Andy was kind enough to answer a few questions for the SoundAdvice blog.
|Composer and steel drum player Andy Akiho|
American Composers Orchestra: For your commission, you have revised and expanded Tarnish Mirrors for its premiere at ACO: New York Stories. Can you tell us a little bit about how the piece has changed since its original reading?
Andy Akiho: I expanded the piece into two continuous movements. A lot of the music from the original first movement is the same, but the orchestration has changed. Now there is a very prominent celesta part in conversation with the harp and percussion throughout the work, and the steel pan has been taken out of the original percussion part.
ACO: You are an accomplished steel drum player as well as a composer, and have written many pieces for the instrument. Have you found that this has influenced your approach to writing for orchestra at all? If so in what ways?
AA: The steel pan is my piano for composing. I often come up with my melodic and harmonic ideas using the steel pan because it is the instrument I know best (I cannot play the piano). However, recently I have written away from the instrument more frequently to challenge myself and bring more variety to my compositions.
ACO: Aside from New York Stories of course, which SONiC Festival concert are you most looking forward to?
AA: Unfortunately, I am missing the shows starting on the 17th because I am flying to Beijing that day. If I were in town, I would definitely catch all of the SONiC concerts because they are all so diverse, and I would like to hear what many of my friends are performing and composing. I will be in town for the opening night on the 15th, and I'll be sure to catch the Music from the Copland House show: I am looking forward to hearing new chamber pieces by Reena, Steve, Viet, Michael, and Gity. I am also excited that the SONiC Festival is presenting shows at National Sawdust!