The Inside Story: Thad Anderson and LINES & SPACES
May 8, 2019
Composer, percussionist, and music educator Thad Anderson is a faculty member at the University of Central Florida where he has roles in the percussion, composition, and music technology fields. Actively composing in instrumental, electronic, and multimedia genres, Thad has composed pieces for artists including the Omojo Percussion Duo, George Weremchuk, Grand Valley State University, Nora Lee Garcia, the Heisler/Yeh Duo, the Patterns Quartet, and Korry Friend. He frequently collaborates with immersive visual artist Diana Reichenbach and composed music for the award-winning documentary film Standard Deviation. His Ravello Records release LINES AND SPACES is based on Thad’s own compositional technique called “duration lines” that create both structure and polyrhythmic interest, and the story of which you can discover in this interview.
Today, Thad is our featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our artists. Read on to learn which unique instrument Thad wishes he could have instant expertise on…
What was your most unusual performance?
The only time I have ever held a firearm of any kind was in a concert hall. I once performed a starter pistol in Bates Recital Hall at the University of Texas at Austin. It was not the most unusual part of the work, however. The piece, A Grand Grand Overture by Malcolm Arnold, also features vacuum cleaners and a floor polisher.
If you could spend creative time anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I have a great home studio in a detached building. It’s comfortable and I can be productive with my creative work in that space.
If you could instantly have expertise performing one instrument, what instrument would that be?
I’m learning to play bluegrass mandolin. It’s slow going so it would be nice to have some instant expertise.
What was your favorite musical moment on the album?
This is a difficult one to nail down; there are so many. A catalyst for the music on this album is the first track. It was the first piece I wrote in this collection and I composed it over a short period of time. I can’t say this about any other piece on the album, but Withhold just came to me very quickly and with ease. I had sketched out a lot of ideas related to what I now refer to as duration lines. This piece is the first representation of years of influence and sketching.
What does this album mean to you personally?
To quote from my liner notes: Sound exists as pulsing rhythm and silent spaces. Layers create reverberating consonance and dissonance. Duration marks movement from one point to another. The music on this album investigates these fundamental values of music and offers the listener a method to discover sonic lines and spaces. The selection of works on this album, composed between 2011 and 2018, are from my Lines series. With each of these pieces, a compositional technique I have termed “duration lines” is used to create polyrhythmic consonance and dissonance, build structure, and as a compositional device to develop musical content. It is an organized method to explore the simplest components of music duration and layers. Lines and spaces.
Is there a specific feeling that you would like communicated to audiences in this work?
It is my hope that listeners can find something to connect with on the album. While the compositional methods are similar throughout, there is variety in instrumentation, sonic elements, and general aesthetic. The album is structured in a way that makes it feel like a complete work, yet individual pieces can be taken in smaller chunks and experienced on their own. Many of these pieces are collaborations between myself and performers. I hope that the collaborative spirit comes through for the listener.