discoveries about special relativity and the speed of light; and ultimately, the impact on light and color.

Enclosure for Score

The compositional structure is based on W.V.O. Quine’s theories of holophrastic indeterminacy, or “…indeterminacy of musical performance translation.”  This is one of two kinds of indeterminacy of performance interpretation to appear in his writings. 

Colophon and Performance Notes

According to Quine, “There is more than one correct method of interpreting (translating) notations where the two interpreters differ not merely in the meanings attributed to the sub-sentential parts of sounds but also in the net import of the whole composition.”

It is holophrastic indeterminacy that underlies Quine’s argument against synonymy, the basis of his objections to Rudolf Carnap’s analytic/synthetic distinction.

The pianist is empowered, yet restricted by the presence of textual references and neologisms, inferred tablature (transparencies) and direct tablature (found on the far right side of the four (4) large pages of the score). 

The focus on combinatorial tablatures and tactical notational systems represent my interest in the efforts my musical allegory makes to affect change while grappling with the notion of radical—whether as a self-identification or a prescribed moniker, or both—and the mutations of disruption, authority, activism, and ethos that take place.  I am curious about the actuality of innate constructions determining one’s aesthetic and sociopsychic passion and sense of agency.

“Delinquent Spirit” is a platform for investigating intentionality and the rapport I have to documentary or archival forms—a fragile and volatile place for both the object and subject.  Authenticating experiences through new musical representations quickly impresses a contemporary psychological form of recognition. Within these mediated forms of cognition, music establishes a further expanded dimensional presence. Ultimately, it is challenging to understand this work as a completed form or even as a record—it is something that is permeable and flexible.

Biography:  Bil Smith, Composer

Bil Smith is a composer, instrumentalist and neologist.  His work has been programmed by leading contemporary music ensembles and his scores have been published and exhibited in art galleries throughout the world.

Bil’s compositions have been performed by specialist ensembles and soloists including members of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Moderne, The Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, St. Petersberg Philharmonic Orchestra, Kyushu Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. Schoenberg Ensemble Amsterdam, Ensemble Gelade, Qingdao Symphony Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, and Oslo Sinfonietta.

Early in his career as a jazz trumpeter, he performed with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, Anthony Braxton, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Gary Burton, Steve Lacy, Lester Bowie, Kevin Eubanks, Quincy Jones, Max Roach and Michael Gibbs. 

As a Neologist, Smith founded Addison Whitney, a consultancy dedicated to creating brand identities for global companies and organizations.  Deeply rooted in the etymology and linguistic foundations of words, Smith created a dynamic new system of word generation, which led to the creation of the brands Viagra (Pfizer), Outlook (Microsoft), Escalade (Cadillac), Xbox (Microsoft), Lexapro (Forest Labs), Element (Honda), Advair (GSK) and Access (Microsoft).  He has been responsible for the creation of more than 1100 brand names globally since 1991.

He identifies himself as an inter-disciplinarian composer, incorporating combinatorial techniques including neologisms, prose, painting, sculpture, drawing and combustion, as well as traditional elements of music composition to his work.

Nicolas Horvath, Piano.  Carnegie Hall.  January 9, 2015

Complete program : 

Philip GLASS : Etudes 1 to 10 

Jeroen van VEEN (hol) : Hommage for Philip Glass (USA premiere) Frédérick MARTIN (fr) : Glass in Mirror (USA premiere) Konstastin YASKOV (by) : Moonlight Sonata for Philip Glass (WP)Stéphane DELPLACE (fr) :Hommage à Glass (USA premiere) William SUSMAN (usa) : 1937 (USA premiere) Andre Vindu BANGAMBULA (cd) : Homage to P. Glass (WP)Eve BEGLARIAN (usa) : Enough Holes (WP)Tom SORA (de) : Glassplitter (WP)Tom CHIU (tw): laborets version 2.0 (USA premiere) Sergio CERVETTI (uy) : Intergalactic Tango (WP)Régis CAMPO (fr) : Smiley !(WP)Jaan RÄÄTS (ee) : (WP)


Bil SMITH (usa): Delinquent Spirit of a Drowned City (USA premiere) Paul WEHAGE (usa) : Early Morning:New York Skyline (USA premiere) Michael Vincent WALLER (usa) : Pasticcio per meno è più (WP)Alp DURMAZ (tr) : Bustling (WP)Gilad HOCHMAN (il) : Broken Glass (USA premiere) Ehsan SABOOHI (ira) : Where is the friend’s house? (USA premiere) Lawrence BALL (uk) : Glass Ball Game (WP)Paul A. EPSTEIN (usa) : Changes 6.1 (WP) Alvin CURRAN (usa) : The Glass Octave (WP)Michael BLAKE (za) : Shard (WP)Victoria Vita POLEVA (ukr) : NULL (USA premiere) Mamoru FUJIEDA (jp) : Gamelan Cherry (USA premiere) 

Philip GLASS : Etudes 11 to 20