Matt LaRocca is creative projects chair of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra and a lecturer in the Department of Music. In May, he teamed up with composer Kyle Saulnier and producer Christopher Hawthorn to form the Vermont Quarantine Collective. In their May 13th Soundbites, Seven Days spoke with LaRocca about the group's debut piece, "'here behind the glass,' an abstract piece of music cocreated by scads of local musicians."
Via email, LaRocca explained that the piece came together after contacting artists from all over the state's music community. Each was tasked with sending in 20 to 30 seconds of recorded sound that encapsulated the artists' quarantine experience. Additionally, those who play pitched instruments were given a set of instructions detailing more sounds to record that correspond to a set of specific melodic and harmonic parameters. Similarly, percussionists were asked to send along beats within a particular framework.
After receiving the "ingredients," Saunier layered them together, resulting in an experimental stew of sounds. The composition flirts with progressive rock, jazz and new-age styles as it progresses through several distinct movements.
Stream "here behind the glass" on SoundCloud. Expect more from the VT Quarantine Collective soon.
The August 26th edition of Soundbites details the collective's next project: "a new video collaboration with indie-pop singer-songwriter Francesca Blanchard." The Collective's website describes this latest work:
This collaboration with Francesca Blanchard gives the Vermont-based singer-songwriter’s ‘Make It Better’ a sweeping orchestral arrangement from Matt LaRocca, with contributing instrumentalists from around the state and backing vocals sourced from Francesca’s local and global fan base - a border-crossing project of enormous proportions.
Do you see some familiar faces in the video? We spotted alums Margaret Roddy '11 (clarinet) and Mei Endo '16 (trombone), Affiliate Artist Jane Kittredge (violin), and of course Matt LaRocca on viola.