Artist: Andy Kozar
Title: On the End…
Labels: ANALOG arts
Release Date: January 11, 2013
Retailers: Amazon, eMusic, and iTunes
Press Kit

On the end… is New York City based trumpeter, composer, and improviser Andy Kozar’s premier release featuring his own work. Recorded by some of the countries finest performers and ensembles at Ryan Streber’s Oktaven Studios, On the end… includes the following works:

Recorded by loadbang (Carlos Cordiero, clarinet; Jeffrey Gavett, baritone voice; Andy Kozar, trumpet; Will Lang, trombone)
P’o (Kuei) &/or Hun (Shen)
Recorded by trombone soloist Will Lang in addition to Ruby Chen and Miranda Cuckson (violins), Denise Stillwell (viola), and Mariel Roberts (cello)
On the end…
Recorded by guitarist Kobe Van Cauwenberghe and trumpeter Andy Kozar
Invisibility Interlude
Recorded by Andy Kozar on Piano and Toy Piano

On the end… was made possible in part by the NoMAA Creative Grant Program (made possible by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation and the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation)

Listen Here are three brief samples from On the End….

Mass: Kyrie

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P’o (Keui) &/or Hun (Shen)

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Radio 1

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About Andy Pittsburgh native, Andy Kozar is a New York City based trumpeter, improviser, composer and educator whose playing has been said to be ‘agile as he navigated leaps and slurs with grace…he shifted between lyricism and aggression deftly’ by the Internationl Trumpet Guild Journal. A strong advocate of contemporary music, he is a founding member of loadbang, a member of TILT Brass, and has performed with new music ensembles including Argento Chamber Ensemble, Talea, Signal, Ensemble ACJW, Wet Ink, TACTUS, Mimesis, and Mark Gould’s Pink Baby Monster. He has performed alongside artists such as Dave Douglas, Todd Reynolds, Pablo Heras Casado, Brad Lubman, and David Cossen in addition to working closely with numerous composers including Helmut Lachenmann, Augusta Reed Thomas, and Pulitzer Prize winning composer David Lang. Andy has premiered music for the Electronic Music Foundation (EMF) and in the past 4 years, has had over twenty pieces written for him. He has performed at Bang on a Can marathons both at MASS MoCA and in New York City, has presented a lecture/recitals on performing with electronics at the 2012 International Trumpet Guild Conference, and in November, will be featured as a soloist at the University of Richmond’s Third Practice electro-acoustic festival.

Equally well versed in the traditional repertoire, he was featured as a soloist with the Pan-American Symphony and the Carnegie Mellon Baroque Orchestra, was featured in Eastman School of Music’s ‘Rising Stars’ recital, performed with the Eastman Wind Ensemble, in 2003, he served as principal trumpet of the Pittsburgh Opera Center Orchestra, and this December will perform Bach’s Magnificat on baroque trumpet with Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity in New York City.

In addition to contemporary and traditional classical music, his versatility has also allowed him the opportunity to perform with the Grammy nominated Travis Sullivan’s Bjorkestra, with whom he performed at the 2008 Montreal Jazz Festival, the Dave Ravello Ensemble, and indie pop bands including the Generationals and Emanuel and the Fear. He has also performed on Broadway’s Mary Poppins.

As a recording artist, he can be heard on indie pop albums by Emanuel and the Fear and Bennett Lin and the Hollywood film score to Sushi Girl. As a classical recording artist he can be heard on Signal’s upcoming Mode Records release of Helmut Lachenmann’s music, TILT Brass’ ‘To TILT: Volume 1’ and as a collaborator on the Mode Records release of Morton Feldman’s orchestral music.

He can regularly be seen performing at New York City’s contemporary/experimental music venues including John Zorn’s space The Stone, Roulette, The Tank, Issue Project Room, and The Flea. He has also performed at venues including Carnegie Hall, Miller Theater at Columbia University, Symphony Space, Merkin Hall, The World Financial Center, The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., The Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, and Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh.

Andy has studied with Anthony Pasquarelli, James Thompson, Brian McWhorter, Jens Lindemann and Mark Gould, has studied at Carnegie Mellon University, holds a BM from the Eastman School of Music, and a MM in contemporary performance at Manhattan School of Music. He is on faculty at the Long Island Conservatory, the North Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts, and regularly works as a teaching artist for the American Composers Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic’s Very Young Composers program.

Liner Notes As a composer/performer, Andy Kozar is often writing music for himself to perform. When he writes for other instruments, it is always for performers that he knows and collaborates with.This makes for a very personal music, focused on the experience of the players, and their interactions with one another. Sometimes this means including elements of improvisation, or elements of the music communicated through textual instructions. In other cases the familiarity Andy has with certain performers allows for an intensely specific notated score exploiting the unique talents and abilities of his collaborators.The music on this CD represents this broad range of creative activities, from graphic and text scores to fully notated microtonal chamber music. Despite the varying instrumentations and forms of communication used, the core of a sound world reveals itself throughout the CD. It is a fractured flow of disparate musical threads, crosscut and layered, inexorably moving forward despite the interruption and juxtaposition of textures and sounds. It’s hard not to hear a sense of inevitability in the works, especially given the title work ‘…on the end’ and its obsession with the physical reality of death.The music jumps back and forth between tempos, registers, instrumentations, and playing techniques, but always hurtles towards its ending.

loadbang has performed more of Andy’s music than any other ensemble, and has served as a platform for his compositional experimentation over the last few years. One of the trends I’ve observed in his work is a tendency to put the performers in uncomfortable positions, negating traditional virtuosity. I’ve performed on toy piano, radio, and torn paper; read aloud from books, but I’ve rarely sung extended passages in my baritone voice. Andy’s Mass continues this trend in vocal writing, with its extensive passages in high falsetto range at low dynamics, and sung notes surrounded by whiplash switches to and from whispered and shouted words. All this serves to roughen vocal quality, blur pitches, and generally unbalance the vocal mechanism, negating years of classical training.The instruments are similarly challenged with huge registral and dynamic leaps flying by at breakneck speed. The obstruction of traditional instrumental tone color is further accomplished through the use of extreme registers, with the tenor trombone becoming a soprano voice, the trumpet often playing the tenor, and the clarinet eschewing middle register for quick trips from the top to bottom. The brass are often muzzled by practice mutes, causing extreme distortion to both pitch and timbre as the players expend fortissimo effort for a pianissimo resulting dynamic. The strained relationships between the parts and the instruments for which they are written echo the ultimately negative aesthetic of this Mass, written by an atheist as a reflection on the loss of his Catholic faith. That is not to say that the work is a mockery of the Latin Mass, but that it is an acknowledgment of the importance it once held for the composer, yet no longer does. Based in its proportions on Guillaume de Machaut’s Messe de Nostre Dame, as well as the church in which this landmark piece was first performed,Andy’s Mass is also an homage to the place that sacred music holds as a cornerstone of Western musical tradition.

The title of P’o (Kuei) &/or Hun Shen refers to the ChineseTaoist conception of the soul as separated into two conflicting Yin and Yang souls, which strive for predominance over one another throughout one’s earthly life.At the moment of death,the souls separate from one another. The Yin soul, referred to as the P’o, sinks to the earth as a ghostly being known as a kuei; while the Yang soul, known as the Hun, rises to become an ancestral spirit or god known as a shen.

The work is a wild trombone showpiece originally written for and performed by loadbang. For this recording, strings take over the role of the Hun, heightening the still and transcendent quality of the chords through their homogenous sound. William Lang performs the earthy and violent P’o spirit, shrieking, shouting, and tearing across all ranges of the trombone and then some. Lang and Kozar have worked together for more than five years, and lived together for some of that time. Hearing a musician warm up and practice day after day can give a special kind of insight about their particular strengths and qualities, and can allow a composer to write a piece uniquely suited to the performer, like this work is to Will. For many reasons, I am hard pressed to think of another performer who could even come close to doing the piece justice; it is uniquely his as much as it is Andy’s.

The eponymous On the end is a series of pieces for trumpeter and guitarist which all have to do with the idea of death and its various implications. Both the physical decay of the body and the existential loss of being forgotten are portrayed musically through a collection of short, mostly text- and image-based scores.These pieces are perhaps moreso than any other on the album improvised and written with the specific performers and their playing in mind.The idiosyncracies of Andy Kozar’s trumpet playing and Kobe Van Cauwenberghe’s electric guitar playing are alternately deeply explored (in improvised or virtuosic passages on their instruments) and completely ignored (in blowing up balloons until they burst, hammering boards together, &c.).