suboptimal outcomes (2023)

for alto saxophone and chamber ensemble

An ambitious collaboration on the second in a series of four works provides a fertile context in which jef chippewa and Yves Charuest explore the creative potential arising from the convergence of fully composed and freely improvise music, with “adaptive notation” functioning as a binding agent for their respective backgrounds.

Close-up (black & white) of Montréal improvising saxophonist Yves Charuest’s fingers. Image © Tatiana Kalantzis.

Yves Charuest. Image © Tatiana Kalantzis.

Collaboration with Yves Charuest and LUX:NM

At the core of the broader project are adaptive notational strategies, historical and contemporary approaches to notation that offer the musicians a greater degree of decision-making responsibility and interpretational freedom than traditional, fixed notation. The particularities of adaptive notation provide a means for improvised and composed creative approaches to overlap and intersect each other, challenging and overcoming the traditionally prevalent segregation between these two practices.

The second work in the series, suboptimal outcomes, exploits LUX:NM’s extensive experience in improvised settings and theatrical or staged productions, as well as the musical and professional intimacy the composer has developed through three prior collaborations with the ensemble, notably on something like this but not this and not that either (2017). That live-notated work was in fact crucial to opening up and suggesting the potential of the new musical direction explored in this project.

This new composition exploits somewhat more “excessively” the adaptive notational strategies that effectively smear the boundaries between composed and improvised music than in tautological responses to systemic redundancies (2021), and sets the stage for the third piece, where Charuest’s musical companion will be Benedict Taylor (UK), a musician equally familiar with the worlds of composed and improvised music.

suboptimal outcomes was commissioned by yves charuest and LUX:NM, with the support of the canada council for the arts, akademie der künste berlin (projekt initial) and DMR — deutsche musikrat (neustart kultur).  contact the composer to pre-order a copy of the performance materials.

chippewa-charuest: a project comprising four works


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