Sam Wells’ The Cottonwood Florilegium Premieres at CalArts This Weekend

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On Saturday, March 12, trumpeter, composer, technologist, and doctor of musical arts (DMA) candidate Sam Wells performs the world premiere of The Cottonwood Florilegium for his DMA 3 Recital. Premiering at the Roy O. Disney Music Hall at CalArts, the 63-minute musical piece is composed of 12 movements organized in five parts played without pause.

“The Cottonwood Florilegium explores cyclical notions of time and creation myths as a way to grapple with senses of self and the seeming divides between the human, the terrestrial, and the cosmic,” Wells said.

For The Cottonwood Florilegium, Wells collaborates with current CalArts students, faculty, and visiting artists. The performance features Dana Jessen on bassoon, CalArts music faculty Vicki Ray on piano, and the SPLICE Ensemble (Keith Kirchoff on piano, Adam Vidiksis on drums, and Wells on trumpet). Wells worked  with current Theater MFA CalArts students Alejandro Melendez and Stephanie Lutz as lighting consultants and Joshua Sobel as a conceptual consultant to create the custom lighting design and theatrical staging. 

The SPLICE Ensemble  focuses on advancing technology-mediated music performance and connecting communities of artists through performances and educational programming. Along with SPLICE, Wells is also a part of the Contemporaneous, Metropolis Ensemble, TILT Brass, the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra, and the Colorado MahlerFest Orchestra. He’s also released work on the SEAMUS and Ravello Recordings labels.

A recipient of the Jerome Fund for New Music Award, Wells has performed across three continents. Some of his performance credits include Bang on a Can Summer Festival, Chosen Vale International Trumpet Seminar, Electronic Music Midwest, Electroacoustic Barn Dance, NYCEMF, N_SEME, SEAMUS festivals, Kansas City Electronic Music, Arts Alliance (KcEMA), and Fulcrum Point Discoveries. He also teaches at California Institute of the Arts, Molloy College, SPLICE Institute, and Temple University.

“I’m really excited to present this massive show at CalArts for the final show of my DMA,” Wells said. “It is even more exciting to share this music after such an absence of live music during the pandemic, and to be joined by so many close friends on stage.”

The Cottonwood Florilegium is open to all and will be performed in-person at 5 pm, also streamed live on YouTube. Vaccination proof is required for in-person attendees.

—by Ishiha Muchhal

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