TF08161-for-web-680x1024.jpgComposer Charles Peck writes dynamic works with focused energy.  We can’t wait to hear pianist Holly Roadfeldt perform several of his piano works on our Solo Soundbox concert this Friday, now at the Hoffner Lodge in Northside.

CSB: Could you tell us a little about the pieces on this concert and your collaborations with Holly?

CP: The first piece on the concert, Metropolitan, I wrote back in 2011 – during my time in Cincinnati actually. I had been musing on a few of the cities that I had visited and felt compelled to document them somehow. There are five total movements, each with a contrasting, urban perspective. Holly came across this piece via twitter, believe it or not. After we somewhat randomly first connected there, I continually noticed her posts about performing new music and eventually decided to send her a recording of Metropolitan. Fortunately, she decided to program it and started a nice collaboration that we’ve had over the past several years.

The other piece on the program, Focus, is a new piece written specifically for Holly. Having heard her perform both my music and others many times, I wanted to write something new that would feel uniquely-suited to her musical spirit. She plays with rich character and a real sensitivity towards contrasting textures. Thus, Focus embodies those musical characteristics using the metaphor of light coming in and out of focus. It is full of layers and phrases that I knew she would interpret well.

CSB: How do you approach the solo piano medium?
CP: Piano is an interesting instrument to compose for because there is an overwhelming amount of repertoire, including tonal, atonal, retuned, prepared, and inside-the-piano works. This potential for contemporary composers is massive, to say the least. And yet, we keep coming back for more because of the expressive power of the instrument and it’s ubiquity in the music world. Personally, I am most attracted to the physicality of the instrument. Watching a pianist go to work can be a visceral, yet beautiful experience. It requires subtlety and power in equal proportions. Much of my piano writing has sought to embrace this dichotomy, allowing the performer to showcase both ends of the spectrum either simultaneously or by contrast.
CSB: To what extent does location influence your music?  
CP: Location plays a big part in Metropolitan, which was initially inspired by Philadelphia. The longer you live somewhere, the more you become accustomed to the varying and diverse sounds of the environment. In the case of cities, I have always loved how different an area can sound from one block to the next or from one hour of the day to another. At different moments in Metropolitan, you can hear car horns, night life, or people walking. And it was a fascinating compositional experiment to discover how to assemble this collage of sounds.
CSB: What are your current and upcoming projects?

CP: I have a number of exciting projects coming up. In two weeks, I have a premier of a piano quartet with the New York Youth Symphony at Carnegie Hall, which should be an exciting concert. Then, in June, I’ll be working with the Albany Symphony on my orchestral work Mosaic during their American Music Festival. And I am just now wrapping up a new piece for Alarm Will Sound that will be premiered in July at the Mizzou International Composers Festival. Should be a fun few months!