Danielle O'Hallisey

electronic guitar, scoring for visual media

the home of String Ensemble Yellow Sky

Yellow Sky’s very existence is an accomplishment, and it promises to enrich the state’s classical scene in interesting ways.
— Amy Lilly, Seven Days
Danielle takes great strides to serve the special Muse that watches over innovation.
— Larry Coryell

A classical guitarist by early training, O’Hallisey has in recent years been a student of jazz/fusion legend, Larry Coryell, who has greatly influenced her approach to both the instrument and composition. She leans heavily on the altered tones afforded through the pairing of her Godin seven-string classical guitar with guitar synthesizers and effects to deliver a layered sound; nylon string guitar always front and center, coupled with electronic sounds sometimes searing, sometimes humorous. Her compositions draw upon a vast array of influences, from the serene Icelandic neoclassicism of Jóhann Jóhannsson to the fiery, blistering tones and extended harmonic sensibilities of Coryell.

Listen to Danielle's interview on Vermont Public Radio here: http://digital.vpr.net/post/worcester-guitarist-composes-music-inspired-stephen-king#stream/0

The creation of this series of works was inspired by a confluence of factors. “I’d received a Creation Grant from the Vermont Arts Council, which providing enabling funds to find and work with truly great area musicians,” says O’Hallisey. “Just as I was blocking out the concept for my compositions for an unlikely trio, I was asked to write a column for an Italian guitar website, talking about the use of the Neapolitan mode. I’d never heard of this scale before, so I sat down and methodically composed a few short snippets of music to acclimate my ear to the otherworldly harmonies it evokes.

The full Seven Days article can be read here: http://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/neoclassical-trio-yellow-sky-makes-its-debut/Content?oid=3405859

“The music seemed somehow watery, and as I happened to be reading through King’s magnum opus The Dark Tower at the time, I seized upon a saying of a fictitious tribal people referenced throughout the work, “Time is a Face on the Water,” and used that as a working title for the piece. I’ve studied composition for film and TV, so having a preëxisting concept to which I compose is a familiar and comfortable place for me. As a result, I wrote the rest of the pieces also drawing phrases from King to provide titles and moods.

“Well into the process I decided that it would be wonderful to be able to keep and use these titles in my work (really; was I ever going to come up with something better than All is Silent in the Halls of the Dead?) So I contacted Stephen King’s office to ask if I could do that, if I could use his writing to constitute my titles. He was exceedingly generous in granting this permission, and I only hope I’ve done the work justice.”


 

 

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