Reflections on loadbang's first Stucky Residency visit

2022-2023 Stucky Residency ensemble loadbang started off their two-part visit to Cornell’s campus with a bang. Demonstrating their acclaimed “explosive energy,” the ensemble’s schedule was packed with teaching opportunities for Cornell students involved in music. Their first stop? The Cornell Wind Symphony. Andy Kozar (trumpet), William Lang (trombone), and Adrian Sandi (clarinet) took to the podium to conduct Wind Symphony players in Shostakovich’s Festive Overture. They also shared their origin story of creating and performing as an ensemble of student players themselves, and giving insider tips for Cornell students interested in continuing their music-making after graduation. But whether or not students form their own ensembles or perform in established orchestras, Professor James Spinazzola appreciated this opportunity for his students to learn from musicians currently in the field: “I like to think that all ensembles—large or small—should endeavor to play chamber music…Working with a professional chamber ensemble reminds us of the importance of listening to each other, breathing together, and approaching every rehearsal with sensitivity, vulnerability, and a collaborative spirit.” 

Their insights on listening with sensitivity and intention resonated with the students they played with as well. In preparation for their concert at Hans Bethe House later in the week, students Andrej Dovciak and Yinghui Bimali had the opportunity to rehearse with the ensemble members. Playing as a classically trained cellist with loadbang’s pioneering ensemble instrumentation of baritone voice (Tyler Bouque), trombone, trumpet, and bass clarinet was exciting new territory for Dovciak. “The musicians were incredibly skillful and incredibly friendly. It was interesting to receive feedback from and work alongside the voice, as a cellist it brought a different perspective to my playing and I found their advice helpful and unique.” Bimali agrees, noting how working with loadbang exposed her to new styles of music, and new approaches to her musicianship as a string player working with wind instruments: “It was definitely an opportunity to perform with an instrument and a piece that I otherwise wouldn't, and I like new things. I also enjoyed the wide range of styles within a single piece, which I don't get to play that often.”

As part of their residency, loadbang is also workshopping and performing pieces by Cornell student-composers. Matias De Roux Uribe found himself challenged and inspired by the possibilities the loadbang instrumentation created for a composer. “The instrumentation is very challenging…Finding a good balance in terms of dynamics and timbre is not always easy.” But working with the members in person gave Uribe new sonic ideas as well. “They shared a lot of interesting sounds that I wasn’t familiar with. I really liked the overpressure multiphonics they showed on the trombone and the trumpet. I am definitively using these sounds in my loadbang piece and probably in future works as well.”

Whether in the classroom, rehearsal room, or performance space, the energy loadbang brought to their playing and instruction was undeniable. “I liked their investment. In my opinion, they genuinely cared for the final result and tried to help me find the best solutions to the problems we encountered during the workshop,” said Uribe. And Dovciak was “grateful” for the unforgettable opportunity unique to Cornell. “Performing with loadbang was incredibly fun. The atmosphere was low-stress, welcoming, and collaborative.”

Bimali appreciated their respect of the music, of her as a player, and their clear enjoyment of the work: “I may not be a professional musician or even a music major, but [Adrian] didn't seem to mind that and was very helpful. We were both putting effort in to make a good performance and had a good attitude about it, so…that [was] the important part.” Cornell looks forward to welcoming loadbang back to campus this spring! Mark your calendars for April 15 when they will perform the new works written by Cornell composers.

Adedayo Perkovich '25 is a communications assistant in the Department of Music.


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