Gates (Kedesh Naphtali)

Program Notes
Completed in 2013, Gates (Kedesh-Naphtali) is an eight-channel composition that was partly inspired the Pleiades constellation. A musical mapping of an image of the constellation occurs in the middle and at the conclusion of the composition. One can hear this depiction in the “wood block” timbres. This representation of Pleiades relates to a passage from Ignatius Loyola’s autobiography, St. Ignatius’ Own Story as Told to Luiz Gonzalez de Camara (1555).

It was his [Ignatius’] greatest consolation to gaze upon the heavens and stars, which he often did, and for long stretches at a time, because when doing so he felt within himself a powerful urge to be serving our Lord.

(From A Commentary on Saint Ignatius’ Rules for the Discernment Of Spirits, Jules J. Toner, 1979.)

The composition begins with a complimentary relationship between periodic timbres and non- periodic timbres; the sustained sonorities are engraved with a variety of successive fleeting noises. The idea to etch sustained sonorities with a variety of successive ephemeral noises was partly inspired by Luigi Russolo’s use of the term “sound” to describe an audio signal with periodicity and “noise” as the lack thereof. Although some of the “noises” in this composition may not be entirely in accordance with his definition, the contrast between the two ideas is apparent. In addition to this relationship, the composition generally balances active and static components between the first and second half. Finally, this work is meant to express the redemption of individuality through the sacrifice of egoism.

Biographical Sketch
John Nichols III’s compositions have been selected for performance at numerous conferences and festivals such as the Music Since 1900 Conference (Liverpool, UK), New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, Slingshot 2013 (Athens, GA), Society for Electroacoustic Music in the United States, Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium, International Computer Music Conference (Ljubljana, Slovenia), International Workshop on Computer Music and Audio Technology, where he was a winner of the WOCMAT 2012 International Electroacoustic Music Young Composers Awards (Taipei, Taiwan). His string quartet won the Union League Civic & Arts Foundation Composition Contest in 2004 and the La Rock Composition Contest in 2005. His compositions Trio for Flute, Oboe and Piano, and Shadows of Love (song) also won a Union Civic League Award from Chicago. His 33 minute, multi-movement electroacoustic composition was a finalist in the 2011 Morton Gould ASCAP Young Composer Competition. He was awarded a Special Mention and was selected for inclusion on the Métamorphoses 2012 CD (Brussels, Belgium), and was selected for inclusion in the SEAMUS 2012 Electro-miniatures “Re-Caged” CD and Electronic Masters Vol.2 CD (ABLAZE Records). Mr. Nichols currently attends the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he recently won the Fourteenth Annual 21st Century Piano Commission Competition.