EarShot Grand Rapids Symphony – Composer Spotlight: Tyler Eschendal

Tyler Eschendal is a composer and percussionist originally from the suburbs of Detroit and now resides in Los Angeles, CA. A love for rhythm, pulse, and layering heavily influences his music, as well as an interest in introducing sample-based procedures found in electronic music to acoustic and live instrumentations. Tyler’s music has been performed at institutions across the U.S. and by such ensembles as the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, yMusic, the Norfolk New Music Ensemble, and Sō Percussion. He holds a B.M. in music composition from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati studying with Michael Fiday, and a M.M. in composition from the University of Southern California studying with Ted Hearne, Sean Friar and Don Crockett.

Tyler’s orchestral piece Zarathustra Mixtape was selected for the Grand Rapids Symphony EarShot New Music Readings, where it will be workshopped and read under the direction of conductor Jacomo Bairos. Public performances will take place on Friday, September 28 and Saturday, September 29, 2018 at The Morton as part of ArtPrize. More information here

Tyler spoke with us about his piece and the upcoming readings.

Composer Tyler Eschendal

American Composers Orchestra: What was your reaction to finding out your piece had been selected for the Grand Rapids Symphony EarShot New Music Readings?

Tyler Eschendal: My reaction came as a great surprise!  The original instrumentation is for a much larger orchestra than the readings presented, but I was up for the challenge of rescaling the work.  

ACO: You describe your piece as a “mixtape” of Richard Strauss’Also Sprach Zarathustra, “splicing, stretching, shifting, layering, reorganizing, and most importantly, re-contextualizing” the composer’s 1896 tone poem. Can you talk about your first encounters with Also Sprach Zarathustra, and why you chose it for the basis of your own orchestral work?

TE: Like a lot of composers, some of my first introductions to classical music was through the orchestra and its immense power.  Also Sprach was a piece that immediately resonated with me and I became obsessed.  The more I listened, the curiouser I got. Zarathustra Mixtape gave me an opportunity to extend and exploit fragments of the piece that I had always wanted to see in a different context. 

ACO: What are you doing to prepare for the readings? Are there any changes you have made to your piece?

TE: Strauss’ original orchestration calls for a massive orchestra with quadruple winds and brass, two harps and lots of string divisions.  In order to replicate the source I wanted to use as large of an orchestra as I could get my hands on.  For the ACO readings I was working an ensemble half that size, so the biggest challenge was downsizing the instrumentation and reorchestrating moments of the piece.  

ACO: What do you hope to gain from this experience?

TE: I hope to gain more experience working in time-sensitive situations like rehearsals and meetings with a professional arts organization like GRS and ACO.  Understanding how to make the most out of a short rehearsal block is an absolute skill!
Grand Rapids Symphony will give public performances of Tyler Eschendal’s Zarathustra Mixtape on Friday, September 28 and Saturday, September 29, 2018 at The Morton, as part of ArtPrize. More information here

Learn more about Tyler Eschendal at www.tyler-eschendal.com
Follow him on Twitter and Instagram

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