I’m writing a song cycle.

I say this out loud from time to time, and it still sounds a little strange to me.  I suddenly see this image of myself as a 19th century German composer in an oil painting, like Schubert or Schumann.  And I certainly appreciate their music, but more often find myself listening to Radiohead or Sufjan Stevens (whose albums actually could be considered modern song cycles).

I’m writing a song cycle/multimedia piece for the theatre, and its title is We Outran the Sun.  It is a series of portraits of the people in my life, meant to capture the essence of who they are as well as their relationship to me.  Of everything I’ve written, its probably the most personal.  The project will include projections of interviews with the actual people in the portraits (as well as more abstract images during the songs themselves), designed and filmed by Michael Heck.  In performance, it will be me at a piano with my laptop, and nearby a canvas upon which these images will be projected.  We have a lot of work to do.

This blog is a documentation of the creation of this piece.  I will be posting still images and video clips of the interviews, lyrics and information about the songs, demo recordings and mp3s, as well as profiles of the people in the portraits.  I’ll be premiering the song cycle this summer at Studio Tisch in New York City.  I’d love for you to follow along, and you can do that by clicking the tab that says “Sign me up!” on the left.  Whether you are in one of the portraits or whether you’ve simply stumbled across this page, welcome.

We’re at the beginning.  And as Sufjan might say, we are “all things go.”

photo © 2010 Michael Heck