Research Assistant, Ph D Student
Composer Sid Richardson (b. 1987) writes concert music that imbues modern idioms with emotional grit and cerebral wit. He has collaborated on projects with artists such as Conrad Tao, The Da Capo Chamber Players, Deviant Septet, Ensemble Amarcord, and yMusic. Sid’s arrangement of the Bach Double Violin Concerto in D Minor BWV 1043, adapted for two soprano saxophones and full orchestra, was performed by Susan Fancher, Branford Marsalis, and the Durham Medical Orchestra led by Verena Mösenbichler-Bryant in December, 2016. Also that year, he was in residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, where he worked on his newest piece Red Wind that sets the poetry of Nathaniel Mackey. Sid was commissioned by the Kenosha Community Foundation in association with the Kenosha Symphony Orchestra for a new woodwind quintet that was premiered at the Kenosha Public Museum in Wisconsin in 2015. Other recent commissions include Webbed, a violin solo for Charlotte Munn-Wood commissioned by the Lee Honors College at Western Michigan University, and Rough/Smooth, for mixed chorus and organ, commissioned by Emmanuel Church Boston. Sid received a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2017.
Originally from Belmont, Massachusetts, Sid is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Music at Duke University in Durham, NC. He has studied with composers Stephen Jaffe, John Supko, Scott Lindroth, John McDonald, Marti Epstein, and Jan Swafford. He holds a Master of Arts in composition from Duke University, a Master of Music in composition from The Boston Conservatory, and a Bachelor of Arts from Tufts University in music and classics. Sid is an organizer of the Experimental Music Study Group in North Carolina’s Research Triangle, an organization focusing on promoting community discussions, scholarship, and performances of new music.
Conrad Tao - Piano
"there is no sleep so deep" takes its title from Samuel Beckett’s play "Footfalls." The play consists primarily of an old woman obsessively pacing up and down the stage. M, the protagonist, stops occasionally to recount a monologue of her slow withdrawal from life, and of her anguished attempts at self-assertion. As the work progresses, she becomes increasingly more bent and more obscured in darkness, finally disappearing in the end.
The script of "Footfalls" opens with M calling to her mother. When a voice offstage responds, M inquires if she was asleep. “Deep asleep. I heard you in my deep sleep. There is no sleep so deep I would not hear you there.” I found that beautiful exchange resonated deeply with me.
there is no sleep so deep for piano engages with the text, imagery, and stage directions of "Footfalls" on various levels. The most evident parallels are in the textures: the driving sixteenth-note passages echo M’s obsessive footsteps, and the resonant repeated-note figures recall her counting to herself as she walks to and fro “one, two, three…” Harmonic and rhythmic ciphers derived from Beckett’s text operate beneath the surface of "there is no sleep so deep," but essentially the motivation behind the music is my grief over the death of my grandmother, Constance Dubose Jones, who passed away at the age of ninety-five last year. This work is a tombeau for her and a reflection on my own emotional struggles with death and loss.
The astrolabe is an astronomical device used to solve problems relating to time and the position of the celestial bodies in the sky. It was the primary astronomical education tool of ancient times, and as such astrolabes were fashioned by various cultures around the world for both scientific and astrological purposes. Aesthetically, the astrolabe was regarded as a symbol of the universe and as an object of great beauty. Astrolabe seeks to interpret the mystical and scientific properties of the device and to consider the implications of time and positioning in musical space. Over the course of the work, several disparate musical elements are combined in new ways, each time with shifts in texture and mood, in much the same way as the moving components of the astrolabe are manipulated to solve for solutions to astronomical problems. The mystical and supernatural properties of the astrolabe, which date back to its early history as an instrument of astrology and divination, are reflected in musical passages incorporating the players’ voices. The text is compiled out of three public domain sources: star names from constellations of the zodiac, excerpts from Geoffrey Chaucer’s Treatise on the Astrolabe, and Walt Whitman’s poem “Kosmos.” Untrained voices and text are employed to convey the dramatic intensity of the symbolic forces represented by the astrolabe, and to further the expressive potential of the musical textures in which they interact.