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Title:Aaron Cassidy’s Second String Quartet: Resilient structures, indeterminate localities, and performance practice
Author(s):Lewis, Ralph Sylvester
Director of Research:Lund, Erik R
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Lund, Erik R
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Carrillo, Carlos; Haken, Rudolf; Wilson, Steven A
Department / Program:Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Aaron Cassidy
Second String Quartet
Experimental Music, New Complexity
JACK Quartet
ELISION Ensemble
Abstract:When Aaron Cassidy’s Second String Quartet was premiered in 2010 by the JACK Quartet, the work’s innovative, physical action-based score drew considerable attention in contemporary music circles. Despite the enduring enthusiasm for Cassidy’s multi-colored prescriptive notation, much of the foundational information about his ever-adapting experimental choreographic compositional approach and how to perform his works remains obscure. Drawing on Second String Quartet’s score, recordings, compositional sketches, as well as new on-site research and interviews at the University of Huddersfield, this dissertation examines the work’s aesthetic context, structures, sound, and its interpreters’ performance practice. The analysis provides an introduction to parsing Cassidy’s notation, then focuses on the distinct relationships between the quartet’s resilient yet provocative structures and the indeterminate localities situated within them. In doing so, the choreographic means and sonic results of how Cassidy’s quartet utilizes a non-hierarchical approach to its musical material are discussed in detail. This includes how he creates local, sometimes atemporal, variation networks and deploys the motive-like transitional figures he calls “gestural models.” Approaches to learning and performing this work and Cassidy’s music in general are similarly addressed, with input from Cassidy, JACK Quartet members Chris Otto and John Pickford Richards, line upon line members Matthew Teodori, Cullen Faulk, and Adam Bedell, ELISION Ensemble members Daryl Buckley and Kathryn Schulmeister, and Weston Olencki.
Issue Date:2021-07-16
Rights Information:Copyright 2021 Ralph Lewis
Date Available in IDEALS:2022-01-12
Date Deposited:2021-08

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