The Building of Asgard
for six percussionists and their voices
Alex Smith, Alex Braud, Joey Carter, Daniel Gardner, Devon Schmidt, Curtis Stalker
Carl Sagan once said, “From this distant vantage point, the earth may not be of any particular interest; but to us it’s different…In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.”
The text is derived from a poem by Matthew Barbee (b. 1986) and from social media posts by Alex Smith and friends. The plugin design is by Jeff Kaiser. Some rhythmic inspiration is derived from Northeast Brazilian maracatu music.
for clarinet and electronics
Elisabeth Stimpert, clarinet
Broken for clarinet and electronics is a movement from Suite for the Passersby, a large scale work for solo instruments and interactive electronics, designed for the Donald J Hall Sculpture Park at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. Broken is composed in response to Roxy Paine’s stunning sculpture Ferment, a dendroid-like sculpture that uses visual representations of the organic growth of fractals in nature. Since fractals produce such stunning visual effects, I was fascinated to explore the results of applying similar systems to musical elements. Broken is structured around musical fractals, which are embedded into the melodic, harmonic, and timbral elements of the piece.
Evolution (Looking for God)
Voice and laptop
Evolution (Looking for God) is a spiritual journey for live looping voice and laptop, in three movements. The work is a look at change, growth, the search for identity, materialism, gladiator syndrome, pharmacia, and the quest for something bigger than ourselves. The piece opens with breath and moves through a series of extended vocal techniques that represent our development from nothingness, to sentient and powerful beings, that return to nothingness because of that power. The work started 20 years ago as a written list of extended vocal techniques that I wanted to use in a piece. It took a few years for technology to reach a place where I could record and perform what I was hearing. This piece is part of my solo set when touring and presenting. It is my hope that the score and recording serve as a framework for others to create their own realizations. If you would like copies let me know. If your version sounds nothing like mine, that is a good thing.
Hurry and Be Still
for solo iPad
Hurry and Be Still is an exploration about the way we pack our lives with time-sensitive tasks. We find ourselves fighting to do certain things quickly, which in turn force us to wait long periods of time. Emails must be sent ASAP, but we wait days for their response. We must hurry to get to the office on time but wait for the meeting to start. Activities like cooking, home repairs, and travel have become both faster and slower—leaving us to flounder in the extremes.
Christina Butera (b.1987) is a Kansas City-based composer, clarinetist, and teacher interested in both acoustic and electroacoustic music. She is the Vice-President and Artistic Committee Chair of the non-profit arts organization KcEMA (Kansas City Electronic Music and Arts Alliance). Her compositions draw from a diverse range of styles and are particularly focused on structures based on timbral and textural transformations. She is influenced by her experience in Gamelan and Afro-Caribbean drumming, as well as her work in electronic music. Her music has been performed at venues across the country, such as Electronic Music Midwest, Electroacoustic Barn Dance, The Contagious Sounds Series, and GAMMA-UT. She is currently working with the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to compose an immersive and interactive EA piece to be experienced within the bounds of the museum’s famous sculpture park. She recently presented her project on creative real-time analysis of spoken word at IRCAM’s Manifeste-2016 in Paris. Christina earned her BM in Composition at Bucknell University and her MM in Composition at Bowling Green State University. She has studied under composers such as Bill Duckworth, Marilyn Shrude, Mikel Kuehn, Chen Yi, Zhou Long, Jim Mobberley, and Paul Rudy. She is currently working as an audio engineer and completing her DMA at UMKC and teaches music technology and synthesis at Kansas City Kansas Community College.
Hunter Ewen is a dramatic composer, educator, and multimedia designer. During the day, Dr. Ewen teaches students strategies for digital creativity. At night, he composes, solders, choreographs, and videographs solo and collaborative projects around the world. His works rail against the faded borders that separate art from science, music from sound, and meaning from meaninglessness. Ewen values frenzy. He buzzes and sneaks and desperately loves. His work is soothing, startling, virtuosic, and absurd. It grooves with dense, layered textures. It lusts for yowls and yips and wails and squeals. For screams that masquerade as art. For clamor and deviance. His compositions swing from chandeliers. His acoustic compositions garner awards and performances from SEAMUS, Punto y Raya, Ouroboros Review, The Playground Ensemble, Manchester New Music, CSU Fullerton, New Horizons Festival, the Colorado Constitution Day Competition, EMM, Electroacoustic Barn Dance, Gamma UT, Studio 300, and his graphic scores were featured prominently in the Pulitzer Prize nominated book, Armor, Amour, by Amy Pence. Ewen’s work has been performed across North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia by groups like the Beethoven Academy Orchestra, Cairo Symphony, Silesian Philharmonic, Greater Cleveland Flute Society, Science on a Sphere, Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance, Third Coast Percussion, Alarm Will Sound, and by distinguished performers like Greg Banaszak, Lina Bahn, and Bill Mooney. His installations have been seen in the Denver Museum of Art and the Roser Atlas Atrium at CU-Boulder. Ewen’s compositions and orchestrations are published by Ken Dorn, Alphonse LeDuc, Music Minus One, and Theodore Presser. Listen and watch at www.HunterEwen.com.
Conrad Kehn is a composer, performer, educator, and arts administrator. He is the founding Director of The Playground; a chamber ensemble dedicated to modern music. An award-winning composer, his output includes contemporary and traditional chamber music, multi-media works, and popular music. His work lives comfortably in the concert hall, gallery, club and underground DIY warehouse. As a vocalist, Conrad specializes in electronic music, improvisation, and contemporary chamber music. An advocate for arts education, Conrad is lead teaching artist and administrator for Young Composers Playground. His efforts are responsible for the creation and recording or over 50 new K12 chamber works annually. Conrad has two beautiful daughters, Brianna and Eris. They have a considerable influence on his creative output. Their artwork is featured on the covers of his scores. They often appear visually and aurally in his electronic music and video work. Conrad maintains an active schedule of speaking engagements and master classes sharing his experience in musical entrepreneurship, chamber ensemble management, music technology, composition, and creativity in the K12 music curriculum. More information, scores, videos and recordings can be found at www.conradkehn.com
Alex Smith is the professor of percussion at University of Central Missouri where his responsibilities include teaching applied lessons, assisting with the instruction of music technology performance lessons, writing for and instructing the UCM Marching Band percussion section, and percussion ensemble and methods course instruction. He is a DMA candidate in Percussion Performance at Michigan State University where he also received his MA in Ethnomusicology and MM in Percussion Performance (2015). Smith received his BM in Percussion Performance from East Carolina University (2010). Smith has performed with The Lansing Symphony Orchestra, The Brass Band of Battle Creek, The Carolina Brass Quintet, and the Michigan-based reggae band Speak Easy. As a composer, Smith has published with Tapspace. In the area of ethnomusicology, Smith’s research interests involve the consumption culture and sustainability of percussion instruments in the academic percussion community. He has published his work in peer reviewed journals and invited publications such as The Ecomusicology Review, The Percussive Notes Online Research Edition, Perspectives in New Music, The Journal for Musical Arts in Africa, and The UCLA Echo Blog. Smith is also an active craftsperson of marimbas and other percussion instruments and he has studied in Brazil and Ghana.
Elisabeth Stimpert is a founding member of the critically-acclaimed new-music ensemble Alarm Will Sound (www.alarmwillsound.com). She has performed across the country and internationally at major venues in New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Cleveland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Amsterdam, South Korea and Germany. Elisabeth works regularly with many of today’s leading and emerging composers, having presented world premieres of works by John Adams, Steve Reich, John Luther Adams, David Lang, Wolfgang Rihm, Michael Gordon, Augusta Read Thomas, Carl Schimmel, Donnacha Dennehy, Stefan Freund, Robert Pound, John Orfe, David E. Chávez, and many others. A dedicated collegiate music educator, Dr. Stimpert serves as Assistant Professor of Clarinet at the University of Central Missouri where she teaches applied clarinet, aural training, woodwind methods, and woodwind literature and pedagogy. Recent chamber music collaborations include Rivet Duo with Erik Forst (percussion), improvisatory electroacoustic music with Jeff Kaiser (electronics), and faculty wind quintet performances at the University of Central Missouri and Dickinson College. She holds a bachelor’s degree in clarinet performance and music theory from The Ohio State University, a master’s degree in clarinet performance and music education from the Eastman School of Music and a doctorate in clarinet performance from Shenandoah University.