CHAMBER 

Ap(he)art - 2020

 

For violin and cello

Composer: Annie Nikunen

Text: "a beautiful composition of broken" by r.h. Sin

Premiered in separate, quarantined recording sessions in May 2020 by International Contemporary Ensemble (Josh Modney, violin / Michael Nicolas, cello)

Ap(he)art - the word "heart" is naturally embedded within the word "apart" when we say it - is a sonic reflection on the uniquely personal yet “commonplace” human experiences of brokenness...the cycle of our hearts breaking, pulling apart, and coming back together. Multiple identities are generated from the dimension of the players' voices whispering excerpts of text I chose from "a beautiful composition of broken" by r.h. Sin.

There are various layers of “pulling apart the heart” - and mending it - activated throughout the piece, whether it be through time stamps, fluctuations in dynamics, overpressure dialogue based on my mapping of the phonetics, conversations between the phonetic nature of the words and the meaning of the words themselves, etc. The piece is improvisatory in expression yet restricted in time; the players build the material in each movement to then be cut off and move forward, as life often forces us to do.

it's all in only us - 2019

 

For sop, fl, ob, bass cl, pn, vc, perc

 

Composer/Text: Annie Nikunen

Premiered on April 29th, 2019 at Symphony Space by Fonema Consort

 

When tragedy strikes in a person’s life, the rest of the world goes on. There is an incessant ring in the fabric of the air invincible to any individual’s inside story.

The hit happens as an invisible explosion. Cut off from everything. A gunshot-like trigger within the confines of the victim’s mind sparks the escalating white noise symphony of cluttered buzz silent to the surrounding world. This still, mute drone perpetually hangs in the air when it strikes; its bulletproof vibration doesn’t quiver even slightly. Like yelling underwater. Looking around frantically, only to find the rest is in their own worlds a million mental miles away. Others can empathize, but not truly realize. The rest continues at its unforgiving fixed speed. Hyper-awareness of every subtle stimuli stings. Tense wisps of breath buy ticking time for what’s about to surge. It’s isolating, strangling, unifying. It’s all in only us.

Pierced by Transparency - 2018

For flute and piano

Written score/improvisations on a theme, Part I.

Premiered by Annie Nikunen, flute and John Melendez, piano

Pierced by Vacancy - 2018

For flute and piano

Written score/improvisations on a theme, Part II.

Premiered by Annie Nikunen, flute and John Melendez, piano

ELECTRONICS

With the Wall - 2020

 

For solo vibraphone/electronics 

Composer/Choreographer/Dancer: Annie Nikunen

Percussionist/Sound Designer: Grace Goss

Video editor: Madeline Finkel

The first piece in my choreographic-compositional series Pas de deux sans un - "dance for two without one" - highlighting being deprived of partnering/dancing/moving with humans in the COVID-19 era of isolation and one-sidedness, and instead turning to partnering inanimate things. This reveals fascinating dynamics regarding all that goes into moving with another living, breathing, connection-seeking human; and, on the other side, the challenges in moving with something that cannot react in real time. When partnering the wall, the interaction is solely based on how my actions shape the flatness before me, and the dialogue my movements create with a silent surface.

While partnering both humans and objects involves interplay of opposing forces, there is that element of personal reciprocity with people that insentient items lack. But inherent in those items are idiosyncrasies to play with, embedded within their fixed nature of existence. In this series, I aim to explore that somatic energy and channel it into non-human agencies. As both a dancer and musician, this is my physical, danced expression of a performer's relationship with their instrument; taking an object that is technically lifeless on its own and feeding it life with human touch, carving its voice based on how it is moved with and interacted with. I essentially "play" my surroundings.

In Loving Memory...They Flicker - 2019

For multi-tracked flute/electronics and field recordings

Flute: Annie Nikunen

A piece based on field recordings taken in St. John the Divine, and inspired by the flickering of the memorial candles there.

Standing Still is Still Moving - 2019

Field recordings

Based on the relationship between sound and movement (both figuratively and physically), making us aware of how layers of everyday activities and thoughts can produce a symphony of complex sounds, if we listen closely. The field recordings of active experiences began with my personal orbit and ended with the farthest thing outside my personal universe.

SOLO

Someday - 2016

For solo piano

Pianist: Jason Black

Premiered on May 27th, 2016 at Hofstra University as part of the Long Island Composers' Alliance (LICA) concert in association with the University Music Department and The Long Island Music Hall of Fame.

FILM

Mission Gladiator - 2020

Score: Annie Nikunen

Cinematography: Anselm Havu

A quarantine short about a heist and a Jeep with a suspenseful, momentum-driven score, using only the resources available to us at the peak of COVID-19 lockdown.

Tracing Paths - 2018

Score/Sound Design: Annie Nikunen

A scoring exercise to an already existing film, stripped of the original score for us to personally interpret.

CHOREOGRAPHY/DANCE

Gazebo Gigue - 2020

Choreographer/Dancer: Annie Nikunen

Double Bass: Ron Wasserman

Music: Gigue, from Suite III for solo cello by J.S. Bach

Videography: Diane Nikunen and Ron Wasserman

Remote collaboration as part of Ron Wasserman's initiative NY Bach Project.

Sarabande - 2020

Choreographer/Dancer: Annie Nikunen

Double Bass: Ron Wasserman 

Music: J. S. Bach, Sarabande from Suite III for cello solo 

Videography: Craig Wasserman and Ron Wasserman

Audio: Ron Wasserman

Collaboration at Cherry Hill Fountain in Central Park as part of Ron Wasserman's initiative NY Bach Project.

Caged Catharsis - 2020

Choreographer/Dancer: Annie Nikunen

Music: Triadic Memories by Morton Feldman

Videography: Annie Nikunen

 

My third piece in my series “Pas de deux sans un” (“dance for two without one”), where I partner a wooden chair. Created during Banff residency Creative Practice for Contemporary Dance: Choreographic Thinking in Making and Performing, inspired by cultivating these somatic connections in COVID's ever-exploratory time of corporeally-absent creation.