Composing From Afar

July 10, 2020

Alumnus Tristan Perez (Music Composition ‘18) composed And Spring Still Comes, a socially distanced wind ensemble

By Kailyn Kausen (CCS Writing & Literature '20)

Courtesy photo of Tristan Perez
Courtesy photo of Tristan Perez

The UC Santa Barbara Music Composition Department interviewed recent alumnus Tristan Perez (CCS Music Composition ‘18), about the wind ensemble composition he created and shared virtually through YouTube, And Spring Still Comes

After finding a Facebook thread of musicians longing for a way to play together despite social distancing orders, Tristan wrote And Spring Still Comes to allow musicians to perform together. He said in the interview that he decided on a wind ensemble because “...wind parts can be doubled easily and allow for many people to participate without having to turn anyone away.” He invited people he knew and complete strangers to join the ensemble. CCS alumnus Reno Behnken (CCS Biology ‘20) and current student Sarah Evenson (CCS Physic ‘21) participated on piano and clarinet.

Producing the music was more difficult than an in-person ensemble playing and practicing together. Tristan recorded himself conducting the piece and sent it to the musicians. From those, the musicians recorded their tracks and sent the best back to Tristan, who put them together for the final composition. In addition to combining the audio tracks, Tristan compiled videos of the musicians playing into a grid with the musicians fading in and out of view to match the music from their instruments.

Tristan plans on completing more socially distant compositions, and considers making an ensemble to collaborate remotely even after the pandemic.