Devonté Hynes:
Selected Classical Works

Part of Music at BAM Curated by Hanif Abdurraqib

DATE: Apr 2, 2022
LOCATION: BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
RUN TIME: 85min with intermission
Perfectly Voiceless (11 minutes)
Written by Devonté Hynes
Performed By Third Coast Percussion

Suite from For All Its Fury (24 minutes)
• Reach
• Coil
• Curl
• Cradle
• Press
• Fields
Written by Devonté Hynes
Performed By Third Coast Percussion

Intermission (15 minutes)

The Long Ride II (6 minutes)
Written by Devonté Hynes
Performed by Devonté Hynes & Adam Tendler

Passing (6 minutes)
Written and performed by Devonté Hynes

Happenings (20 minutes)
Written by Devonté Hynes
Performed by Adam Tendler & The String Orchestra Of Brooklyn

Artist's Notes
Perfectly Voiceless &
Suite from For All Its Fury

In 2018, Dev Hynes composed the music for an entire evening-length program featuring Third Coast Percussion and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, with new choreography created by Emma Portner, Jon Boogz, and Lil Buck, which premiered in Chicago that fall. To create these works, Hynes composed music with synthesized and sampled sounds, which he then sent to Third Coast Percussion. TCP experimented with instruments to create a live performance version of the music, which they then recorded and sent back to Hynes for feedback, then eventually to the choreographers to create the dance.

Tonight’s program features a concert suite of some this collaboratively created music. Perfectly Voiceless was composed as a musical interlude with no dance, and the 40-minute work titled For All Its Fury was choreographed by Emma Portner and Teddy Forance. Tonight’s show features a suite of music from that larger work.

These works reflect aesthetics of some of the stalwarts of the short (by classical music standards) history of concert music for percussion: driving marimbas and vibraphones create walls of sound evocative of Steve Reich, lyrical melodies of shimmering timbres hearken back to Lou Harrison. But moments of playful dance grooves and the warm, enveloping synthesizer sounds that bind this music together are undeniably the world of Dev Hynes.

In addition to touring with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Third Coast Percussion continued to tour music from this collection in its concert programs over the four years since its premiere, and the music has been adopted by the larger percussion community. Perfectly Voiceless in particular has now become a standard of the percussion ensemble repertoire, having been performed by professional and university ensembles across the country, including the percussion section of the Minnesota Orchestra, and percussion ensembles at Northwestern University, San Francisco Conservatory, Vanderbilt University, and Eastman School of Music.

Third Coast Percussion’s album “Fields,” which includes all of the music composed by Hynes as part of the project with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, was released on Cedille Records in October 2019. The album was nominated for two Grammy Awards for “Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance” and “Best Engineered Album, Classical.”

These works were commissioned by the Charles and Joan Gross Family Foundation. The project was supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Third Coast Percussion New Works Fund, and the Elizabeth F Cheney Foundation.

—Third Coast Percussion

The Long Ride II
“This piece was the first I wrote for the Luca Guadagnino HBO Series “We Are Who We Are”. Initially for a scene where the character Fraser rides his bike outside of Bologna, Italy through a village, ending up at a local bar, where he then proceeds to day drink way beyond his limit. I related to the idea of riding your bike in order to think clearly, so the repetitive refrain with flourishes over the top somewhat signifies that for me.

In my mind initially I saw it as maybe a three person piano piece, but Adam Tendler is so immensely talented that he can embody two people (and more). Slightly rearranged for this program, I love this two piano rendition that we have now come to.

—Devonté Hynes

Happenings for Piano & String Orchestra
My first piano concerto was a commission to be performed at Little Island last year by Adam Tendler and the String Orchestra of Brooklyn. Upon completion I was unsure really what it was about, but actually at the premiere of the piece, I realized I had inadvertently written a piece describing a two year period. Filled with beautiful moments in my life that I will hold forever, moments of confusion, self doubt, pain and all those feelings I’m sure everyone has felt in some way within the last couple of years. Influences abound in this one, if you want to know more about that please feel free to ask me!

—Devonté Hynes

The score for Rebecca Hall’s beautifully haunting film “Passing” is actually more of an “inspired by”. Something I’ve always dreamt of doing since a child. I spent a day creating ideas and melodies that floated through my head in responding to the completed film, and made an album out of that. This piece I will perform tonight is the main theme from that album.

—Devonté Hynes