The Akron Symphony Orchestra is thrilled to announce the release of “Confluence: a Concerto for Orchestra and EarthQuaker Devices” on your preferred streaming platforms!
Confluence debuted live in concert on March 5, 2022, at EJ Thomas Hall. The concerto is co-composed by Jon Sonnenberg, a long-time EarthQuaker artist and collaborator, and Jake Gunnar Walsh, a New York-based composer and oboist. The work is the culmination of a two-year collaboration between the Akron Symphony and Akron-based EarthQuaker Devices (EQD).
“EarthQuaker is thrilled to share Confluence with the world. We are so proud of this work and truly in awe of the performance. I believe this is required listening for all sonic explorers,” said Julie Robbins, CEO of EarthQuaker Devices.
The work’s title refers to the merging of two sound worlds. Confluence blends traditional and contemporary techniques by using effects pedals from EarthQuaker Devices within the orchestra itself. The pedals create a wide array of effects, including vibrato, distortion, echo, reverb, and modulations of pitch and timbre.
Sonnenberg drew inspiration from his experience scoring for films and video games, working closely with co-composer Jake Gunnar Walsh and conductor Christopher Wilkins to craft a cohesive musical work. Walsh then adapted Sonnenberg’s themes and harmonic progressions to create an original electro-acoustic soundscape. Both composers perform as soloists in the recording: Walsh as oboist, using EQD effects, and Sonnenberg as mixer of electronic treatments and processing.
During the performance, thirteen orchestral instruments are also processed through EQD pedals, controlled by Sonnenberg. “With this piece, I seek not only to use these electro-acoustic effects to enhance the abundantly colorful orchestral palette, but also integrate these effects seamlessly into the composition of the work,” said Walsh. “It has been a true delight to breathe life into Confluence both as composer and performer. The momentum gathered through our collective efforts has been nothing short of electrifying.”
Sonnenberg created a new instrument for the work, the “confluence harp.” It produces microtonal pitches bridging the gaps between adjacent piano notes. “The confluence of a tension string and a metal tine vibrating together as one body gives a rich, mutually sympathetic tone to the confluence harp,” explains Sonnenberg. “Different tensions can change the entire sound—ranging from long sustained notes to reverb-type sounds, to chord intervals. Since the tines are tuned to the exact scale I want, the strings are mostly tuned to unrelated notes to emphasize the idea of two vibrations coming together.”
The work comprises six short movements. Each movement except the last is named after an EarthQuaker device: I. The Depths, II. Afterneath, III. Dunes, IV. Aqueduct, V. Astral Destiny, and VI. Terrae Motus.
Immerse yourself in Confluence: a Concerto for Orchestra and EarthQuaker Devices by listening on Spotify, Apple Music, and other major streaming platforms today!