Balloonman was commissioned by and is dedicated to saxophonist Andrew Allen. The work is based on the poem In Just- by E. E. Cummings. The saxophone melody is derived from a recording of Cummings reading the poem. Cummings reads with a lyrical, lilting quality. I transcribed his voice as closely as possible into a pitched melody. The entire transcription is stated in the beginning by the saxophone alone. The electronic part consists of manipulations of the recording as well as motivic development of the transcription. The recording of E. E. Cummings reading the poem is gradually presented in various relationships with the saxophone, and in the end the poem is finally heard in its original form with the saxophone in imitation.
Anne Neikirk is a composer and music educator. She divides her compositional pursuits between acoustic and electroacoustic composition, and is drawn to creative processes that involve interdisciplinary work and collaboration. Undoubtedly influenced by her own liberal arts education, her works are generally inspired from some other area of study, and often focus on telling a story or depicting a non-musical idea. She has worked collaboratively with a poet, a biologist, a painter, and numerous performing artists who have commissioned original works from her. Her performance background in vocal music instilled a particular interest in text setting and the relationship between music and the written word. Some of the accolades that these projects have received include a Presser Music Award (2012), an American Composers Forum Subito Grant (2014), and inclusion on the SCI CD Series (2015). Her work has also been selected for presentation at many regional and national conferences including the Society of Composers Regional and National Conferences, the College Music Society Regional and National Conferences, the North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference, and the American Harp Society National Conference, among others.
Dr. Neikirk received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Composition from Temple University in Philadelphia, preceded by a Master of Music degree in Composition from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Hamilton College. Before attending graduate school, she lived and worked in Argentina for a year, teaching English as a Foreign Language. Upon completing her education, Dr. Neikirk worked as an adjunct faculty member at Temple University and at the University of Delaware. In 2016 she began as an Assistant Professor of Composition/Theory at Norfolk State University in Virginia, where she teaches courses in Composition and Music Theory. She currently serves as the Submissions Coordinator for the Executive Committee of the Society of Composers, Inc. She lives in Norfolk with her husband and their quirky cat, Nadia.
Performer Biographical Sketch
In response to his recent New York solo debut, the Examiner opined that saxophonist Andrew J. Allen had “performed brilliantly,” and he has been praised by the Wichita Falls Times-Record News for his "savory warmth." In demand as a soloist and chamber musician, Allen has performed throughout the United States, Great Britain, and France. Nearly twenty works have been commissioned and premiered by him from such composers as Jesse Jones, Greg Simon, and Jay Batzner and currents projects include new pieces from world-renowned composers Robert Lemay and Francois Rosse. Allen has received accolades as a quarter-finalist of both the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and the International Saxophone Symposium and Competition. As an ensemble musician, he has performed with the Lone Star Wind Orchestra and symphonies in five states, including current service as principal saxophonist of the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra.
Allen is one of the most active researchers of the saxophone today. His articles have appeared in The Saxophone Symposium, The NACWPI Journal, The Instrumentalist, and many others. Allen has lectured throughout the United States and abroad, and has presented clinics at music education conferences throughout the country, including the Texas Music Education Association Convention. Allen is editor of the NACWPI Journal and a staff writer for Saxophone Today, penning the "Repertoire Today" column.
Andrew J. Allen is an assistant professor of music at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. He has previously served on the faculties of Claflin University and Valley City State University, and he holds degrees from Tennessee Technological University, Central Michigan University, and the University of South Carolina. His primary teachers include Phil Barham, John Nichol, and Clifford Leaman, and he has received additional instruction from Joseph Lulloff, Claude Delangle, Vincent David, and Arno Bornkamp. Allen is an Artist-Clinician for Conn-Selmer, Inc. and performs exclusively on Selmer Paris saxophones and mouthpieces.