Facing Fire is an exhibition that explores western wildfires as omen and elemental force, as metaphor and searing personal experience. Fire tends to spread. So, too, does the meaning of fire. Sixteen artists bring us photographs, paintings, drawings, ceramic, and video as they face fire, sift its aftermath, and struggle with the implications. UCR ARTS is collaborating UCR’s Department of Music to present original compositions created by students and faculty around artworks found in the exhibition.

The faculty and student composers in the UCR Music Department work in a variety of media drawn from influences that range from hip-hop to experimental electronic music. The approaches for each piece within the Facing Fire project are highly individualized. Some works are fully scored compositions for classical instruments, others use external source material and text taken from other mediums, such as video game soundtracks and news reports. Their compositions are a testament to the importance of expressing one’s creative impulses during times of uncertainty and isolation.

About the composer/composition:

Patrick Gibson: Improvisations based on Noah Berger’s “Shooting Low” (2020)

Patrick Gibson is a composer, songwriter, educator, electric guitarist, and vocalist based in Anaheim, California. He is the General Music Teacher and Choir Director at Cubberley K-8 School, Fremont Elementary School, and Patrick Henry Dual Immersion Elementary School in the Long Beach Unified School District. He holds a PhD in Digital Music Composition from the University of California, Riverside; an M.M. in Music Composition from California State University Long Beach; an M.Ed. from National University; and a B.A. in Music Theory and Voice from Loyola Marymount University. He composes and conducts concert music for his chamber group, the Martians, and has composed pieces for ensembles and artists from around the world, including members of the California E.A.R. Unit; flutist Sarah Carrier; the Robin Cox Trio; HUB New Music Ensemble; Transient Canvas; ensemble PHASE (South Korea); the Argus Quartet; the Eclipse Quartet; the Friction Quartet; Los Angeles Percussion Quartet; ensemble Fret; PHAZE Ensemble (University of Redlands); guitarist, Pedro López de la Osa; cellist, Maksim Velichkin; pianists, Christian Dubeau and Soo Lee Biancalana; saxophonist, Kelsey Broersma; and harpist, Gracie Sprout. He also composes media music for clients, and composes rock music for his band, Kirk Out.

Image: Noah Berger, Justin Sullivan shooting low, Camp Fire, Dye sublimation print on aluminum, 2018, Courtesy of the artist and Associated Press