Loren Loiacono (b. 1989), a native of Stony Brook, New York, is currently pursuing her Doctorate in composition at Cornell University, where she is a student of Steven Stucky, Roberto Sierra and Kevin Ernste. She previously received her M.M. and B.A. from Yale University, where her teachers included Martin Bresnick, David Lang, Ezra Laderman, Christopher Theofanidis, Kathryn Alexander, and Michael Klingbeil. Her works have been performed by such ensembles as the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic, Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra, Yale Philharmonia, Yale Symphony Orchestra, 5th House Ensemble, and the Argento Ensemble, and her music has been featured on NPR. Loiacono has received awards from ASCAP’s Morton Gould Awards (2013, 2005), Minnesota Orchestra Composers Institute (2013), and the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts (2006), and was an alternate for the American Composers Orchestra Underwood Readings (2012). In 2013, she was selected for one of New York Youth Symphony’s First Music Commissions, culminating in the premiere of a new work at Carnegie Hall in spring 2014. She has been a fellow at the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Atlantic Music Festival, the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival Copland House’s CULTIVATE, and the Chamber Music Conference of the East. She was also the recipient of the 2010 Susan and Ford Schumann Fellowship from the Aspen Music Festival. Ms. Loiacono is a founding member and current development director of Kettle Corn New Music.
As a little girl, my sisters and I spent countless hours playing a computer game based on Barbie’s Dream House. By far, the best part of the game was that clicking on the walls, furniture, etc. in the house would cause them to change colors and produce a distinctive sound effect: a flourish of harps and trilling woodwinds. Years later, listening to Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe for the first time, I discovered, to my astonishment, that the stock “pretty noise” that had accompanied each click in the Barbie game, was actually a nearly-verbatim quote from Ravel! The idea that something that had been so beautiful and meaningful could be so easily decontextualized and transformed into nothing more than a stock sound was extremely unnerving, and at the same time, intriguing. In Stalks, Hounds, I aimed to recapture that phenomenon. The piece opens with that same Ravel flourish, slightly deformed by the addition of strings and percussion. Instead of existing as part of a larger musical phrase, the gesture is isolated, triggered repeatedly as if someone were pushing a button (or clicking a mouse, as the case may be). From this starting point, the gesture is continually transformed, deteriorating from its initial surreal familiarity to a place that is claustrophobic and alien.