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Celebrating New Music for the Cello – New York Women Composers Spotlight: Lynn Bechtold

Featured Artist: Lynn Bechtold

We are excited to continue our collaboration with the New York Women Composers. This month, we spotlight composer and conductor Lynn Bechtold.

Lynn Bechtold

Lynn Bechtold

From her bio:

“Violinist/composer Lynn Bechtold, a native of Pittsburgh, has appeared in recital throughout the U.S., Argentina, Canada, France, Holland, Japan, and Switzerland. She composes electroacoustic works, and writes news articles about food/music/life, when time allows.

Her compositions have been performed on various series and festivals, including Birmingham New Music Festival, Circuit Bridges, Composers Concordance, COMPOSERSFest XIII, Composers Voice, JUMP, La Cupula Galeria de Arte Livestream Series, Music With a View, NWEAMO, Soft Series, Sonic Circuits Festival, Sound of Silent Film Festival, and Sound Traffic, and at venues such as the Austrian Cultural Forum NYC, Bohemian National Hall, Institut Finlandais in Paris, and the National Opera Center.

As a composer, she has collaborated with artist Cecilia Mandrile, and with chef Kurt Gutenbrunner.”

Featured Work: “Don’t Look at the Sky” for cello, percussion, and pre-recorded electronics (2013)

Bechtold tells us:

The piece was written for the “Ladies First” concert series at the Bohemian National Hall (which I co-produce) and the theme of that concert was music and journalism. This piece was written in response to an ABC News story by Bob Woodruff and Christine Romo: “A Massive Oasis Could Ease Suffering in Darfur.”

The title of the piece relates to an African saying I read about: when there is a drought, people say “don’t look at the sky.”

COMPOSITION DETAILS

  • Title: Don’t Look at the Sky
  • Composer: Lynn Bechtold
  • Instrumentation: cello, percussion, and pre-recorded electronics
  • Movements: 1
  • Duration of Work: 3:30
  • Number of Measures: 87
  • Number of Pages: 6
  • Difficulty Level: advanced intermediate
  • Highest Position Reached: thumb
  • Techniques Employed: double stops; playing with a pre-recorded electronic track; playing with a percussionist
  • Publisher: Scimmia Acorn Music (ASCAP)
  • Where to Purchase Parts and Score: Contact composer

RECORDING:

The performers in this video are cellist Anja Wood and percussionist Damien Bassman. They premiered this piece on 20 June 2013.

Program Notes

Composing for cello is always nice, and I feel like the cello can sound like both women and men’s voices. For that reason, it evokes the human sentiments of pain, sadness, worry, quite well. In addition, the piece includes an easy percussion part.

Any musician with a sense of good rhythm could play this part-doesn’t necessarily have to be a percussionist. However, the percussion part should be memorized so that the player can come from off-stage and circle round the cellist, as a means of invoking the fear women and children had of attack from soldiers or pillagers when searching for water.

Additional titles by Lynn Bechtold featuring the cello

She tells us:

“I have many works that include cello as I play in a violin/cello duo called Zentripetal.”

  • Duo Die (2006) is for violin/cello duo and pre-recorded electronics
  • Away/Home (2010) is for violin/cello duo and pre-recorded electronics
  • Immolare (2012) is for violin/cello duo and pre-recorded electronics
  • From Bags to Riches (2012) is for soprano, violin, cello, piano, and pre-recorded electronics
  • Projet Imaginaire 1.2 (2016) is for dobro-uke or mandolin, violin, viola, cello, and pre-recorded electronics
  • Solitude (2018) for violin/cello duo and pre-recorded electronics
  • BC Variations (Ciao, Ciao) (2019) for violin/cello duo and pre-recorded electronics
  • What If (2020) for violin/cello/piano trio (acoustic!)
  • Or, Well, Sound the Alarm (2020/21) for string quartet and pre-recorded electronics

A Collaboration with the New York Women Composers (NYWC)

The NYWC series at the Cello Museum was created to showcase its members who have composed various pieces for cello, informing cellists seeking new music to add to their repertoire, and helping listeners of cello music find new favorites, too. Many thanks to the NYWC, especially composer Rain Worthington for all of her help with this project.

Read other installments in the series here.


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