A day with Sphaera

Recently in São Paulo, Brazil, I had a great time working with the very fine Sphaera Ensemble and writing with their conductor and arranger Alexey Kurkdjian. I got to know these guys a few years ago and since then have done several arrangements for them and in 2009 they had two of my pieces in their repertoire, giving several performances. Initial plans were made to have a concert together, but early on we decided to take a different path. We decided to get together for a day and rehearse my music, introduce some NZ classics and then make a recording of our work together. This I was very happy with. The Sphaera Ensemble consists of:

  • Bebel Ribeiro - Flute
  • Will Tomao - Clarinet
  • Alexey Kurkdjian - Violin I
  • Luiz Cadorin - Violin I
  • Mariana Ribeiro - Violin II
  • Wagner de Souza - Viola
  • Pablo de Moraes - Violoncello
  • Douglas de Freitas - Double Bass

The music we worked together on was:

  • Reclusion (2005, revised 2009)
  • In Their Light (2008)
  • The Attic (2005, revised 2009)
  • Pokarekare Ana (arr. Ryan Youens 2009) - classic, they loved it.
  • Te Haranui (arr. Ryan Youens 2009) - it was Christmas after all, went down a treat.

It was wonderful to meet the players and have a very productive and rewarding afternoon. They will perform my three pieces as part of their 2010 repertoire. During the afternoon I even managed to get a new piece requested by Will Tomao and his clarinet and double bass duo, Sopro do Contra.

The second project for the trip was a collaboration between Alexey Kurkdjian and myself. The piece is to be premiered at the major New Music Festival in Brazil during August/September 2010, and is for solo violin, flute, clarinet, two violins, viola, cello, contrabass, electric guitar and drums. Fun! Over the week I was there we worked on the piece most days and it shaped up extremely well. It's a wild fusion between Brazilian and New Zealand rhythms and harmonies. Stay tuned for more on this project.

Some photos from our day together (for the full album visit here):

20091220 Sphaera W-2

20091220 Sphaera W-124

20091220 Sphaera W-64

20091220 Sphaera W-80

20091220 Sphaera W-42

20091220 Sphaera WL-4

20091220 Sphaera L-2

20091220 Sphaera W-25

20091220 Sphaera W-56

20091220 Sphaera W-61

20091220 Sphaera W-58

20091220 Sphaera W-24

20091220 Sphaera W-77

20091220 Sphaera W-67

20091220 Sphaera W-126 copy

Sphaera Ensemble, conductor Ryan Youens, 20th December 2009, São Paulo, Brazil. Photos by Laira Dalileia and Wendy Youens.