May 7 – Refractions: on Escher by Richard Drehoff Jr.

Happy Birthday today to Richard Drehoff Jr. who is a Baltimore-based composer and close personal friend of mine. Richard’s music asks performers to explore vulnerability, navigate fragile extended techniques, and observe silence as a crucial element of his compositions. In this piece, he writes multi-phonics at the extremes of their playable dynamics that are, as he says, “carved into the rock face” of the surrounding silence. He additionally composes for the solo flute using a double-stave score to impart the interplay of background and foreground in the work as inspired by Escher’s “Day and Night,” which gets projected in the background of any performance. Richard is one of my oldest friends and most frequent collaborators because we work closely together as members of earspace, a NC-based contemporary performance ensemble. Our close relationship and Richard’s unique mix of glowing warmth and unflinching meticulousness made this collaboration extremely fun and rewarding. -Philip Snyder (UofSC MM ’15, DMA ’18)

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