Bahlest Eeble Readings
bahlest, adj.: excellent; great. (Boontling)
eeble, v.: to scrutinize; to look over thoroughly. Derived from "eyeball." (Boontling)
“Composing is much like inventing a new dish but suppose you're not allowed to taste along the way. You might be familiar with the ingredients – carrots and cumin – but you'd have to guesstimate the proportions and cooking times based on past experiences. Remember – No tasting! Then, that first rehearsal when you finally get to hear everything after months of the music existing only in your head? That’s the moment when you get to taste your new dish but — ah! — alongside the guests who have shown up for dinner. Imagine: Only then would you know if you measured and stirred your sounds just right.”
— Gabriela Lena Frank
Composers accepted into the Bahlest Eeble Readings program, effectively a year-long apprenticeship, are given the opportunity to hear new chamber works still in the early phases of being written. Private Skype consultations/lessons centered around the creation of this new work begin in January of 2018 and are scheduled through the year. Additionally, Academy fellows are invited to two retreats, one each in the spring and in the fall. During these retreats, esteemed guest faculty performers will be in attendance to work with Academy fellows.
In the spring retreat, held over four days in Boonville, CA, Academy fellows can try out, finesse, and/or discard ideas in a supportive creative laboratory, receiving constructive feedback from me and my faculty performer mentors. Academy fellows then have the luxury of several months to finish their pieces, armed not only with new creative intel, but also with video and audio documentation of their reading session.
In the fall, we are reunited once again (three working days) to put on a public concert on the Bueno Yabbelow Music Series featuring the finished works. (It is also possible for a composer to simply present a series of polished ideas that will be put to use in future pieces. The Academy wants to provide whatever creative experience is of most use to the fellows.) These concerts (with commentary from the musicians to the audience) are frequently broadcast on the local radio, and will be recorded in audio and video for the composers, and disseminated through the Academy's website. Composers will receive an audio and video of their work that they can use for non-commercial purposes.
While in residence during the retreats, composers will have the opportunity to share their pre-existing music with one another, participate in at least one outreach event in the local community, and attend master classes conducted by me and my faculty performers on topics ranging from core literature to the creative habit to strategizing a self-determined artistic life. There will also be free time for composers to explore the beauties of the Anderson Valley either in organized excursions or on their own. Meals cooked together will be time to further bond and forge friendships.
In the belief that composers should receive abundant personal attention and time from the faculty, no more than six composers will be accepted into each cycle.