Devon Tipp-"Solo"

Music By: Devon Tipp

Shaped by sonic sensitivity from a young age, Devon Tipp creates unorthodox musical environments from ostensibly incompatible realms. A PhD student at the University of Pittsburgh, he is equally at home composing for deconstructed western woodwinds, folk instruments, Harry Partch instruments, or western orchestra, drawing influence from rich Japanese and Eastern European roots, alongside experiences in Nordic countries. He received his Bachelor of Music from Montclair State University, where he studied composition and microtonal music with Dean Drummond, bassoon with Harry Searing, and shakuhachi with Elizabeth Brown. He also has studied gagaku (traditional Japanese court music) in Tokyo, Japan. His music has been performed by microtonal specialists Kjell Tore Innervik, Veli Juhala, and Tolgahan Cogulu. Additionally, he has worked with Rarescale, the Thin Edge, New Music Collective, the Sudbury Guitar Trio, and members of Avanti! Chamber Orchestra. His compositions have been featured at the Soundscape Festival, Bowdoin Festival, Atlantic Music Festival, Savellyspaja Summer Composition Masterclasses, and the Tokyo International Double Reed Society Conference. For more information, please visit

The structure of Solo is inspired by the delicate process of creating Majorana fermions, man-made particles that exist within ten thousandths of a degree above absolute zero. The composition begins with an imagined space being systematically chilled. The cellist and bassist represent the superconducting nanowires used to create these particles. The strings are immersed in powerful magnetic fields, until a Majorana emerges at near zero energy. The strongest inspiration for the piece came when Sergey Frolov described Majorana fermions as a Zen particle. They are without charge, without mass, without energy, without spin. “It is as close to nothing as anything can be,” explains Frolov. Like Zen, these particles are easier to define by the things that they are not. This struck a significant chord within Tipp, as the concept of nothing is a central tenant of Zen Buddhism. Solo is not only a narrative exploration of the creation of Majoranas, but also an exploration of nothingness. With this project, Tipp endeavors to better understand both concepts.