Concerto for Having Fun with Elvis on Stage

Bb Clarinet, Guitar/Keyboard, Double-Bass, Movement, and “Having Fun with Elvis on Stage”
2019 / 2020

A collaboration with performer/director Alexander Gedeon, Concerto for Having Fun with Elvis on Stage combines live music and theatrical performance to reframe the cultural significance of the “worst album in rock and roll history.”

“Having Fun with Elvis on Stage” is a 1973 album collaged entirely from Elvis speaking on stage between songs at live concerts – no music. AllMusic’s Mark Deming declared “hearing it is like witnessing a car wreck, leaving onlookers too horrified and too baffled to turn away.” Concerto for Having Fun with Elvis on Stage reimagines this vilified recording as the libretto for a sort of ghost opera, combining pop art nostalgia with new technology and classical instruments to create a memetic hologram of the endless purgatory of celebrity afterlife.

My live musical score is performed along with the original LP as if they were the pit orchestra for opera or musical theater – sometimes harmonizing with the words, painting emotions in the spaces between, or reacting theatrically. Meanwhile, Gedeon’s “Elvis” persona becomes a vehicle to explore all things banal and absurd in pop idolatry, as well as the performative aspects of ‘stage presence.’