IEP: Meet Aaryn S. Ricucci-Hill
I am so excited and grateful for my collaboration and friendship I share with Aaryn! They were among one of the first composers to express interest, support, and join the I Exist Project. I love their compositional aesthetic and wit; beautifully melding emotion, harmony, and melody.
I cannot wait to premiere Queer Turquoise later this year in April at the North American Saxophone Alliance Conference with composer/pianist Kevin Day!
- Nick May
Aaryn S. Ricucci-Hill (b. 1992) hails from Troy, MO, currently based out of Kansas City, MO. With a focus on the queer experience, Ricucci-Hill writes with intentionality and care to craft bespoke musical environments engaging with the complexities and sometimes banalities of life through a variety of disparate, if not ultimately desirable, means.
Ricucci-Hill has a passion for fruitful collaborations, which has led them to work with a variety of ensembles, organizations, and musicians. Notable partnerships include Lyric Opera of KC, Don-Paul Kahl (saxophone), The Troubled Euphs, Playground Ensemble, Plaza Winds, and Musica Nova. Ricucci-Hill’s music has been featured at various conferences and festivals including Zodiac Music Festival (2016), Oregon Bach Festival (2018), CMS Northwestern Conference (2023), and the North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA) conference (2023). Additionally, their work has received honors from the Abundant Silence Composition Competition (2017, Forest Rituals) and the ASCAP Morton Gould competition (2021, Colors of Pride (honorable mention)).
Beyond composition, they currently have the honor of serving as Vice President of the Festival for Creative Pianists and their publishing arm, Abundant Silence (2022-present). In addition, they’ve worked closely with No Divide KC to craft their annual Come As You Are event since 2021. Formerly, they sat on the Board of Directors for the Gateway Festival Orchestra of St. Louis for three seasons and is also an alum of Phi Mu Alpha-Pi Zeta chapter.
They graduated from the Conservatory of Music and Dance, UMKC with their B.M and M.M in Composition (2018, 22’).
Queer Turquoise for alto saxophone and piano (upright/grand) (2022)
Queer Turquoise is a piece meant to embody that sense of magic and mystery. Queerness being likened to mystical and magical language is something that persists today and this piece looks to dress in its garb, providing all manners of little tricks for both players to pull from. The piece even has its own form of secret magic words in the form of musical cyphers hidden throughout the work. The piece calls for the saxophonist to do a variety of techniques, such as singing through the instrument, multiphonics, and tongue slaps, and the pianist has an extended tonal pallet, utilizing both an upright piano with a practice pedal engaged throughout and a standard grand for accomplishing both sweeping, orchestral-scale gestures and solitudinal, chant-like whispers, allowing the audience to become enchanted by the transfiguration of instrumental timbres. This piece was commissioned by Nick May in Fall 2022 for the I Exist Project.