Tessa Brinckman: Take Wing, Roll Back


Flutist Tessa Brinckman's Take Wing, Roll Back brings together new works for flute that reflect global influences. In solo tracks as well as duo settings, Brinckman displays a pervasive versatility navigating the diverse stylistic demands of the repertoire.


New York City-based flutist Tessa Brinckman has created a wide landscape of contemporary flute solos and duos, much of it in distant collaboration with acclaimed composers and musicians from France, USA, Japan, South Africa, and her native New Zealand. Her multiple flutes entwine with the culturally and temporally diverse sounds of Buchla, water tanks, taonga pūoro, guitar, prepared piano, field recordings and a poem. Take Wing, Roll Back invites the listener to geo-poetic worlds past and present, infused with humor, pathos and drive, offering a warm kind of futurism.

Dawn Brightens the Day of Mortals Robed in Purple is Norio Fukushi’s hymn to his beloved mountain. Eight sections lead with a poetic line:

The forests sway in the way of the wind / Deep in the forest dark the devil dwells / When stars from heaven fall, the lakes stand clear, reflecting / Fog subtly veils the face of the river / Dawn brightens the day of mortals robed in purple / Birds take wing with the morning / Nor sage nor seer knows where the endless prairie trail goes / Good indeed to be at rest

Sonus Redux: And the Wave Rolled Back is a wild collaboration of sources and composers, quoting Jean-Marie Leclair’s Sonata II in C major from the Premier Livre de Sonatas, Oeuvre I (1723) and Hunter S. Thompson, unfurling dense layers of Tessa Brinckman’s collection of baroque flutes, prepared piano, underpinned by Todd Barton’s Buchla harmonizations.

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Tessa Brinckman grew up with Māori stories of the taniwha (spiritual protectors and antagonists). Taniwha is a tribute to the dead, the living, ancient pathways and machines (specifically the subways), that vibrate the foundations of Manhattan. Stems were recorded in New Zealand (with Horomona Horo), in New York City and Oregon.

Wade Through Water and Zeuze question the limited Western view of what African music can be. Andile Khumalo references sounds from around the African continent, Asia and the West. Wade Through Water was inspired by the Hermann Hesse poem “Happiness". Tessa Brinckman adapted Andile’s original Wade (for clarinet and piano) to alto flute and piano, making use of the alto flute’s colorful extended techniques. “Ze uze” is an isiXhosa term with two meanings — to invite someone to visit, and to issue a warning about that visit.

You Never Come Out The Same is a collaborative score with Cara Stacey, and the title is a Bahian aphorism about the value of water and cycles in healing. The music draws from central African xylophone music, Sundanese chamber music and Māori waiata. Extended techniques on the piccolo and the prepared piano enhance the wilderness of emotions.

Tenderness of Cranes is derived from the traditional Japanese shakuhachi piece, Tsuru No Sugamori, depicting the life cycle of the wild crane, a symbol of longevity and bonding. Shirish Korde oscillates his music effortlessly between traditional Japanese and contemporary Western aesthetics and instrumental techniques.

A Cracticus Fancie melds together an archival recording of Denis Glover (1912-1980) reading his famous New Zealand poem, The Magpies, with field recordings, and contemporary live/processed piccolo sound-worlds. It was inspired an Australian First Nations story of cracticus tibicena saving the people from perpetual darkness, Denis Glover visiting Tessa Brinckman’s grandparents as a mischievous raconteur, a re-imagining of Denis’ poem from the viewpoint of a magpie, the Irish folk song The Magpie, and the Great Depression of the 1930s.

- Tessa Brinckman

Produced by Tessa Brinckman

Sean McCoy (OR) - recording/editing/mixing - Tracks 1-3, 5-8
Sheldon Steiger (NY) - mixing/mastering - Tracks 1-3, 5-8
Bahar Royaee (NYC) - mixing/mastering - Track 4
Ryan Streber (NYC) - recording - Tracks 2, 4, 5, 6
Thomas Vingtrinier (FR) - recording/editing - Track 1
Steve McGough (NZ) - recording - Track 4
Tessa Brinckman (NYC) - recording/editing - Track 4
Caleb Bird (NZ) - taonga pūoro stem edits - Track 4


Oktaven (NYC) (2022) - Tracks 2, 4, 5, 6
Broken Works (OR) (2014, 2019-2021) - Tracks 1, 3, 7, 8
Stebbings studio (NZ) (2020) - Track 4
Studio Sequenza (FR) (2020) - Track 1

Art direction/cover images - Tessa Brinckman

Design, layout & typography - Marc Wolf, marcjwolf.com
Apple Motion - Jeremy Tressler, dreamflower.us

Tessa Brinckman

Interdisciplinary flutist/composer Tessa Brinckman has been praised for her “chameleon-like gifts” and “virtuoso elegance” (Gramophone), an “excellent... flutist” (Willamette Week) and “highlight of Portland” (New Music Box), who “play(s) her instrument with great beauty and eloquence” (Music Matters New Zealand). Originally from New Zealand, she has premiered well over a hundred new works (commissioning almost thirty), with many acclaimed classical music ensembles, concert series, musicians and composers across the globe. Now based in New York City since 2022, she enjoys creating and performing unique work that honors synesthesia, dialect, innate meter and collaboration, often on geo-political themes. She performs internationally as an orchestral, chamber, soloist and resident artist, in numerous and wildly diverse productions, from the Oregon Symphony, the Atlantic Center for the Arts (FL), Waikato and Whale Festival (South Africa), Goodman Theater (Chicago), Britt Festival Orchestra (OR), Wuzhen Theatre Festival (China), to Poisson Rouge and Roulette (New York City). Playing flute, piccolo, alto, bass, contrabass and baroque flutes, and miscellaneous keyboards, she also co-directs the ever-polymathic bi-coastal duo, Caballito Negro, with percussionist Terry Longshore, commissioning significant new work for flute and percussion. Her composition team for Tony Award-winning director Mary Zimmerman’s White Snake was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award (2014). Both her experimental video (with Jane Rigler), Women in Parallel Empires (2021), exploring the moon, extraction, and “Empire”, and the animation The Gorgon Cycles (2023) (created with Miles Inada and Devyn McConachie) depicting Medusa’s rise in the Anthropocene, have won 18 film festival awards for music scoring, animation and experimental film.

Caroline Delume

Caroline Delume is renowned in her native France for her versatility in performing both modern and traditional repertoire, whether for guitar or theorbo. She is in demand as both a collaborator and soloist all over Europe, and composers such as Jean-Pascal Chaigne, Pascale Criton, Francisco Luque, Clara Maïda, and Florentine Mulsant have dedicated their new works to her. She is a professor at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris (CNSMDP) and the Conservatoire de Versailles Grand Parc.

Kathleen Supové

Kathleen Supové is one of America’s most acclaimed and versatile contemporary music pianists, constantly redefining what a pianist/keyboardist/performance artist is in today’s world. Ms. Supové annually presents a series of solo concerts entitled The Exploding Piano. Through her numerous and varied commissioning projects, including The Debussy Effect, she has been a vital force in creating stunning, important works for the late 20th and early 21st century piano repertory. The Exploding Piano also uses electronics, theatrical elements, vocal rants, performance art, staging, and interdisciplinary collaboration. In 2012, Supové received the John Cage Award from the ASCAP Foundation for “the artistry and passion with which she performs, commissions, records, and champions the music of our time.”


Todd Barton

American composer Todd Barton is a sonic adventurer, composer, educator and performer of abstract, freely improvised electronic music, specializing in Buchla, Serge, and Hordijk electronic musical instruments. For four decades he was Composer in Residence for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, teaching Music Composition and Electronic and Computer Music at Southern Oregon University. His numerous commissions include KRONOS Quartet, The Oregon Symphony, The Rogue Valley Symphony and San Jose Chamber Orchestra. He actively shares his work and expertise on social media, teaching electronic music online worldwide. He recently released his solo album, Below this Time Does Not Exist.

Horomona Horo

New Zealand Māori musician/composer Horomona Horo is a practitioner of taonga pūoro, the collective term for traditional Māori musical instruments, which includes various flutes, trumpets and percussion. He was mentored by the late Dr Hirini Melbourne and Dr Richard Nunns, and won the inaugural Dynasty Heritage Concerto Competition in 2001. He has represented New Zealand music in concerts and festivals in Europe, Asia, South America and Oceania. Described as the "master of his generation" by Maori cultural magazine, Mana, he has collaborated with renowned composers and musicians such as Gareth Farr, Martin Lodge, and the New Zealand String Quartet.

Norio Fukushi

Japanese composer Norio Fukushi writes for both Western and traditional Japanese instruments, and studied with Tomojiro Ikenouchi and Olivier Messiaen. He has had major works performed and recorded in the USA, Canada, Europe, and Asia. His honors include the Award of Excellence in the National Art Festival (Agency for Cultural Affairs), the first Nakajima Contemporary Music Prize, and the Third Saji Keizo Prize. He has served as President of the Japan Society of Contemporary Music (ISCM), as Vice President of the Japan Federation of Authors and Composers Associations, and as a judge for the Music Competition of Japan.

Andile Khumalo

Andile Khumalo is a South African composer and a music lecturer at the University of Witwatersrand. In 2013, he completed his Doctor of Musical Arts at Columbia University under the supervision of George Lewis, where he also studied with Fabien Levy and Tristan Murail. Prior to his DMA, Khumalo studied under Marco Stroppa at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Stuttgart (HMDKS) and with Jürgen Bräuninger at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Please visit: music.columbia.edu/bios/andile-khumalo


Cara Stacey

South African musician/composer/musicologist Cara Stacey was the Standard Bank Young Artist for Music 2021. She is a pianist and southern African musical bow performer (um-rhubhe/uhadi/makhoyane) with a doctorate from University of Cape Town/SOAS. Her international collaborators include Shabaka Hutchings, Sarathy Korwar, Galina Juritz, Natalie Mason, Beat Keller, Matchume Zango, Jason Singh and Juliana Venter. She sits on the executive committee for the South African Society for Research in Music and is the International Council for Traditional Music country liaison office for the kingdom of Eswatini. She is a lecturer in Creative Music Technologies at University of Witwatersrand.

Shirish Korde

Shirish Korde is a composer of Indian descent who spent his early years in East Africa. Steeped in Indian and African musical traditions, he studied jazz, composition and ethnomusicology (including Indian drumming with Sharda Sahai) at Berklee College of Music, New England Conservatory, and Brown University. He is celebrated for his expressive, complex synthesis of diverse cultures, ranging from Tuvan throat singing, Vedic chanting, to the Balinese gamelan. His theatrical and operatic works have received numerous awards and commissions, with performances at significant festivals and symphonic concert series worldwide. He is Professor of Music at the College of the Holy Cross (MA).



WRUU Interview

Interview with Dave Lake


— Dave Lake, 2.15.2024

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