Berko’s November Update! – LOCC Blog

By Alex Berko
November 16, 2023

It is somehow November already! Wild how quickly things have gone and how I’ve settled into a routine with writing, researching for upcoming projects, and taking walks in Cherokee Park and Olmstead Conservancy with my wife and dog.

As we roll into the holidays, we’re nearing closer to the due date for an upcoming piece I am writing for the orchestra’s tour in February. Lately, when I’ve started a new project, I’ll make a playlist on Spotify to build a sort of “sonic landscape” that inspires me. My favorite part of this process is discovering and collecting new sounds and artists. It also turns out that the playlists rarely contain pieces with the same instrumentation as the ensemble for which I’m writing. (For example, if I’m writing a string quartet, I might collect folk or pop songs.) It’s a fun challenge for me to find the pulse in other styles of music that I love and figure out how to integrate them into my instrumental writing.

I’m still discovering what this exact tour piece will be, but I can tell you that folk music is very much at the forefront of my mind: I was very inspired by Chris Thile’s performance, and my playlist so far has some Punch Brothers and Nickel Creek in it. I’m also jamming to Pete Seeger, Aubrie Haynie, Sufjan Stevens, and Béla Fleck.

Here’s a link to the playlist if you want to check it out!

I also sent Gabe Lefkowitz a message letting him know that I was interested in learning more about fiddle playing and him and I are meeting this week to go over some of those tropes. I’m planning on recording him, putting that recording into Logic (the software I use to compose) and building some ideas from there. I love this collaborative way of working and I’m very grateful that I can be so close to the orchestra so that this type of writing can happen!

More soon,