Like many websites, this one is continually under construction. Please enjoy its current version.
I divide my musical time between performing as a violinist, composing music, and teaching a few students at Mills College. Now living in San Francisco, I play regularly with the San Francisco Symphony, play contemporary chamber music and am involved in creative collaborations, like making music for dance with my husband, Greg Habiby. I also create wearable art and make photo books, which you can read about here: www.gloriajustenstudio.com.
Coming from a classical music background, I deeply appreciate the traditions which have been passed on to me, but I am most excited by the possibilities of music being created right now. Cross-pollination between different genres is producing new hybrids all the time, and anything is possible!
Photos above, L to R: Peggy Gyulai, Greg Habiby, Guru Khalsa, Greg Habiby
__Playing Pierre Boulez’s Anthemes II, for solo violin and electronics, in Philadelphia in January. My collaborator was Peter Price, who managed and performed the electronic sounds of the piece.
__Playing regularly this year with the San Francisco Symphony, including going on their American Mavericks tour, which focused on works by eccentric or revolutionary American composers. This November I will be going on their Asian tour. In May I went to China with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
__Setting up my home studio spaces, with much help from Greg, so that there can be better workflow for music composition and for textile work.
__Going to the Burning Man Festival at the end of August.
Early rehearsal Gloria and Peter
Boulez rehearsal fragment Click this for video clip!
Anthemes II is a work composed by Pierre Boulez in the mid-1990′s, for solo violin, electronics, and surround-sound spatialization. It is an interesting and beautiful synthesis of physical instrument and computer capabilities. The violin part is extremely challenging, and in the process of working on it I have developed several new techniques in order to execute various challenges. For example, there are long passages of pizzicato notes jumping around the violin, and I have a new callous on my plucking finger (now named “Pierre.”) There are outbursts of big cluster chords and there are passages of very close double-stops. The score is exhaustively detailed for both the violin and the sound effects.
My collaborator Peter Price is manning the computer part, regarding which he consulted with Boulez’s assistant at IRCAM. The electronic sounds are generated by a computer program which has specific sounds to correspond with specific times in the violin part (about 250 events!) There are various resonance and reverberation effects applied to the amplified violin. There are also pre-recorded samples of violin sounds which are triggered throughout the score. In addition, the sounds “move” around the room in programmed spatial patterns.
Peter and I will be performing the piece this weekend in Philadelphia, presented by Orchestra 2001. (9.28.12: We performed this piece January 28 and 29, 2012.)
Hannah and I recorded some of the duos by Jay Sydeman yesterday in my living room, and we will continue today. My Cascade Fathead II ribbon mics, going through a Summit tube preamp, are a few feet in front of us in a mid-side arrangement, and the Earthworks are further away for a room sound. It’s going well! We played the music for Jay, the composer, last Sunday. What an inspiring person he is. At 83, he looks 63 and is in great health. He attributes it to good food, regular exercise (including a yoga-type routine he does before getting out of bed every day), meditation, and staying away from doctors! His music spans a variety of styles from modernist to neo-baroque. Photo by Greg Habiby.
Living Room Studio
For the recording project with Hannah, mentioned in my previous post, I am bringing out some equipment I’ve had stashed in my home studio… which has been gathering dust for a while. It’s great to make friends again with my microphones and my Pro Tools LE setup. Yesterday we experimented with my Earthworks TC30K mics in the living room, using them at about three feet distance from the violin and cello. They are omnidirectional, but with two you can make a good stereo recording. Their sound is very open, realistic, and a bit too bright for the violin, in my opinion. You hear a lot of the noises of playing, which can be very cool, but for this project I think these mics will be better for capturing room sound from further away. I have used these wonderful mics for making field recordings.
Next time we will try my Cascade Fat Head II-SP Ribbon Microphones, going through my Summit Tube Preaamp. I believe these will produce a much warmer string sound for the recording. These mics were used (in combo with a couple of others) in my recording project of original violin pieces, Four-Stringed Voice: music for solo violin. (Check it out here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/gloriajusten.)
We will also be trying and comparing Hannah’s Yeti USB microphone, made by Blue, going into Garage Band. (Annoyingly, you cannot record directly into Pro Tools with a USB mic.) I am very curious about this versatile mic, which has four different settings available.
Really, the microphones become part of the instruments, an extension of them, as they translate our sound. Sound originates from the metal/nylon strings, wood and horse hair, gets refashioned into analog electrical signals, gets amplified by tubes and circuits, and gets converted into digital information. Every mic has its personality and there are many ways to craft the sound quality. This will be fun and interesting!
One current project is making a recording with cellist Hannah Addario-Berry. We are recording all the duos for violin and cello and for viola and cello by composer Jay Sydeman. This is presently just for archival purposes. We may also schedule performances of this music in San Francisco. Hannah is a dedicated and imaginative musician and a joy to work with!