Zack Browning is a composer whose music has been described as “way-cool in attitude…speed-demon music” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution) and “propulsive, giddy, rocking… a rush of cyclic riffs and fractured meters” (The New York Times). The Irish Times has proclaimed he is “bringing together the procedures of high musical art with the taste of popular culture”.
Zack Browning's recent composition awards include the 2013 Directors' Choice Award from Boston Metro Opera a 2011 Individual Artist Project Grant from the Illinois Arts Council, and a 2010 University of Illinois FAA Creative Fellowship for research and performances in China, Taiwan, and South Korea.
NakedEye is honored to be added to a long list of prominent commissioners of Zack's music that includes Bang on a Can, PRISM Quartet, and Cadillac Moon Ensemble. Decade of the Dragon pays homage to the 10 long years of the Vietnam War with poignant references to popular images and music that shaped this country's fears and hopes. This is Zack Browning's first piece for NakedEye and he's intuited the ensemble's style and energy with uncanny insight. We hope this marks the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship.
"Decade of the Dragon (2015) was commissioned by NakedEye Ensemble and was written to mark the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Vietnam War (February 7, 1965) and the 40th anniversary of the end of the war (April 30, 1975). Feng shui is applied to those dates to create the overall structure of the work. Musical materials are created to reflect events and their associated feelings taken from the ten-year war. This is achieved by applying feng shui to two Pulitzer Prize winning photographs, “Saigon Execution” (February 1, 1968) and “Napalm Girl” (June 8, 1972), and by using two rock tunes from 1967 ("White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane and "For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield). In addition, variations on a melody taken from traditional Vietnamese music called “City of Dragons" emulates the pride of the Vietnamese people and the country’s recognition as the “Land of the Ascending Dragon”. – Zack Browning