Skip navigation

Tofte Lake Center’s Emerging Artists Program – 2010
Made possible by the Jerome Foundation

Name: Cory Grossman

Mailing Address:

1960 Ordway St
Golden Valley, MN 55422

Phone: 612-309-4619
Email Address:

• I am/We are applying for:
_✓_ August 9-15 Group Project Week

Describe the project you plan to work on at TLC:

The piece we plan to compose will explore combinations of musical textures and spoken poetry. The basic form will be similar to ‘concerto grosso’ form, in which the intended focus alternates between the soloist (Lisa) and the larger ensemble, with a relatively unobtrusive musical accompaniment during solo sections. We plan to begin with an instrumental, structured ‘free improvisation’ (free of meter and key center, and only loosely notated).  This will set the stage for the solo section, where Lisa reads the first section of her poem while the quartet provides an accompaniment. The instrumental/musical aspect will develop in tandem with the text throughout the piece, in the form of textures and motifs, as well as relationship between poet and accompaniment.

• Where are you in your process at this time?
Here’s an excerpt of our first stab at collaborating with Lisa – this is representative of about an hour of group discussion and a couple days of individual contemplation/interpretation of Lisa’s poem: “how now then, shall we proceed.”  Before we began playing, we decided on a handful of specifics/restraints: no strict key center, but a ‘focal pitch’ of F; a non-metered rhythmic pulsing, reminiscent of Jon Adams.  Greg has drawn up a musical sketch of the texture and motives he wants the introduction section to utilize, drawing off of what we synthesized in the improvised recording.  We will not necessarily be working on this specific poem of Lisa’s during our residency, but this work is representative of the early stages of what we plan to do.

• What are your goals and desired outcomes for your week-long residency?

What we are trying to accomplish with Lisa is to create something that is unique, artistically enriching and fulfilling. As composers/musicians we will have a chance to experiment with different kinds of interactions between spoken poetry and music, as well as develop our understanding of the interplay between artistic integrity and entertainment value.

As a group, we are very confident that we can comfortably compose and rehearse at least one 10-15 minute collaborative piece.  Ideally, we’d like to put on an entire concert at the end of the week, with our week’s work as the centerpiece.  Lulu’s Playground would play some music and Lisa would recite poetry (as separate entities), and then we’d present our collaborative piece.

• This residency is geared specifically for emerging artists. What is your definition of the term and how do you feel it applies to you? In thinking about the statement “I will have emerged when…”, describe how the project you are working on at TLC will help you move closer to this goal.

An ’emerging artist’ is somebody who has mastered the fundamental skills of their respective art form, and who is exploring the avenues and boundaries of her/his own artistic expression. We are all recent college graduates with Bachelors degrees in our respective artistic fields, and we’re focusing on carving out a niche for ourselves in the Twin Cities art scene.  This opportunity would not only give us the time/focus we need to create something exciting, polished and thoughtful, but would also inspire confidence in ourselves and draw attention to our work.

• Please let us know why you want to do this work in an artists’ community?

What the 5 of us plan to do at TLC is to immerse ourselves in the act of creation and test the boundaries of our artistic capabilities.  I believe that the beautiful facilities and direct access to the outdoors makes for a gloriously productive and healthy situation in which to harness creative energy.  It’s also an amazing opportunity to be temporarily free of distractions such as day jobs, band rehearsals, school, friends and bars for an entire week (an opportunity that none of us have come across before).  Most importantly, we’ll be surrounded by artists of all different genres who can provide feedback and act as sounding-boards for our ideas.  One of our primary objectives is to reach out and profoundly entertain and inspire audience members who aren’t necessarily involved in our respective art forms.  We believe that we can achieve this through an intensely interdisciplinary collaboration, and that this is the perfect opportunity and setting in which to launch our first major project together.

• Relevant Experience: Please include a bio below or enclose a resume.

– Lisa Brimmer has been writing in the Twin Cities area for the last six years.  In June of 2009 she attended the Juniper Summer Writers Institute week long workshop. Currently living in Minneapolis, she is a fellow through the Given’s Foundation of African American Literature and a member of Nu Griots III. A poet, she is currently collaborating with the talented Lulu’s Playground and experimenting with play writing. Her work has been published in the Summit Avenue Review and Konch Literary Magazine as well as showcased in the Lowertown Reading Jam Series hosted by the Saint Paul Almanac at the Black Dog Cafe.

– Evan Montgomery is a composer, arranger, performer, and budding luthier and guitar repair technician in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. He is a 2009 graduate of Lawrence University, and received his BM in classical guitar with a jazz emphasis. While there he performed with musicians such as Benny Golson, Ingrid Jensen, and Kenny Wheeler to name a few. While there he studied under Nathan Wysock, Steve Peplin, and (during a year off living in Milwaukee) with Jack Grassel.
For the past year he’s been studying the luthier trade at Southeast Tech in Red Wing, MN and will soon have a diploma in guitar building and repair. He’s currently performing in the Twin Cities area with various groups, including The Jana Nyberg Group, Lulu’s Playground, and various hip-hop, funk, soul, and modern jazz projects. He has been teaching privately for close to 10 years and is currently building a studio of students in Minnesota.
He released his first record as a leader in 2009, entitled “The Insufficiency of Rain”, which features many of his friends and colleagues from Lawrence University, and which Evan considers the capstone of his time at Lawrence.

Adam Meckler

– Cory Grossman is a freelance composer, arranger, and classical/jazz cellist.  He graduated from Lawrence University with a Bachelors of Music (cello performance) in 2009, and has since returned to the Twin Cities to pursue a career in music.  Cory currently performs with Lulu’s Playground and a variety of pop, funk, hip-hop, folk (eastern-European, Latin-American, Americano…), and blues projects.

– Greg Woodsbie graduated from Lawrence University with a Bachelor of Music (piano performance) in 2008.

• Materials Required. Please describe what resources you need. Are any of these ones which you cannot provide yourself?

We will provide our own instruments, PA system, microphones/stands and music stands. We should only need 4 or 5 chairs supplied for us.  I would be great to have a large whiteboard in the rehearsal space on which we can scribble and brainstorm.

• Work samples. Please attach a prior work sample and explain how it relates to the project you are submitting. This would help us get a sense of your style, aesthetic, voice, etc. Examples could be 10-15 pages of written work, art portfolio photos, and 10-15 minute performance excerpts. You could send as an attachment or send us the link online.

Work by Lisa Brimmer:

Ishmael Reed

Attention to detail

how now then, shall we proceed

Letter to my Father

Lulu’s Playground

Springtime: an improvisation

• Please list the names and roles of your collaborators:

1. Lisa Brimmer (poet/composer)

– – “Lulu’s Playground” is:
2. Cory Grossman (cellist/composer)
3. Adam Meckler (trumpeter/composer)
4. Evan Montgomery (guitarist/composer)
5. Greg Woodsbie (accordionist/composer)


One Comment

  1. This looks awesome Cory, thank you for putting this all together!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: