Todd Reynolds: “Transamerica”
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Violinist, composer, and producer Todd Reynolds has taken on an outsider, almost renegade role in music. Though he had a strict classical upbringing and a leading seat in an orchestra, Reynolds took his own path for a more personal means of expression, utilizing electronic loops and effects as a context for his dizzying improvisational instrumentation and emotive compositions.
His new double album, Outerborough, is an all-encompassing look at the myriad ways that the artist creates and collaborates, with one half of the album composed and performed entirely by Reynolds, and the other a disc of Reynolds performing pieces written by friends such as Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong of The Books, Michael Gordon, David Lang, Phil Kline, and more. Speaking with Reynolds from his home studio, the virtuoso experimentalist shares his passion for music and explains why he choose the path that he did.
What was your musical upbringing?
Well, I’ve been playing the violin since the age of four. Around high school, I ended up studying with the late, great violinist Jascha Heifetz, one of the most famous concert violinists who ever lived. I then went to music school back in Rochester, joined the Rochester Philharmonic, and was principle second violin. I then moved back to New York, went back to school, and began my career.
When did you start exploring electronics as part of your compositions?
Even from my earliest days of college, I was interested in the outside aspects and the avant-garde side of music. So I was pretty heavily invested in that music. But I started using electronics shortly after I left the orchestra. I went back to school to get a master’s degree, and it was in that time that I went in that direction.