Program note

AMONG AM A concerns different modes of listening during a concert experience, and attempts to create an environment where musical listening and environmental listening are blurred: everyday sounds are musicalised, and musical gestures are made concrete. The work thus provides a means to re-examine the performance conditions that create distinctions between musical and non-musical acts, spaces, and sounds. Over the course of the work, the sanctioning of musical space and sound is deconstructed.

The work derives some of its material from Better Git It In Your Soul, the first track from Charles Mingus’ Mingus Ah Um. Mingus often included vocalisations and other ‘extra-musical’ sounds in his studio recordings - in Better Git It In Your Soul, the function of one of these vocalisations is blurred as the shout of “OH YEAH” during the refrain is musicalised through its repetition and ‘crossfade’ transformation into the timbre of of a saxophone wail.

AMONG AM A also concerns the affective qualities of sound, especially as social functions in collective or individual settings. Sounds of revelry are often acoustically similar to sounds of terror - addressing this ambiguity in the work is a means to address my own anxiety in crowds, and the experience of being one among many.

AMONG AM A was commissioned by Ensemble Paramirabo with support from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, and the Canada Council for the Arts.


Year of composition
Commissioned by Paramirabo
Funded by