Get the Grant: Project Description from March 2008 (Part 4/7)

The next few posts will contain project descriptions from my successful Canada Council grants.

As I said before, I’m not a professional grant writer.  I don’t claim that these project descriptions are ideal.  All I know is that I received the grant, so they must be effective on some level!

Below is a project description I submitted to the Canada Council in March 2008.  I requested and received $9,000 to compose an album’s worth of music.  I was told that its approval was unanimous and that the panel wished I asked for more money.

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This project revolves around my desire to structure a new album of original music around the drawings and concepts of M. C. Escher.  More specifically, it will take structural influence from his work “Metamorphosis II.”  Starting with a single theme, each successive composition will draw inspiration from the previous composition until the music arrives and finishes at the initial theme again.

The compositions themselves will be shaped similarly to traditional jazz tunes (melodies followed by improvisation) and be written for solo piano.  However, what is unique about these tunes is that (as in Metamorphosis II) because of its linear progression, I will also be composing many different transitions between each composition.  In this way, with the melodies, improvisations and transitions, the entire album consists of many small compositions organized and arranged as one long piece.

Transition and transformation is a major theme in Metamorphosis II.  The book “Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid” by Douglas R. Hofstadter identifies and explains many concepts behind the work of Escher such as recursive structures/processes, figure, ground, strange loops and infinity.  All of these ideas are transferable to composing music. Hofstadter’s book and ideas will undoubtedly influence the way I write the transitions and transformations between my compositions.

Also included in this project is arranging the music for myself in a solo piano context.  Because of the nature of this project, I believe all of the new pieces will need to be heavily prepared, arranged and timed out to be effective as a concept album.  For this reason, I will write piano scores as well as lead sheets that pay close attention to inner voices, rhythm and timing.

With the funding provided by the council, I will have an album’s worth of music ready to be recorded by the end of 2008.  I am very excited about this new project and upon its completion, I look forward to reflecting this concept onto other aspects of record production (sound engineering, artwork, songs titles etc.).  It will act as a great follow up to my debut album with will be released mid this year.  I am confident that the approval of this application will help me focus on contributing to new Canadian music.  I sincerely appreciate the council’s time in reviewing my application and hope to be given the honour of receiving this grant.


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