Preben Antonsen has enjoyed writing music since he was a small child. Molly Axtmann began teaching him piano when he was 6; a composer herself, she taught him music theory through his own compositions. He later studied piano with James Chip Brimhall and Sharon Mann, and he studied composition with John Adams from 2001 to 2009. He became interested in percussion and worked with Victor Avdienko during eighth grade and now plays piano and percussion in the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. The ensemble premiered his first orchestral work in March 2009. During the summers of 2003, 2004 and 2005 he attended the Perlman Music Program in Shelter Island, New York, a choral, strings, piano and chamber music program. He is a 2005 BMI Student Composer Award winner. ASCAP recognized five of his compositions with Morton Gould Young Composer Awards in 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2009. NPR’s From the Top featured Preben as a young composer in 2008.
Notes from the Composer
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
An Ordinary Evening
Performed by Maia Cabeza, Anna Wuttig, Charlotte Steiner, and Tessa Seymour.
I wrote An Ordinary Evening at the Yellowbarn Young Artists Program during the summer of 2009. My goal for the piece was to create music that was driven by textures and timbres rather than harmonies or even rhythms. I tried to bring this about by simplifying my harmonies and rhythms to an almost embarrassing degree. A device I employed throughout was a short but powerful swell, iterated repeatedly. This was inspired by the so-called sidechaining effect that gives the sensation of centrifugal pumping to French house music (Daft Punk, Justice, Danger, and others), which I had been listening to at the time of writing.
I want to thank Steve Coxe, my teacher at the program, for his support, as well as my performers—Maia, Anna, Charlotte, and Tessa—without whom this piece would never have been heard.