On November 19 at 7 pm, Upgrade! Tennessee will welcome Aaron Doenges to the Austin Peay Downtown Gallery for a performance and discussion. The new Austin Peay Downtown Gallery is housed in a small, two-story building, tucked away in downtown Clarksville at 116 Strawberry Alley.
There was an earthquake in Ohio on the day Aaron was born. And things haven’t stopped shaking since…
Sitting on the bench in front of an abbreviated spinet, composer/arranger/sound artist Aaron Hoke Doenges started down his musical path before his feet could reach the piano pedals. As a six-year-old in small town Ohio, he passed the time and began his aural explorations mimicking his sisters’ practice and picking out songs by ear. His parents, recognizing the potential he had, arranged further study and under the guidance and support of local church-lady-piano-teachers, he soon progressed, giving his first public recital at the age of 7, performing his first original arrangement at fourteen, and wining several local and regional piano competitions during his high school years. He continued his piano study up until college where he began his formal composition education with Dr. Geri Rosser. Since then, he has continued his musical studies at The Contemporary Music Center on Martha’s Vineyard, Universität Potsdam, Germany, and Belmont University in Nashville where he received his Masters in Music Composition under the instruction of Dr. Bryan Clark and Dr. Paul Godwin. Now, Doenges continues to explore through listening, writing and musical experimentation, searching the world around him for thoughts, sounds and melodies that can be pieced together in ways to provoke attention, thought and perhaps dialog.
While influences ranging from J.S. Bach and Arnold Schoenberg to John Cage, Edgard Varese’, Jonty Harrison, Radiohead and Sigur Ros are present in Doenges’ approach to music, he blends his unique electro-acoustic style through a collage of aural pictures. He searches his surroundings for sounds and samples, pieces them together like a puzzle, and waits to see what the picture looks like. When asked how he describes his music, Doenges says, “I never try to define my music too much…definition seems to eliminate possibilities for me. Instead, I like to take whatever influences, motivates, or provokes me, find its sound and bring it together with other sounds and influences, perhaps by trying to tell a story, seeing what happens. Sometimes the result surprises me. It almost always makes me think.”