Drew Baker - Scream When It Sighs

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Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 6.34.29 PM.png

Drew Baker - Scream When It Sighs

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Described by the American Record Guide as "extremely inventive," Drew Baker's music explores the many sonic identities of conventional and novel instrumentations, often taking into account visual art and politics. The Chicago Classical Review wrote of a recent composition, "At just 8-1/2 minutes, Baker distills a striking atmosphere of concentrated mystery."
Baker's music has been performed at venues around the world by groups such as the A/B Duo, Chamber Cartel, Ensemble21, Ensemble Dal Niente, Fonema Consort, The Group for Contemporary Music, h2 quartet, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), and the Talea Ensemble. Renowned pianist Marilyn Nonken recorded Baker's complete piano music for New Focus Recordings in 2011. 
Baker earned a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the Eastman School of Music, a Master of Music in Composition from Rice University and a Doctor of Music in Composition from Northwestern University. His composition teachers have included Karim Al-Zand, Shih-Hui Chen, Jason Eckardt, Marti Epstein, and Augusta Read Thomas.
“The title Scream When It Sighs is taken from Frank O'Hara's poem East River which features the following line:

I understand the song when it screams
and I hear the scream when it sighs

Piano and saxophone quartet is an unusual instrumentation. In attempting to find a sound world in which these two entities could coexist, I opted to use the piano as a resonator. The quartet plays into the piano, a fact that becomes apparent midway through the piece when the ensemble suddenly stops playing and the accumulated sound hovers momentarily before fading. The piano also subtly and nearly inaudibly echoes the moaning gestures of the saxophones at the outset until briefly easing into the foreground late in the piece. Generally speaking, one might associate the piano with technical virtuosity. In this environment, however, any traditional exhibitionist tendencies are subverted, casting the piano as a sort of ghost that shadows the quartet throughout.”
- Drew Baker