billhorvitz.com

News
Bio
Projects
Press
Photos
CD's / Audio
Performances
TeachingLinks
Contact


MUSIC AND SPOKEN WORD


One of the most exciting things I have done in the past ten years has been collaborating with many poets and writers, joining music with spoken word.

I quickly found that interacting with someone’s speaking voice is very
different from working with a singer. It is so easy to obscure a reader’s
words, so easy to sway the meaning of a piece with the tone and feeling of the music. I see it as an extremely delicate balance, probably not unlike walking a high wire (no, I’ve never actually done that). When it is
successful, the music supports the words, helps bring them to the listener, makes the words and meanings easier to take in and understand. Listeners have often commented on how well the music complements the text, and it is something I love to do.

The first opportunity for me came some years ago from a friend, Nancy
Bertelson, who was producing a benefit for the watershed around Pt. Reyes Station, California. The event focused on raising awareness about the Coho Salmon and included science writers, poets, songwriters, and instrumental music. I was hired to play music and Patti Trimble, one of the featured writers, was asked to write a series of poems about the salmon. Nancy suggested that Patti and I collaborate, combine the music and poems, something we had not previously thought of ourselves. The resulting work was the beginning of years of performances and the CD Small Craft Advisories which includes Pablo Rodriguez on vocals, Juliana Kohl on vocals, Joseph Sabella on drums, and myself on guitar. I have also worked with the poets Ellery Akers and Jerry Martien as well as the writers Jean Hegland, Susan Bono, and Amanda Krugliak.

I have also collaborated with the poet Bob Stanley, including performances in Sacramento. Most recently, I worked with playwright and poet, Brian Thorstenson, collaborating on pieces as part of the performance of the Bill Horvitz Expanded Band tribute to my late brother Philip. These included performances in San Francisco, Sebastopol, and New York City.

I am always interested in finding new writers who would like to combine music and spoken word.