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Mark Applebaum
Straightjacket (2009)

Mark Applebaum (b.1967), Ph.D., is the Edith & Leland Smith Professor of Composition at Stanford University. His music has been performed throughout six continents, including notable commissions from the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, the Fromm Foundation, the Spoleto Festival, the Kronos Quartet, Chamber Music America, and the Vienna Modern Festival. Many of his pieces are characterized by challenges to the conventional boundaries of musical ontology. 

The second movement of Straitjacket by Mark Applebaum is titled “Isopagram.” In this movement, a percussion soloist performs prescribed gestures that coordinate with a wide array of percussive sounds created by an accompanying percussion quartet. An isopangram, or perfect pangram, is a set of words that uses all twenty-six letters of the alphabet exactly one time. Appropriately, in “Isopangram,” the soloist uses 118 gestures exactly one time each that correspond with percussive sounds that are used exactly two times each, in the composer’s words, to avoid the “tedium of development.” You will hear many non-traditional percussion instruments in this movement, including a typewriter, an electric pencil sharpener, a can of compressed air, an audubon bird call and many others.

– Karlyn R. Viña