musical storytelling with Ezra, and in C-palooza!

One of the sessions we looked forward to most happened on day 6 of fresh inc, in which we were joined by graphic novelist Ezra Claytan Daniels, one of 5HE’s favorite collaborators and the mastermind behind our landmark Black Violet series. Millie loves Ezra!

(oh, and hey – if you want to check out Black Violet on your iPad, click here, or check out our album on iTunes!)

Ezra started by showing the complex process behind creating Black Violet, from narrowing down repertoire selection with members of 5HE, to marking emotional cues in the music, and finally laying down narrative and art slides that are triggered in real time.

Then, he challenged us to listen to a short segment of a Mendelssohn piano trio and come up with our own stories, realized either through short theatrical skits, drawn slides, or any other medium we wanted to choose.

The results were hilarious! We had stories of ill-fated lovers, an epic stick-figure chase, a rowdy classroom of first-graders, and more. It was amazing to see how the same piece of music could inspire such different tales, and be heard differently through these multiple lenses.


The afternoon was filled with rehearsals, as always with mixed ensembles containing festival participants and members of 5HE.

Simultaneously, we hold composers’ forums, in which our¬†fresh inc¬†composers present their work and hilarity ensues!

Later that evening, we convened for a rehearsal and informal performance of Terry Riley’s landmark work, In C.

Millie joined us to try out every musical instrument she could get her tentacles on, finishing with her final pose as a sexy lounge singer on the toy piano.

After a quick talk-through and rehearsal, we launch into an hour-long version of Riley’s work, a condensed version of which we’ll perform at Rush Hour Concerts at St. James next week.