For Good Measure, by Ensemble for These Times (E4TT)
Episode 66: Da Capo Conversations with Angélica Negrón and Erika Oba
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Today we revisit Angélica Negrón’s and Erika Oba’s perspectives on performing and composing in different genres. If you enjoyed today’s conversation and want to know more about Angélica Negrón and Erika Oba, check them out here and here. Parts of this episode originally premiered on November 15, 2021, on Youtube, click here and on May 16, 2022, on Youtube, click here.
This podcast is made possible in part by a grant from the California Arts Council and generous donors, like you. Want to support For Good Measure and E4TT? Make a tax-deductible donation or sign up for our newsletter, and subscribe to the podcast!
Intro music: “Trifolium” by Gabriela Ortiz, performed by E4TT (Ilana Blumberg, violin; Abigail Monroe, cello; Margaret Halbig, piano), as part of “Below the Surface: Music by Women Composers,” January 29, 2022
Outro music: “Lake Turkana” by Marcus Norris, performed by E4TT (Margaret Halbig, piano), as part of “Alchemy,” October 15, 2021
Transcription courtesy of Otter.ai.
Co-Producer, Host, and E4TT co-founder: Nanette McGuinness
Co-Producer and Audio Engineer: Stephanie M. Neumann
Podcast Cover Art: Brennan Stokes
Volunteer: Merve Tokar
Interns: Sam Mason and Renata Volchinskaya
Nanette McGuinness 00:00
[INTRO MUSIC] Welcome to For Good Measure, an interview series celebrating diverse composers and other creative artists, sponsored by a grant from the California Arts Council. I'm Nanette McGuinness, Artistic Executive Director of Ensemble for These Times. In this week's episode, we continue our Da Capo Conversations, a mini series where we'll be giving familiar segments a topical twist [INTRO MUSIC ENDS]. Today, we revisit Angélica Negrón's and Erika Oba's perspectives on performing and composing in different genres and whether the genres feel separate or fluid. Here's what Angélica Negrón had to say:
Angélica Negrón 00:44
That's a really good question. I think for a long time, I kept those worlds separate. And that did not feel right. I was making music with balloon. And I was writing very different kinds of music for the concert hall, and very purposefully separated those worlds. And I would say about 12 years ago, I started not caring so much about that, and about putting things in separate containers and just being more fluid and embracing the totality of who I am as a certain artist as my true self. And...and that was really liberating. So I, right now, I don't think about those, those distinctions. They...they pretty much all live together in the same part of my brain and...and also what I do and balloon wishes collaborative because I'm making music with my best friends. It's also a really big part of the work I write for chamber ensembles and orchestras and the work I write for myself to play solo using plants or vegetables. It's, it's all I think, combined and, and infiltrates sometimes in ways that I don't even realize until I had some distance with the music and then come back to it and then and then I'm like, "Oh! That clarinet part is actually, I don't know something that note I would play no matter who plays quattron bassoon balloon. That's something that Nora could play in a balloon song and come up with that. So, I think...I think my experience in those bands has been really formative and really influential in my...in my other compositions for other people.
Nanette McGuinness 02:42
Here's what Erika Oba had to say:
Erika Oba 02:44
I write for, I would say, until fairly recently, the majority of my composing was for ensembles that I was in. So if that was like a chamber ensemble, I'd be writing for whatever chamber group I was in, if I was playing in a more jazz oriented ensemble, you know, that was more how that might work might be oriented. But I feel like...you know, the people that I'm working with tend to overlap in what they do as well. So I would say it's less a binary between like classically oriented music and jazz oriented music and more like...along the spectrum of improvised music, experimental music and through composed music. I mean, even when I'm writing for my chamber ensembles, if the performers are game I'll, you know, often incorporate elements of improvisation. And you know, if the jazz ensemble I'm in would be game, I might write something like, you know, like, a little bit more through composed. So I feel like there's elements of both, regardless of what setting I'm writing for. I think I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by performers who are often, you know, game for anything and willing to experiment or go outside of whatever their normal zones might be.
Nanette McGuinness 04:06
[OUTRO MUSIC] Thank you for listening to For Good Measure's Da Capo Conversations, and a special thank you to our guests for joining us today. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to our podcast by clicking on the subscribe button and support us by sharing it with your friends, posting about it on social media, and leaving us a rating and a review. To learn more about E4TT, our concert season online and in the Bay Area, or to make a tax deductible donation, please visit us at www.e4tt.org. This podcast is made possible in part by a grant from the California Arts Council and generous donors like you. For Good Measure is produced by Nanette McGuinness and Ensemble for These Times and designed by Brennan Stokes, with special thanks to co-producer and audio engineer Stephanie M. Neumann. Remember to keep supporting equity in the arts and tune in next week "for good measure" [OUTRO MUSIC ENDS].