Sam Wells

School of Music, Performer/Composer, DMA


“polymyth 1” was premiered on Episode 85 of Metropolis Ensemble’s House Music video series.

"Composer and Trumpeter Sam Wells first moved to Los Angeles 18 months ago. It was there that he began to immerse himself in desert ecology, exploring the vast, dusty landscape of the Mojave Desert. He’s always been an outdoorsy person, traversing the mountains of the east coast, but the desert is new to him. Its wide open, barren land seems like a cradle of history—you can see the volcanoes and ancient rock formations of Earth’s past—but at the same time, standing there it feels as if there’s no time at all. So, he’s set out to make music that evokes that feeling of endlessness and interwoven past and present. “polymyth 1” is a movement from a larger, still untitled work that unites these ideas.

"Wells began working with Metropolis Ensemble in 2017 when he performed works by electroacoustic composer Paula Matthusen. Since, he’s played with the group at a festival at Bryant Park and at Symphony Space for Bill Brittelle’s Spiritual America. He looks back on each experience fondly, remembering the performances for their high quality and the engaging music he played.

"Beyond its desert inspiration, “polymyth 1” is an exploration of how stories are passed down generation-to-generation, using translucent, layered video and sonic effects to illustrate the ways that stories morph and transform throughout time while maintaining the same core threads. Increasingly, Wells’s practice equally involves recording, editing, and performing, and here, he puts this multimedia style on display. The piece is essentially a trumpet octet, where Wells plays each part. Four of the parts are notated, while four are improvised. What we hear is a weaving, intricate chorale; what we see is an image of Wells that moves in and out of focus alongside the music to illuminate the ways that mythologies are constantly in motion."— Vanness Ague for Metropolis Ensemble