Berkeley Symphony EarShot Under Construction Readings Composer Spotlight – Composer B.P. Herrington

Composer B. P. Herrington

Composer B.P. Herrington, who will be participating in the Berkeley Symphony EarShot Under Construction Readings in February, takes us through his composition process and the impact of  being chosen for the Readings has had on his piece, A Region Lovelier Far

ACO: What was the inspiration for your composition? How would you describe your composition process?

B.P. Herrington:  My compositional materials tend to be very humble, drawn from the rural culture of East Texas, and my music is intuitively filled with the rich ornamentation and rhythmic character of that music.   However, my treatment and development of these materials often involves a tremendous amount of rigor: post-tonal processes such as serial organization, rotational arrays, various games.  Hopefully this coexistence of intuition and rigor translates into a rich listening experience.

I compose by hand on a full orchestral score.  I sketch out basic ideas on a separate sheet of manuscript paper then flesh it out on the full score, making every line as unique for each instrument as possible.   

ACO: Since the selection of your work for the Berkeley Symphony EarShot Under Construction New Music Readings, how have you further developed your piece in preparation for the readings?

B.P.H.: Before I received this opportunity, my piece was just a frustrating, unrealized dream.  After I heard I’d been accepted, the piece took on a new life.  There is nothing in the world like writing a piece for a guaranteed performance.  Having the piece read in-progress also removes the mortal dread of miscalculation.   
ACO:  What do you hope to get out of this experience of having your piece read by the Berkeley Symphony and in working with the mentor-composers?

B.P.H.: This piece explores ideas I’ve only thus far pursued in a chamber music setting.  I’m eager to absorb and incorporate all the advice and feedback I receive.    

ACO:  What are you most looking forward to in participating in these New Music Readings?

B.P.H.: Hearing the music come alive under the direction of Joana Carneiro and the fantastic musicians!

ACO:  What would you like to say to other composers who may be interested in applying to future New Music Readings?

B.P.H.: This opportunity is one-of-a-kind.

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