Saturday, March 9, 2019, 1pm – Concert 4 – Hart Recital Hall — Utt Building
Ben Luca Robertson
Ben Luca Robertson — Harmonic Wand
Rainshadow is an exploration of physical space and the derivative structures that link one’s immediate surroundings within a larger topographical/spectral framework. Using a pair of hand-held transducers, the performer probes surfaces in the environment to capture minute impulse signals. These impulses are transformed using a variation of Karplus-Strong synthesis, with all synthesis parameters controlled via a secondary tactile interface. Therein, the harmonic structure of the piece is derived through specific intersections of the overtone and undertone series, constituting a 13-limit system of Just Intonation. Merging micro- and macro-topology, the score traces geographical features along Interstate 90, providing a figurative translation of concurrent changes in elevation and annual precipitation along the route spanning east-to-west across Washington State.
Ben Luca Robertson is a composer, experimental luthier, and co-founder of Aphonia Recordings. His work addresses an interest in autonomous processes, landscape, and biological systems—often supplanting narrative structure with an emphasis on the physicality of sound, spectral tuning systems, and microtonality. Growing up in the inland Pacific Northwest, impressions of Ponderosa pine trees, channel scablands, basalt outcroppings, and relics of boomtown decay haunt his work. Ben holds an M.A. in Music Composition from Eastern Washington University, a B.A. from the Evergreen State College, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Composition and Computer Technologies at the University of Virginia. In the Summer of 2015, he was appointed to a guest research position at the Tampere Unit for Computer-Human Interactions (TAUCHI) in Finland and recently collaborated with biologists from the University of Idaho to sonify migratory patterns of Chinook Salmon in the Snake River watershed.
The media is filled all over with natural disaster, accidents and manmade disaster. These disasters force the heavy bondage of humans, from which there is no escape. Regardless who or what caused these disasters, they are the invasions of human’s life.
In Invasion, nature sound, warfare sound and human life sound were processed, multitracked, and mixed into new textures. And these new sounds are live controlled by motion track sensor – Kinect in Max/MSP.
Qi Shen, born and raised in China, is currently a doctoral composition student at the University of North Texas, studying composition with Kirsten Broberg, Andrew May, Jon Nelson, Panayiotis Kokoras and Joseph Klein. Her former composition instructors are Yao Zhuang, Charles Nichols and Simon Hutchinson. Her musical works reveal the perplexity and confusion in her inner world. She has been seeking the truth of life from Ancient Eastern philosophy and culture. She composes acoustic and electronic music, for large and chamber ensembles, and fixed music, interactive music and new media. Her works have been presented at conferences and festivals, such as the International Computer Music Conference, the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States National Conference, Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium, MUSICACOUSTICA-BEIJING festival, Mountain Computer Music Festival, SCI Region VII Conference, CEMIcircles, National Student Electronic Music Event, Charlotte New Music Festival, SCI National Student Conference and SPLICE Festival.
EYES: OPEN is a sort of collage written at the end of my master’s degree at BGSU. The piece uses recordings of acoustic pieces I wrote while at BGSU as the only source material. Taking a step back, I wanted to reflect on another side of my creative impulse; the majority of my acoustic music is slow, contemplative, and involves a kaleidoscopic approach to material, but here, I wanted to explore the opposite. I wanted to be loud, and express the beauty that I find in the distorted, crumpled, and broken which so often escapes me in acoustic composition. Of course, I don’t think any sort of dynamic is better or worse than another, but taking my delicate music and throwing it on its head was a fantastic way to end my time in Ohio. In the end, I find that this piece is beautiful and delicate as well, it just has thorns.
Kory Reeder’s music is meditative and atmospheric, investigating ideas of objectivity, place, immediacy, quiet, and stasis. Kory draws inspiration from the techniques found in the visual arts, as well as nature, astronomy, and history, translating their structural elements into musical form. His music has been performed in festivals and concerts across North America, Asia, Australia, and Europe, and has been recognized internationally as well as through ASCAP. Kory has been artist-in-residence at Arts Letter and Numbers, and the Kimmel, Harding, Nelson Center for the Arts. Kory has frequently collaborated with theater, dance, and opera programs, and has been awarded by The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Kory is currently pursuing a PhD. in music composition at the University of North Texas and holds a BM from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and a MM Bowling Green State University. For more, please visit www.koryreeder.com
Suite for Four Items from a Thrift Shop
Mnemosyne Quartet: Michael Miller – Bass Clarinet and Cup, Eli Hougland – Electronics and Rotary Phone, Russell Thorpe – Alto Saxophone and Toy Elephant, Ted King-Smith – Alto Saxophone and Bowl.
As a composer Ted King-Smith is interested in the combination of acoustic and electronic forces in music, and emphasizes virtuosity and improvisation in his works. Recent recognition for his music has come from The National Band Association, I Care if You Listen, the American Prize, and BMI. Ted’s music has been featured at numerous conferences and festivals as well as Late Night at National Sawdust, and WFMT and WKCR. He holds degrees from the Hartt School of Music, Washington State University, and the University of Missouri – Kansas City. Ted is on faculty at Kansas City Kansas Community College and Johnson County Community College where he teaches courses in music technology, music, and multimedia.
Mnemosyne Quartet is a Kansas City-based ensemble dedicated to multimedia collaboration, commissioning composers, and developing a distinctive language of crafted improvisation inspired by the environments with which they perform.
Improvisation, for Experimental Violin Automaton
Karl F. Gerber
Karl F. Gerber on the Laptop Keyboard (Improvisor); sound generated by Automaton
“Improvisation for Experimental Violin Automaton”
A kinetic art object for virtuoso music performance. The live score is generated by the “formula improvisation” developed by me. I have developed the experimental violin playing machine to perform algorithmic compositions “without speakers” in real time. I have a degree in physics, but my style of work is different from “robot” engineers. Belcanto is not intended: but maybe the new music must also arrive at the mechanical instruments. With appropriate configuration, advanced playing techniques in the sense of Lachenmann’s Musique ‘Concrète Instrumentale’ are possible. I continue to develop the project on all levels of the overall system: mechanics, electronics hardware and Software. Finger and bow movements are now technically independent:
impulsively modulated poly rhythms arise. The three (!) independent
bows allow me to explore interesting interlocking rhythms and polyphony. A side effect of my analog “old school” technology: no stepper motors, no Arduino, no RaspberryPi, no PWM, no MAX / MSP, no toplap. However Arduino (as Teensy) is just around the corner …
The MIDI control information (the notation, as it were) is generated in real-time by using a formula parser to evaluate the formulas I have designed.
So no live-coding but music-related communication with the computer.
In this live performance, I will change formulas, link, recall pre-saved formulas, or select whole pages with formulas: Improvisation.
Karl F. Gerber
Born in 1954 in Lörrach (Germany), he began playing electric bass at the age of 16. After completing his apprenticeship as a physics lab technician, he completed his high school diploma and at the same time studied musicology in Freiburg i.Br. as a guest music student.
After turning completely to jazz, he studied double bass with Adelhard Roidinger in Munich. From the LMU Munich he obtained a M.Sc. in physics.
Real-time mathematical composition experiments began in 1984 with C64 in assembler.
Live Algorithmic Performance: “Improvisation with Integers” was a co-improvisation with the University of Michigan Dancers; ICMC 1998.
To improvise with the computer meant for him editing formulas on the screen from 1998 onwards. Since 2004 this has been reclaimed as “livecoding”.
“Beautiful Numbers” was awarded in Bourges as “Music for Dance”.
A Siemens scholarship led to “UnarieUnbegleitet”, the voice of a singer controlling an acoustic computer piano in real time. His current work-in-progress “violin automaton” uses algorithmic computer control to play on a virtuoso acoustic-mechanical instrument he has built. Although this project is totally experimental in every way, it is very well accepted by New Music Experts and even visitors to Maker Fairs including children.
Kittie Cooper, performer
Earth Mother is a custom-built electronic instrument based on a female archetype of femininity, vitality, and creation. The Earth Mother produces life from within herself—all things come from her, are nurtured by her, and eventually return to her.
Through physical contact, the performer is incorporated into the Earth Mother’s electrical circuit. Current flows through both bodies, and sound emerges with the forming and reforming of connections.
Kittie Cooper is a composer, performer, and educator based in Charlottesville, Virginia. She makes art that incorporates feminism and explores the spectrum between silliness and seriousness. Her work has been called “highly original and wonderfully fun”. She is interested in text and graphic scores, improvisation, and DIY electronic instruments.
Kittie teaches Music and English Language Arts at the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind. She holds a BM from Northwestern University in music education and guitar performance, and is pursuing a Master’s degree in special education at George Mason University. In her spare time, she enjoys taking care of the stray cats in her neighborhood.
Hearing Corwin Hall
Michael Wittgraf, computers
Hearing Corwin Hall was composed in 2018 and 2019 in reaction to the demolition of the buildings of what used to be Wesley College on the campus of the University of North Dakota. The buildings were torn down during a spate of demolition on campus that coincided with a series of budget cuts from the state and a change in leadership at UND. For some, the demolition of a large number of buildings on campus represented a “right-sizing” and a step forward as UND prepares itself for a more austere future focused on profit, STEM, and workforce development. For others, it was and continues to be a time of profound sadness and anger as the pursuit of the intellect and the arts takes a back seat to profit and efficiency for the foreseeable future. Hearing Corwin Hall serves simultaneously as elegy, protest, and catharsis.
Michael Wittgraf is an electronic music composer whose recent work explores live manipulation of feedback, interactive improvisation, and time as data. His music has been performed in North America, Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia, and appears on the Eroica, New Ariel Recordings, and SEAMUS labels. He has awards, commissions, and recognition from ASCAP, Modern Chamber Players, National Symphony Orchestra, Tempus Fugit, Louisiana State University, University of Minnesota, University of North Dakota, Florida State University, PiKappa Lambda, Zeitgeist, Chiara String Quartet, Bush Foundation, North Dakota Council on the Arts, and more.
Mike is a multi-instrumentalists, performing in a variety of genres from classical to rock-and-roll on keyboards, electric bass, saxophones, bassoon, and computer. He holds the title of Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor at the University of North Dakota, where his specialties are music technology, composition, theory, and bassoon.
Doug Nottingham (Director/Percussion), Ted Moore (Percussion), Kyle Hutchins (Percussion), Barry Moon (Percussion), Kerry Hagan (Percussion), Miller Puckette (Percussion)
“King” is based on a progressive rock song. The piece is for 6 percussionists, each with their own computer processing. Each computer has its own amplification to make spatial relationships more obvious and interesting. Computers are housed in boxes that give the performer directions via blinking lights for beats, and servo displays for density (amount of activity), variability of beat, and loudness. Each computer takes an analysis of one track of a 5.1 recording and attempts to process live percussion sounds to sound similar to the recorded track. This is done via a machine learning algorithm: the piece is in constant flux, sounding more like the recorded song on each subsequent performance.
As with other pieces in this series, it is intended for performance in non-standard environments, such as the foyer of a recital hall, where the audience can move around the performers to change their perspective on sounds produced.
I have been combining various forms of art and technology for the past 25+ years. I like to create meaningful interactions between humans and computers. I have worked in several collaborations with other artists, and consider sound to be my central focus, but am interested in video, sculpture, dance, data, etc. I teach in the Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance program at Arizona State University.