Q&A with MPLS (imPulse) singer, Ian Cook.
What is a fun fact about yourself?
In addition to doing music all the time, I also swing dance and I can juggle!
Tell us a little bit about your musical life!
I sing Tenor 1 in a lot of different choirs; I sing in MPLS (imPulse), Academy of Voices, National Lutheran Choir, my church choir, and recently sang with Pop Up Choir #3. I also play trombone, and in fact trombone was my main instrument through college. I occasionally sub in orchestras and play in musical pits. I also compose my own music, as well as doing professional music engraving for others. I've had performances of my music by several ensembles, including as far away as a music festival in Colorado.
This fall, MPLS (imPulse) is performing your piece, The White Heron, tell us about the piece and your inspiration.
The inspiration for The White Heron comes entirely from the text. The W.B. Yeats poem paints a very impressionistic image in my head. I envision a heron, a huge bird, standing still in a river. It should be trying to catch the fish around it, but instead it just stands there silently, not even noticing the fish as they leap past. The dramatic moment in the text is when, with this image of blurry, dreamlike motion surrounding it, the heron suddenly shivers. It is a simple text, and yet it invokes a surprisingly vivid image of this unexpected moment. The music that resulted includes a lot of text painting; the fish leap, the heron shivers, and the harmonies feel blurry and impressionistic, adding to the dreamlike setting of the poem.
Why did you decide to get involved with MPLS (imPulse)?
I really like the project-based model that MPLS (imPulse) uses. It's a unique model, and it allows a lot of really fantastic singers to come together without having to cram one more regular commitment into their already-full schedules, which means that it can bring together a level of talent that likely couldn't happen otherwise. I'm also a sucker for any ensemble that regularly performs as much new music as MPLS (imPulse) does; I wish it wasn't so rare for ensembles to have such a commitment to new music, and I want to be a part of any ensemble that does!
If you have a favorite music-themed joke or pun, what is it?
I can't stand an alberti bass in E minor… It really gives me the E-B-G-Bs!
Learn more about Ian and his compositions at ianacook.com