Wednesday, July 5, 2023

City Suite

Synths, Rainstick, Tambourine, Field Recordings - Becker 
Gong - SPIKE the percussionist 
Flute - Misha Penton 
Sampled Voices - Misha Penton, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Max Olivier 

 Composed, Recorded, and Mixed by Chris Becker 

 Photo by Ishan @seefromthesky on Unsplash

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Does Humor Belong in Psychotherapy? (Online)

Does Humor Belong in Psychotherapy?

Discover how the music of Frank Zappa, the broad humor of vaudeville stars The Marx Brothers, and the no-filter verbosity of radio personality Howard Stern have inspired the treatment of juvenile patients carrying diagnoses including major depressive disorder, autism spectrum disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and childhood-onset schizophrenia.

Chris Becker & Enrico Curreri
Saturday, July 1
10 - 11:30am CT
Potentially appropriate for 1.5 CEs
Admission: $20.00
Chris Becker is a contributing editor for Houston CityBook. Becker wrote the cover story for the magazine’s premiere issue and continues to provide thoughtful, deeply researched coverage of Houston’s lively and diverse creative community. He is the author of the critically acclaimed book Freedom of Expression: Interviews with Women in Jazz, a collection of in-depth conversations with 37 female musicians representing nearly every style of jazz one can imagine. Becker has presented multimedia lectures on jazz history, music therapy, and writing about visual art at Lone Star College at Kingwood, Project Row Houses, The Jung Center of Houston, and Houston Baptist University. He also composes music for dance, experimental video, and mixed-media installations.
Enrico Curreri, MA, is a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist at Elmhurst Hospital Center in New York City where he works with patients ages 10-17 carrying different diagnoses, including major depressive disorder, autism spectrum disorder, PTSD, and childhood-onset schizophrenia. He is a member of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA). Curreri studied music composition at The New England Conservatory of Music and received his degree in music therapy from New York University.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Celebrating Earth Day with A Gift from the Bower

Chris Becker, Rachel Gardner, Patrick Moore, Carlos Canul, and Ruby Surls. 

Photo by Heidi Vaughan.

What a gift it is to be asked to create a new piece of music to herald a new sculpture and poem all created by such talented people. More photos to come from the April 22, 2023 opening of A Gift from the Bower, a group exhibit of incredible outdoor art created by some of Texas's finest artists, included the premiere of my first-ever piece for solo cello "A Gift from the Bower."

A Gift from the Bower was presented by DiverseWorks & Locke Surls Center for Art and Nature. Originally conceived by artists James Surls and Charmaine Locke, the project is co-curated by Jack Massing and Xandra Eden to include newly commissioned works by fourteen artists and artist teams.

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Notes for A Gift from the Bower for Unaccompanied Cello

The Forest Chair by Carlos Canul and Rachel Gardner. Photo by Carlos Canul. 

When I first saw the enormous chair Rachel Gardner and Carlos Canul constructed for A Gift from the Bower, an outdoor, multi-disciplinary group exhibition conceived by nationally-renowned artist James Surls, I had a vision of a cellist seated in a chair on the chair, performing solo in a bower deep in the woods of Splendora Gardens. I shared this image with Rachel, who didn’t think I was nuts, and over the course of several weeks, composed a piece for unaccompanied cello to be performed at the opening of the exhibit. I was honored when cellist Patrick Moore agreed to premiere the work; his formidable technique and the deep expression he brings to his playing inspired me to embrace the challenge of composing a solo for his instrument. 

Knowing my piece would be performed outdoors, I was inspired to evoke the rhythm of sound events one hears in woods, especially the rise and fall of wind as it moves through branches and leaves. The very opening of the piece and later, what I hear as an extended coda, were created as moments for the cellist as much as for the listener and are performed in a sort of meditative state, calling to mind the age-old question, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” The repeating measures of 16th notes in the piece’s demanding middle section pay tribute to two of my heroes, Terry Riley and Philip Glass. While composing the work, Bach’s Six Suites for Violoncello Solo was another important point of reference, as was double bassist Eberhard Weber's 1973 album, The Colours of ChloĆ«

Once finished, it made sense to name the piece A Gift from the Bower since the opportunity to compose the work was a gift, and in exchange, so is the music I have composed. 

A Gift from the Bower opens April 22-23, 2023
at the Locke Surls Center for Art and Nature at Splendora Gardens.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

"Widow's Walk" Screens in Paris, March 26, 2023

Jil Guyon in Widows Walk (2019)

Widow's Walk, a haunting film I scored for my friend artist, performer, and filmmaker Jil Guyon screens on March 26, 2023, in Paris as part of Gentrification of Being, a curated program of ten dance films and live performances. More information about the program is available on the Cinema Trianon website.  

"Shot in southern Iceland, Widow’s Walk portrays the Widow character as fated with the Sisyphean task of walking up and down a desolate hill in an effort to conquer her grief. Her existential dilemma is further destabilized by troubling memories and a precarious future."

Monday, January 30, 2023

Chris Becker "Innovative Composer on the Spirit of Creativity"

It was an honor to be a guest on Music Matters, a wonderful podcast hosted by conductor Jason Tramm. We covered a lot of ground in just an hour.

Maestro Tramm met when I composed music for the two-act ballet The Lost Princess of Oz, and I hope we get the opportunity to work together again soon. 

Sunday, December 11, 2022

The Lost Princess of Oz Suite

I am revisiting and revising some of the numbers in my score for The Lost Princess of Oz, the goal being to create a suite of music like The Nutcracker Suite that a chamber ensemble could perform in a concert setting. It's going slow, and I love so many of the numbers, I'm not sure if I can narrow the two-act score into something much shorter. I'll update the blog as things progress. 

Here is the revised version of "The Patchwork Girl," one of the craziest things I've ever composed, and a highlight among many highlights in the production. 

For banjo, violin, cello, piano, xylophone and bass drum.