Baljinder Sekhon, Composer

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Conversion - Violin + Electronics (2006)

Performance History


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This recording is from the premiere performance by Patrick Ryan on May 6, 2006 at the Eastman School of Music.


November 2008
Olivia De Prato, Violin
The Stone (NY, NY)
May 18, 2007
Sara Ballance, Violin
Recital, Christ Church (Rochester)

March 2007
Ashley Liberty, Violin
f(x) Marathon Concert: Miami, Florida

July 2006
Olivia De Prato, Violin
Mass MoCA
Bang On a Can, Composers Forum

May 2006 (premiere)
Patrick Ryan, Violin
Eastman School of Music
ECMC Concert
1. CD Playback

2. Laptop Triggered by Performer


Program Notes:

The following is an excerpt from "Conversion" from The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James.To be converted, to be regenerated, to receive grace, to experience religion, to gain an assurance, are so many phrases which denote the process, gradual or sudden, by which a self hitherto divided, and consciously right superior and happy, in consequence of its firmer hold upon religious realities. This at least is what conversion signifies in general terms, whether or not we believe that a direct divine operation is needed to bring such a moral change about.

...Our ordinary alterations of character, as we pass from one of our aims to another, are not commonly called transformations, because each of them is so rapidly succeeded by another in the reverse direction; but whenever one aim grows so stable as to expel definitively its previous rivals from the individuals's life, we tend to speak of this phenomenon, and perhaps to wonder at it, as a "transformation."

-William James

is a piece which mimics the psychological process described by William James in his essay "Conversion". My view of the idea expressed in this writing is not specifically from a religious standpoint, rather it is about a more general "alteration of character." The "aim" of this piece is a nine-note melody which is gradually recognized by the violin music as a prominent aspect of it’s character. At first this theme is embedded in clusters of sixteenth notes and over the course of the piece it slowly emerges. This theme which once lived inconspicuously among a series of equal pitches is ultimately recognized as the central interest in the music and leaves any other potential themes in the background (electronics). The electronics in the piece serve as an "attic" in which anything that is not the theme is slowly stored until the violinist is left to only play the nine pitches. This process is constantly taking place in everyone’s lives as hobbies turn into careers and friends turn into lovers. I use to skateboard, play video games and play drums. Now, I don’t own a skateboard, computer music has replaced my video games and I’m a composer. What previously minor aspect(s) of your life have pushed aside other interests and became the main priority? Have several interests become one? Where are those other interests now?

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