My name is Rocco Di Pietro. I am a composer based in Columbus, Ohio who creates acoustic, electronic and multi-media concert works. You can read more about my background and work on my website or on wikipedia. Much of my music can be found on my soundcloud page.
Rocco Di Pietro in residency at Standford University
On February 12th, 2013 the world-renown SEM Ensemble will join me to perform a newly conceived version of my "Rajas For John Cage" for narrator and chamber ensemble. Fusing narration, improvisation, and Cageian structures, "Rajas for John Cage" offers a unique window into the later life of John Cage and his music. Petr Kotik, conductor of SEM Ensemble and preeminent interpreter of John Cage's music, will work closely with me to bring this critical perspective of Cage and his music to life.
Petr Kotik and John Cage in 1992 Photograph: Courtesy S.E.M. Ensemble
What We Need & What You Get
The $1,700 budget will help to pay for very basic travel and lodging expenditures for myself and my assistant, Marty Knapp, as well as publicity fees.For your support, I am offering a number of perks related to my work as a composer: CDs, eBooks, and even commissioned works.
This collaboration with Petr Kotik and the SEM Ensemble is a unique opportunity for my work to gain more widespread exposure. I believe that Petr's comprehensive knowledge of Cage's music and life, as well as the exceptional playing of the SEM ensemble, will significantly contribute to the interpretation of my work. Please support this unique opportunity!
About Rajas for John Cage
An excerpt from Larry Marrotta's Introduction to "Rajas For John Cage"
"In Rajas for John Cage, Rocco Di Pietro reflects on what everyone knows to be true about Cage, but using the Zen-like storytelling for which Cage was celebrated, Di Pietro challenges the conventional wisdom about Cage: what has become for music lovers convenient and sacrosanct. In the Rajas, we meet the lauded, successful, older Cage not long before his death. Recently the victim of a violent crime, a shaken Cage reflects on his life, philosophy, and agenda and asks, “How is it that I could be so foolish to be so optimistic?” It is a deep and profound crisis of faith, even though the language is clearly secular. It is a worldly and wise elder looking back at his life’s work and asking: Did it mean anything? Was it all a waste? Were my beliefs misguided? Was I wrong this whole time?
Di Pietro addresses Cage’s moment of darkness with his Rajas (a Sanskrit term that is not the plural form of raja). In the Samkhya school of Hinduism, rajas, along with sattva(purity or lucidity) and tamas (inactive or slow), is one of the three gunas, or tendencies of Prakrti, or nature. Rajasguna is reserved for people or things that are active and passionate; “whirlings” is the term Di Pietro likes to use when describing rajas to his audiences and musicians. As we see in Cage the man, Di Pietro’s Rajas are also full of movement, excitement, and passion—this sense of whirling. In the midst of these whirlings, we meet such characters as an Asian transvestite, a young child finding beauty in the mundane, a wounded Mafioso, and an artist who suffers from panic attacks. And at the center of these whirlings stands the figure of the older, doubting Cage.
Cage, who spent much of his career creating music using chance operations, was aware that his art was ultimately nurtured by the questions that he asked. Likewise, Di Pietro’s Rajas leaves the reader with questions, not definitive answers. What do these stories and characters have to do with the person of John Cage? Would Cage have found these story pieces comforting? Would he have found them funny, or leave him despairing? Would he have felt his life’s work validated or undermined?"
- Larry Marrotta