New PARMA Artist – Leonard Ball

We’re pleased to share that composer Leonard Ball is currently working with PARMA towards a finished recording of his chamber work titled “..leaveleonard-v-ball-jrs ~~~ (he.. ~ she.. ~ the.. ~)” for flute, viola, and harp.

Leonard V. Ball, Jr. is an Associate Professor Emeritus of Composition and Theory at the University of Georgia. He was born in Richmond, Virginia and brought up in eastern North Carolina. His musically formative years were spent as a vocalist/guitarist in a number of folk and light rock bands, culminating in professional work as an arranger/performer for several bluegrass and folk groups. After an eight-year hiatus with the United States Army, Ball earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Theory and Composition and a Master of Music degree in Composition from Kansas State University. In 1987, immediately before joining the faculty of the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, he completed a Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition at the University of Memphis. His principal teachers were T. Hanley Jackson, John Baur, and Donald Freund.

At UGA, Ball was director of the University of Georgia electronic studio from 1987 to 1995; director of the Roger and Phyllis Dancz Center for New Music Electronic Studios from 1995 to 2001; director of the Roger and Phyllis Dancz Center for New Music from 2001 to 2015; and Chair of the Composition/Theory area from 2010 to June 2015. His compositions have been performed across the United States, in Europe, South America, and Japan. His electronic works have focused on interactivity using movement as a control source for sound generation and manipulation and, more recently, real-time manipulation of instrumentally produced sound.

In the composer’s own words:

“..leaves ~~~ (he.. ~ she.. ~ the.. ~) was written in 2008, but was never performed. In effect, “..leaves ~” essentially remained on the shelf for eight years. Fast forward to 2016, with an opportunity from PARMA to record a smaller force chamber work under ten minutes in length, and the work was a natural choice for the project. Since “..leaves ~” was not performed or published, no program notes existed. To start formulating the notes, archived work files were examined in order to reveal the composition process and develop some comments. Like so many of my compositions, I found that the first thoughts put to score were not the opening measures of the work. Instead, the genesis for the work was the slower, steady, open section starting approximately three dsc00771minutes twelve seconds into the finished piece. From there “..leaves ~” expanded in both directions, first to the end and then, finally, the first three minutes of material were added. I also wanted to give each instrument an opportunity to solo and be the focus. As to the title and what it means, there were no notes or comments about that process. The piece was written primarily during the fall months of 2008, so that might be an obvious connection, but there also might be deeper implications for some. Frankly, in my opinion, that is for each individual performer and listener to ascertain. I, of course, have my own sense of how the title relates, but interpreting the meaning of a work’s title is usually, at least for me, very personal. After experiencing the work, therefore, I hope you will take a few moments to develop your own views about the title’s meaning and its relationship to the music. Most importantly, however, it is always the music that matters.”

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