Composition graduate student Nick Norton's work, "In Ecclesia," performed at National Sawdust in NYC

(h)artDrive playing my piece In Ecclesia at National Sawdust on May 7. Video by Lawrence Mesich.
(h)artDrive playing Norton's piece, "In Ecclesia," at National Sawdust on May 7, 2017 in Brooklyn, NY. Video by Lawrence Mesich.
UCSB graduate composition student Nick Norton's piece In Ecclesia was performed by (h)artDrive (guitarists Nadav Lev and Giacomo Baldelli) at National Sawdust, an artist-led, non-profit venue, on May 7, 2017 in Brooklyn, NY. Norton originally wrote In Ecclesia for Ignition Duo, who released the piece on their first album, Ablaze Amidst The Horns
About In Ecclesia
When considering the purpose of chants written for the cathedrals and monasteries of the medieval era, to drone on and on and imbue listeners and singers alike with a trance-like sense of the eternal, I began wondering what situations in my own semi-atheist, semi-deist experience do the same for me. The answer, I quickly realized, came in the form of the ecstatic bodily response I get from heavily amplified music. And drone metal, musically speaking, isn't all that far from chant.
As such, I married one of the oldest chants in the book – the dorian cantus firmus from Fux's Gradus Ad Parnassum – to the sound of the spaces I love most and feel most comforted by, that of the communion we all take in the concert hall or circle pit. Hence the title, In Ecclesia, as this is my church.
I wrote the piece for Ignition Duo. I am grateful to them for their hard work in refining it and for the awesome recording they released on their first album, Ablaze Amidst The Horns.
About Nick Norton
Nick Norton is – like you – made from materials forged in the cores of stars. The composer/guitarist/concert- producer was born in Los Angeles approximately 13.6 billion years after the universe and has been making music ever since. He is deeply interested in the colorful grey areas between genres, creating new experiences for listeners, and destroying social barriers to enjoying music. In pursuit of this he founded and runs Equal Sound and New Classic LA, and has collaborated with HOCKET, gnarwhallaby, Ensemble Mise En, the Argus, Friction, and Formalist quartets, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Wild Rumpus, Synchromy, What’s Next? Ensemble, Ignition Duo, and numerous soloists. He plays guitar, bass, and electronics in The Newports, Honest Iago, and Better Looking People With Superior Ideas. The LA Times describes his music as crazy, NewMusicBox referred to his pieces as “visceral sonic haiku,” and Fool In The Forest said they were “fit to melt steel.” Nick really enjoys craft beer, sci fi, and being near or in the ocean, and holds degrees from UC San Diego and King’s College London. He is currently pursuing his PhD in composition from UC Santa Barbara, where he also teaches.
Learn more about Nick at
(h)artDrive playing Norton's piece, In Ecclesia, at National Sawdust on May 7, 2017. Video by Lawrence Mesich.