“The Bird Mansion” was the nickname for my apartment in Tiverton, Rhode Island; a pondside dance hall that was cut up and renovated in the 1970’s. It got its name from the alarmingly large amount of birds always singing throughout the surrounding woods. The apartment was a fantastic creative space, and it felt like you could create a new universe in there.
When it came time to start my master’s studies in New York, I knew I would miss the apartment’s quirks, creaks, and silences that underscored my interactions with my students, ensembles, and my writing. I wanted to preserve it in something that would keep, like a composition.
I recorded early morning and mid-afternoon from the front porch, my morning coffee ritual, the hum of appliances, and the key thuds of my Yamaha YPG-535. The retrograde of compositions I wrote for my students, warped samples of ensembles I sing in, and even my playing through this very piece are embedded in the track. This piece is a celebration of the chorale, a celebration of process, and of the chance surroundings of spaces we inhabit, that inevitably drift from our immediate memory as time passes.
Bird Mansion (for String Quartet and Electronics)
About the Artists
MICHAEL GENESE (he/they) is a composer, educator, tenor, and multi-instrumentalist.
With work converging in social justice, principles of sound, and contextual human experience, Genese’s work asks how the artistic, sonic, and educational mediums can best reveal new understandings of the self, and how the presence of intersectionality in our thinking can be fostered through our interactions with music.
Based in New York City, they are currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Composition at The New School, studying with Timo Andres. Genese’s compositional work takes great interest in the aleatory elements of a composer’s embodied space, how these elements affect compositional choices and improvisations, and how a composer may authentically recreate such atmospheres, utilizing the presence of several sonic atmospheres at once through mediums of evocative thought, electronics, and multimedia.
Genese performs as a pianist, violinist, and a tenor at several churches in the New York City area. He is a member and creative partner of Boston choral ensemble et al, co-producer on The Choral Commons podcast, and founding member / head of communications for the internationally acclaimed social justice choir, VOICES 21C.
Holding degrees in Music Education and Vocal Performance, Genese’s broad-reaching work as an educator explores which individual actions and artistic initiatives can most effectively uplift persons victim to historical and canonic erasure, in a time where reversion to circumstances existing before such erasure are no longer attainable. Genese aims to push the notion that the arts and humanities are entirely willing and able to affect the state of our consciousness and our individual ignorance, as both the art-makers and the listeners. To view more of his work click below.