In the Club with: Daijana Wallace
For our tenth episode we are thrilled to welcome composer Daijana Wallace!
Who are some composers or ensembles you’ve been enjoying listening to lately?
I’ve been enjoying listening to Pamela Z, Megan Thee Stallion, Eric Bellinger, and (proudly) Bach--some of the violin partitas and of course, the cello suites.
Do you define your work in any particular way in terms of genre or style?
I think my work is a reflection of me in my numerous journeys in life and my desire to connect with people. Each piece I write is either inspired by some sort of life event (a stompy upstairs neighbor, a reflection of trauma, paying homage to my former cello professor, etc.) or it’s written in collaboration with or for a dear friend or colleague. Because of this, I hesitate to place a genre label on something that’s inspired by a myriad of feelings that lead to a myriad of sonic results.
Does your background as a cellist influence your work as a composer?
Absolutely. In cello lessons and chamber music coachings my professor instilled in me these (read as: his) ideas of gesture, nuance, counterpoint, and how melody and harmony function in music (something you’d think would happen in composition lessons and more academically focused music courses). My professor knew music and was able to communicate that in a way that made sense to me. Some days I find it more comforting and my thoughts flow easier composing at the cello, as opposed to the piano where I usually compose.
Is there any particular instrumentation or sound palette that you’re currently excited about writing for?
I’ve been working on a piece for Sam Bergman (viola) and Carrie Henneman Shaw (voice) and it’s been an exciting challenge. I’ve been exploring the richness of the lower register and contrastingly the lightness of natural and false harmonics of the viola that *hopefully* lets the voice sort of float between the middle of the registers I’m utilizing. As far as the voice is concerned, I’m really focused on this idea of register and having each register associated with a timbre--lower register is for spoken word text setting, middle register is for melismatic text setting, upper register is for more syllabic text setting. I’m hoping my treatment of the voice and viola will allow the text to shine and tell the story. (We're looking forward to hearing it!)
Thanks for joining us, Daijana!
Daijana Wallace is a composer of “classical” music hailing from Junction City, KS. Her music expresses her inner thoughts and feelings, and is influenced by interactions with friends and strangers, playing chamber music, and jamming, which allows her music to take shape in different sound worlds and styles. Her music has been heard in the US, Canada, and Europe, and she’s been fortunate enough to work with cellist Kivie Cahn-Lipman (International Contemporary Ensemble) and participate in a reading session with vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth. Daijana has Bachelors’ degrees in music composition and cello performance from Wichita State University, and is currently studying composition at Michigan State University.
Photo by Julian Kincaid