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Wayne Horvitz's Compositions Are A 'Sonic Playground, Full Of Wild Rides'

Tom Chargin

Composer, musical improviser and pianist Wayne Horvitz's body of work sounds as eclectic as a short list of his ensembles: The Royal Room Collective; Sweeter Than The Day; The Gravitas Quartet; Electronic Circus; The President; Pigpen; Zony Mash. His collaborators include video artists, filmmakers, choreographers, performance artists, actors, poets and novelists - when he's not busy playing sideman to Carla Bley, Bill Frisell, Marty Ehrlich or John Zorn.

Several of Horvitz's compositions pay tribute to people connected with Montana. "The Heartsong of Charging Elk," adapted from the novel by James Welch, is an oratorio for four voices and ten chamber instruments,  co-written with writer/director Rinde Eckert and composer/songwriter Robin Holcomb (to whom Horvitz is married). It was performed at Missoula's 2012 Montana Festival of the Book. Horvitz's suite for septet called "Some Places are Forever Afternoon (11 Places for Richard Hugo)," which was later expanded for full symphony, explores the landscapes in Hugo's poetry.

In 1986, Horvitz served as the first booker for The Knitting Factory, a keystone in New York's downtown music scene. In 2011, he co-founded The Royal Room in Seattle, a performance venue that covers a wide range of musical styles, with an emphasis on creative programming and development.

“There's nobody else out there I hear even attempting to cover some kind of similar range, and do it so convincingly”  —  All About Jazz

Join host John Floridis as he learns from Wayne Horvitz about the art of composing - and collaborating - on this week's "Musician's Spotlight."

(Broadcast: "Musician's Spotlight,"  11/15/18. Listen on the radio Thursdays, 7:30 p.m., or via podcast.)

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