“Orienting Response was written specifically for Cristian Alvear at his request. In writing the piece I wanted to see if I could create the same kind of focus and intensity I have created with percussion instruments using an instrument (the nylon stringed guitar) that is naturally not well-equipped to produce the type of timbres or high dynamic levels that I have worked with up to this point.”

Sarah Hennies


The score Orienting Response (2015-16), written by Sarah Hennies specifically for Chilean guitarist Cristián Alvear, is composed of six parts with short instructions describing some unusual techniques, such as:

Play as accurately and consistently as possible but with the assumption that “mistakes” are inevitable.
Allow “mistakes” to occur, do not attempt to correct them.
All sounds should ring freely (as long as is possible) unless otherwise indicated.
All timings and tempi are approximate and flexible.


Sarah Hennies, one of the most compelling young American composers, works on the narrow edge between contemporary composing, solo percussion creation and a virtuous improvisation in projects as Meridian and Obody. In Orienting Response she keeps on observing and exploring even more deeply various percussive acoustic phenomenas, which are on this record, hidden inside of classical guitar body.

Mappa presents a neverending cassette loop, a radical approach to reductive repetition, created out of minimal material with maximal precision, modesty, and canniness.


Ilia Belorukov para Syg Magazine (RU)
"Кристиан Альвеар полностью погружается в композиторские указания, но не забывает о звуке инструмента, что крайне важно для исполнителя. Мельчайшие нюансы его игры дают слушателю богатый материал для размышлений или же просто удовольствия от музыки: выбирайте, что Вам нужно."

James Wyness para Fouter & Swick (US)
"The score Orienting Response (2015-16), written by American composer and percussionist Sarah Hennies specifically for Chilean guitarist Cristian Alvear, meets these requirements in full. I’ve never seen the words ‘canny’, or even ‘modesty’ used to describe a style or type of music, but they’re both correct. A measure of restraint, a humility in the offering and yet a confidence in the impact that such approaches can sustain."

Frans de Waard para Vital Weekly (NL)
“This is certainly not easy listening music, and I can easily imagine some people would be annoyed by it but this is the kind of music that demands a different mindset when listening to it, one that perhaps requires a more Zen-like approach to listening to music. I thought this was all quite
fascinating music, both from a meditative point of view, as well as a more 'objective' music-lover position.”

Paul Margree para We Need no Swords (UK)
“It’s no surprise, then, that Alvear is so well-suited to Sarah Hennies, who is fast becoming one of the most interesting new(ish) composers emerging from that space. While sharing many of the concerns of the Wandelweiser group – emptiness, silence, an often-deceptive simplicity and so on – as well as an interest in the rhythmic pulse mined by a particular strain of the minimalist old guard, Hennies is developing an aesthetic wholly her own.”

attn:magazine (UK)
"As listeners and human beings, in our wonderful imperfections and inconsistencies, we can appreciate that our very inimitability resides in the distance we fall from the exact. Because of this, Alvear is excused for every single buzz, scuff and instrumental cough he allows to spill over the sides, because Orienting Response is all the more beautiful for them."

Paul Khimasia Morgan para The Sound Projector (UK)
“…he has got to be one of the most interesting guitarists around at present, certainly that I’m aware of. His technical mastery of the instrument, idiosyncratic playing style, openness and sheer raw interest in the sound-making possibilities of the guitar have made for quite a number of excellent releases in recent years.”