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Composing Music


by Gerard Cousins

"Transcribing meanings, not just notes."

In 2022 Gerard delivered lectures at the 8th International Conference on Music & Minimalism at Bowling Green State University, Ohio and the IGRC CONFERENCE 2022 at the University of Surrey.

Gerard Cousins has created a lecture recital inspired by his album of Philip Glass transcriptions. A combination of live demonstrations, video performances and speech. The Lecture focuses on the music of Steve Reich and Philip Glass and can be tailored for a general music audience or specialised for guitarists.

The lecture discusses various approaches to transcription and the effects this can have on the meaning of the music. 

The length of the lecture can be from 30 to 50 minutes depending on how many pieces Gerard performs. Gerard can also offer a recital that complements the lecture. 


Escape! Where do transcriptions of minimalist music lead us?

What effect does transcription have on minimalist music? How important is the original timbre to the musical idea? Can we find new expression from a change of instrument and what is perhaps lost or gained in the process? What can we learn through hearing familiar pieces in a new guise? To begin this exploration, I take my own transcription and recording of Philip Glass’s ‘Knee Play 2’ to see how minimalist music may be re-expressed. The original guise of ‘Knee Play 2’ was as an interlude in the Opera ‘Einstein on the Beach’ and was brilliantly reimagined as a virtuosic solo violin concert piece by Tim Fain. This transformation inspired me to search for further possibilities as a piece for solo guitar. In my guitar version I take inspiration from the Malian kora and use certain articulation techniques rarely heard on the ‘classical guitar’ to further evolve the possibilities of interpretation and expression.

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