Checking in with Cody Forrest – Part 3

Part 3 of our series. See what Cody has been doing over the past few months.

Did you have to do any kind of research to help write this piece?

Cody: Yes, this piece is two “firsts” for me: my first double concerto and my first piece for guitar. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at materials on writing for guitar as well as studying pieces that have been described as written idiomatically for the instrument (Britten’s Nocturnal, and transcriptions of Bach’s Lute Suites, for example).

Cody’s favorite variation (var. VI Dreaming) from Britten’s Nocturnal.

I’ve also been looking at double concertos, trying to get a sense of how composers have handled the interaction of the soloists with each other, and the interaction between the soloists and the ensemble. So far, my favorite double concerto that I’ve looked at is Ligeti’s Double Concerto for Flute and Oboe. It is far from the aesthetic that I compose in, but it is a beautifully meditative and colorful work and I love the way that Ligeti creates “teams” with the soloists and their respective sections (in other words, the flute is often accompanied by the orchestral flute section in some kind of counterpoint or chorale-like texture, same for the oboe and oboe section, so that the soloists appear amplified and stretched into something like a mega-flute and mega-oboe).

Ligeti’s Double Concerto for Flute and Oboe
I’ve also been listening to recordings of the Cochran-Wrenn duo to get a sense of their ensemble sound and musical personalities.


Listen to Bryan’s teacher, Eliot Fisk, perform Britten’s Nocturnal:

Hear the 1st movement from Ligeti’s Double Concerto for Flute, Oboe and Orchestra:

Checking In with Cody Forrest – Part 2

Part 2 of our series. See what Cody has been doing over the past few months.

What other projects have you been working on?
Cody: After finishing my string quartet (see part 1), I worked on editing another chamber work of mine, Dona nobis pacem. I’ve been rather unhappy with it since its premiere in January, so it’s been a relief to work on it and sculpt it into something that I am much more happy with.

I am also a music copyist, meaning I take other composers’ manuscript scores and “engrave” them using music notation software. I’ve worked with several NEC faculty members over the last few months copying their handwritten scores into computer-notated versions.

What does a typical work day look like for you?
I wish I had a typical work day! My schedule is fairly chaotic, each day is different. In addition to composing, I have several jobs—archives assistant at the NEC Library, music copyist, assistant for the NEC Department of Music History and Musicology—and I fit composing in wherever and whenever I can.


Where do you usually compose?
Because of the chaos described above, I usually compose wherever I can find a quiet space—although I do occasionally compose in noisy coffee shops (sometimes din has the same effect on me as complete quiet). That said, there are a few places where I usually do not compose: the library and at home. I usually work on engraving projects at home, so there’s something of a mental issue with getting into my “composer brain” there. Same issue with the library, since that is my place of “work,” it is difficult to get in the right headspace needed to compose. Of course, there are always exceptions (especially in a time-crunch!), so in reality, no space is totally off-limits.

Do you compose at the piano, computer, on paper …?
Cody: All of the above! I usually start on paper at the piano while I’m generating ideas and material, and then head to the computer once I have a better sense of what I’m doing with the piece.


Checking in with Cody Forrest – Part 1

InConcert Composer, Cody Forrest, updates us on what he’s been doing over the past few months.

What have you been doing since our last school visit?
Over the summer I was a composition fellow at the Seal Bay Festival in Vinalhaven, ME, where my string quartet Invocation was premiered by the Cassatt String Quartet. Also, I am on staff at the NEC Library and have been kept very busy with moving in to our new building.

About Invocation:
“Invocation is a ritualistic summoning of a melody. The opening ceremonial theme is the conjurer, intent on bringing forth this new melody. However, the initial conjuring is thwarted by a sudden thrust into unpredictable, fragmented music. What follows is fraught with turbulent twists and turns, threaded in and around the opening material in various guises.

These streams of motivic fragments, thematic transformations, and triadic ostinati lead to a climactic restatement of the opening summons, igniting a state of crisis and bringing the piece to the edge of collapse. But the summoned theme finally and gracefully emerges from the maelstrom—a simple, luminous aria.” (Program note from the composer.)


About Bonnie Cochran, Flute


Bonnie Cochran, flute – Photo by Emily Ashman

Bonnie Cochran, Flutist, Educator and Composer – has performed concerts in Washington D.C., Nashville, San Diego, Atlanta and throughout New England. She has a passion for chamber music and connecting with audiences and performs with the Cochran Wrenn Duo, Amaryllis Chamber Ensemble, Chamber Music MetroWest and formerly with Willow Flute Ensemble.  She has been organizing and designing performances with these groups for the past 15 years. Bonnie can be heard on the PBS American Experience episode Edison, the Willow Flute Ensemble CD, and appeared in the HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge. In 2013, Bonnie started a successful chamber music concert series for kids that takes place twice a year in Westborough, MA. She holds a MM in Flute Performance from The Boston Conservatory and BA’s in Music and Religious Studies from Agnes Scott College.

To learn more, visit Bonnie’s website.




About Bryan Wrenn, Guitarist

Bryan Wrenn, Guitar – Photo by Emily Ashman

Bryan Wrenn, Guitarist, Educator and Arranger – performs frequently as a soloist and as an ensemble guitarist for orchestra, musical theater, light opera, and jazz ensembles. He has been featured as a live performer on WRIU’s “Divertimento” classical music program, and was a featured soloist with Symphony Pro Musica, performing Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez for guitar and orchestra. He was described by artistic director Mark Churchill as a “fearless player, who brings his own personal voice to this familiar concerto.” Bryan began learning the guitar at the age of eleven, playing the electric guitar and rock/heavy metal. He later studied jazz theory and improvisation with guitarists Steve Trombley and Joe D’Angelo, and studied classical guitar with award-winning guitarist Peter Clemente. Bryan received a master’s degree in guitar performance from the New England Conservatory in Boston, where he studied with world-renowned guitar virtuoso Eliot Fisk.

Visit Bryan’s website to learn more.