What happens when three composers combine forces to help other emerging Kansas City composers? Initiated in 2015 by Scott Steele,Ted King-Smith and Zane Winter, FuseBox New Music "champions new music by providing composers with commissions, performances, recordings, and collaborative opportunities, all with a special emphasis on emerging local composers." FuseBox New Music seeks to raise awareness of the incredible amount of talent and original music being created in the Kansas City area by offering innovative concert experiences and forging new community partnerships. Scott, Ted and Zane were kind enough to shed more light on this exciting project. Read on.
What’s FuseBox all about? How did you three come to collaborate on this project?
It started with Zane Winter inviting Ted King-Smith and me to help organize a few new music concerts around town. FuseBox as it is today evolved through weekly coffee meetings at two local shops (Pirate’s Bone Coffee & Crows). Overtime, the scope of what we were hoping to accomplish expanded and our overall mission became clearer:
We are new music advocates.
We want to create projects for composers and musicians in which everyone benefits. Too many composers’ opportunities exploit emerging composers. FuseBox aims to provide its participants with fair pay for their work and tools to advance their careers such as quality recordings. We’d rather teach others to fish than merely feed them. Since launching in 2015, we have commissioned 5 composers.
Community is also very important to us. We support musicians by paying union wage for our events. We have worked to partner with local organizations, from big names like the Roasterie to fairly new businesses like Torn Label, to share audiences through cross promotion. Again, it is about creating situations in which everybody wins.
Tell us about the upcoming Debussy Project. What is it about Debussy’s work that inspired this idea?
The Debussy Project is a marriage of artistry and practicality. We never merely throw pieces together on a program. The overall experience of each FuseBox event is carefully curated.
We imagined a concert in which an older, multi-movement work is separated out to form the frame for a new, single piece. It would be comprised of the original movements plus newly commissioned ones in between.
Debussy’s attractive color palette, assertive choice of instrumentation, and the widespread awareness of his work made the Sonata an obvious choice for this collaboration. Debussy’s influence on contemporary composition is undeniable; The Debussy Project provides composers and listeners an opportunity to dialogue with one of the most revered composers of the 20th century.
You can hear The Debussy Project at 7:30pm on October 1 and 4, 2015 at Prairie Logic in downtown KC, MO.
How did the Harmony Project Commission come about?
The Harmony Project Commission is the direct result of our interest in community and audience building. By connecting the kids in the Harmony Project with a living composer, we are fostering an awareness of contemporary composition. This in turn helps to build tomorrow’s audiences. It is a rare experience for music students to take part in the process of creating a new work so early in their education -- such experiences paint music and composition as a living, breathing art form.
What’s ahead for Fusebox?
FuseBox has many new projects on the horizon, all involving the creation of new works.
Long Dream of the Fisherman’s Son is an opera being composed by FuseBox co-founder Zane Winter to a libretto by Ethan Grant, a Chicago-based writer. Long Dream is an abstract retelling of the English folk balladScarborough Fair, which explores gender roles, disillusionment, and relationships in contemporary society. The process of building the ensemble for Long Dream is at the heart of the project.
FuseBox is actively developing an ensemble which, through blending instruments and sounds from many disparate musical traditions, comments on the ways in which cultures interact in a multicultural society.
We are also working toward a partnership with another organization that works to bring musical fulfillment to children. The project will involve instrument creation and multiple commissions for new music by emerging composers. We are looking forward to announcing more details when the project goes public.