The initial idea for Regions of Memory came from my own current nostalgia for classical console video games, cheesy 1980’s horror films, and my own experience as a high school trumpet player. The 8-bit music used in such Nintendo Entertainment System games as “Castlevania,” “Megaman,” and “Duck Tales” provided a significant source of early inspiration to me as a young musician and gamer. Likewise, the synthesized scores written by John Carpenter for such movies as “Halloween,” “The Fog,” “Halloween III: Season of the Witch,” and “Escape from New York,” along with the myriad copycat scores that popped up in his wake, have exerted a subliminal force on my own preferences in synthesized music. Couple these two influences – 8-bit and analog Synth sounds – with more modern sounds such as glitchy drums and heavier beats, and you have the basic ingredients for the fixed media portion of the piece.
The trumpet part is more aspirational than biographical, and represents more of what I wish I had been able to do as a high school trumpeter - rather than what I could do. Overall, the piece is an attempt to marry the sounds I found so interesting during my youth, with the sounds of today in a piece that taps into my own memories.
Regions of Memory was commissioned by Alex Caselman and premiered by him on February 7th, 2017 in Kansas City, MO.
Kansas City based composer Ben Stevenson's music has been heard across the United States. His music has been performed at SCI conferences and festivals such as the 2015 Charlotte New Music Festival and 2015 Electronic Music Midwest Festival, and the 2017 June in Buffalo and SPLICE festivals. His sax quartet “…fragments of a narrative…” was chosen as a runner up in the Donald Sinta Quartet’s 2016 National Composition Competition. He has been commissioned by FuseBox New Music, Charlotte New Music Festival, SPLICE, the Missouri Music Teachers Association, trumpeter Alex Caselman and clarinetist/conductor Luis Viquez. His orchestral work Tracer was read by the Kansas City Symphony in 2016 and he has had readings or performances by the PRISM sax quartet and Beo String Quartet.
He is currently pursuing his DMA in Composition at the University of Missouri-Kansas City where he also serves as the Assistant Director of the Musica Nova Ensemble. He earned his Master's degree at UMKC as well, studying with Zhou Long, Chen Yi, James Mobberley, and Reynold Simpson. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Music Theory and Composition from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville where he studied with Ken Jacobs.
Performer Biographical Sketch
Originally from Kansas City, Alex Caselman has been a musician for longer than he can remember. He comes from a very musical family. His mother is a clarinetist and his father plays french horn. At a young age his parents had him match pitch at the piano and buzz on a mouthpiece, and he began taking piano lessons at the age of 10. Shortly after, Mr. Caselman picked up the trumpet to play in band, and hasn’t wanted to do anything else since. He was successful in High School, performing well at state festivals, and decided to go into music as a career in his junior year with the help of his private teacher. In 2006 he toured the U.S. with the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps, a 38-time DCI world championship finalist. Mr. Caselman is a versatile musician with most of his experience in classical and jazz playing. He has performed with groups such as the Knoxville Symphony, Lee’s Summit Symphony, the Marshall Philharmonic, the McGuire Street Brass Quintet, the Flatirons Brass Quintet, and the Volker Brass Quintet. Mr. Caselman is also an active soloist, performing regular recitals and entering competitions. In 2009 he was the winner of the University of Central Missouri Concerto Competition. Mr. Caselman was also a semi-finalist in the trumpet ensemble division of the National Trumpet Competition with the University of Tennessee Trumpet Ensemble.
In addition to his performance schedule, Mr. Caselman is also a dedicated educator. He has been a private studio teacher since 2005, and has a special talent for working with athletic bands. Throughout his undergraduate years, he served as a brass technician for many local high schools, and even wrote the drill for some of them. From 2011 to 2013 he was on staff with the University of Tennessee “Pride of the Southland” marching and pep bands, where he also helped with drill design.
Alex Caselman recently finished his DMA in Trumpet Performance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He holds a Bachelors of Music Education from the University of Central Missouri and a Masters of Music in Trumpet Performance from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. His primary instructors include Philip Clark, Alan Wenger, Cathy Leach, Terry Sawchuk, Justin Bartels, and Keith Benjamin.
Outside of music, Alex enjoys running, playing golf, brewing his own beer, spending time with his wife, Valerie, and playing with his two dogs Moose and Posey.