Humans are social animals. Our need for one another is present in every element of our lives. Moreover,
we tend to sort ourselves into hierarchies much like other social animals do, with one person having more
or less control over the attitude and actions of another. Alpha is an experiment in how this kind of power
dynamic can be magnified and explored through music.
The guitar is amplified and several audio effects are applied to it. The parameters of those effects are
controlled by the motion of the flute, which is tracked by the computer.
For the first half of the work, the flute player is instructed to control these effects in ways that work
against the goals of the guitar, who is helpless. In the second half, the pitch played by the guitar changes
how much control the flute player is given, allowing the guitar player to fight back by working against
the flute. In the final section, the two players are instructed to work together towards a common goal.
Alpha was commissioned by the Keith/Larson Duo.
A fierce experimentalist, Stephen Bailey is a Colorado-based composer, instrument maker, arranger,
producer and sound engineer. Stephen’s compositional output embodies a language which is deeply
expressive and highly textural. This definitively contemporary language borrows techniques from
composers of minimalism, sound mass, new simplicity, and post-serialism, integrating them and
exploring their capabilities as tools for the expression of the realities of the human condition on the
canvases of electronic, chamber, choral, and orchestral music. The result can be both ecstatically
serene and forcefully chaotic, both sumptuously beautiful and disturbingly ugly. Common topics for
Stephen’s music include night, death, sleep, science, nature, and the struggle of human beings to relate
to the world around them.
Stephen’s music has been featured twice on the Playground Ensemble’s annual Colorado Composer’s
Concert, as well as their 2013 New Creations concert. Stephen was also one of three composers to have
their music performed at The Classical Salon at Dazzle Nightclub. His devotion to modern music has
garnered him commissions from the Metropolitan State University of Denver Men’s Choir, Our Lady
of Fatima Catholic Church and a number of Denver-area musicians and chamber groups. He has studied
composition with composers such as Conrad Kehn, Leanna Kirchoff, Fred Hess, Cherise Leiter,
Abbie Betinis, Brian Johanson, Chris Malloy, and Bill Hill. He holds a Masters of Music in
composition from the University of Denver, a Bachelor of Music degree and an Associate of Arts
degree in music composition from Metropolitan StateUniversity of Denver and Arapahoe Community
Performer Biographical Sketch
The Keith/Larson Duo, consisting of flutist Leanna Keith and
guitarist Zachary Larson, aims to explore and expand the horizons
of the flute and guitar world through the commission and
performance of new works. The Duo formed in 2012 while
studying modern music at the University of Nebraska Omaha.
They have since recorded their first album, performed on tour and
in music festivals across the United States and Canada.
Strongly committed to the expansion of the flute and guitar
repertoire, the Keith/Larson Duo has forged strong relationships
with composers of their generation. These relationships resulted in
new works that push the boundaries of the repertoire for a program
entitled New Music-New Horizons. The music on this program
incorporates acting, improvisation, extended techniques, and
motion-detection for a totally unique take on classical music.
Leanna and Zachary hold Bachelor of Music degrees from the
University of Nebraska Omaha. They earned Master of Music
degrees from the University of Washington and University of
Denver, respectively. www.keithlarsonduo.com