for saxophone and live electronics
Aubiome for saxophone and live electronics is the result of four years of collaborative work between composer Adrian Artacho and saxophonist, Joel Diegert, and it is the major work produced from Joel’s doctorate research project which began in 2013 in Graz, Austria. Aubiome could be considered a “proof of concept” in support of the argumentation in his dissertation, which takes a critical look at the process by which new pieces for saxophone and electronics are written. The final conclusion is that the traditional “genius composer – transcendental work – virtuoso performer” model is not ideal for electronic music where live processing is used in a way that “extends” an acoustic instrument, but rather a “performer-centric approach” to designing electronics systems should be explored.
The way the saxophone is extended and the type of music in Aubiome is very unlikely to have been written by a composer alone, because it emerged over a four year period of hands-on experimentation and cooperative work where the main focus was to explore possible ways that the saxophone and computer might interact. As the result of a research project, Aubiome is not meant to be the ultimate work of its kind, but rather to inspire musicians to begin thinking about electronics in a new way about the possibilities of live electronics processing.
Exploring the nature of human relationships in modern society
The performance will involve several works by living composers, the Khemia Light installation, video projections, and a newly designed projector screen, in a continuous sound and visual installation, all designed and performed by members of Khemia Ensemble. The focus of the performance will center around an original piece of music, “Negative Image,” by composer-in-residence Carolina Heredia, which will be performed with the original video “Fragil,” by visual artist-in-residence Natali Herrea Pacheco. Together, these works reflect our season’s theme, Fragility, which examines the nature of human relationships in modern society. These two works explore relationships that will never be, through stages of disappointment, drama, and separation. The original film will be projected onto thin silk screens interspersed throughout the ensemble where projections will bathe the performers in the images and represent their psychological states and varying perspectives with impressions of fragility, encouraging the audience to reflect on their own experiences of fragility vulnerability. The Khemia Lights, a custom built traveling light installation consisting of eight variable-height lamps that react and respond to the sounds created in the performance, will be used in the remaining part of the performance. The lamps are dispersed among the ensemble on stage, creating an enveloping effect, similar to the effect of a rock or electronic music show. This visual accompaniment offers another perspective to help bridge the gap between listeners and the unfamiliar sounds and structures of contemporary classical art music.
Joel Diegert is an internationally active saxophonist with a wide range of musical interests. His interest in contemporary electronic music led him to pursue his doctoral research on the topic “Extending the Saxophone via Live Electronics,” which resulted in the collaborative work: aubiome. Joel has performed with performed with internationally-renowned ensembles, such as Musikfabrik (Cologne), Phace (Vienna), and the Vienna Saxophonic Orchestra. In addition to his work in contemporary music, Joel has achieved international success as a founding member of FIVE SAX, which performs an entertaining stage show, combining musical performance with humor and theatrical elements. Joel was winner of the 2005 NASA classical competition, prize-winner of the 2011 Jean-Marie Londeix Competition, and prize-winner of 2011 Gaudeamus Competition. Joel’s studies brought him from the US to France and Austria, and his primary saxophone teachers were Lars Mlekusch, Vincent David, Jean-Michel Goury, John Sampen, Steven Mauk and April Lucas. Since 2017 Joel has taught saxophone at West Virginia University in the position of Visiting Professor. Joel is a D’Addario and Selmer endorsing artist.
The Spanish-born composer Adrián Artacho graduated with honors from the Vienna Konservatorium (Austria) in 2012 and has developed an international career since. His compositional work extends to a variety of areas such as music theater, dance & multimedia. After a postgraduate degree in electroacoustic composition with Karlheinz Essl, he is currently conducting a PhD research project in “Augmented Performance” at the University of Music and Performing Arts of Vienna. He is an active performer of live electronics either solo or in different configurations, including visuals and a self-constructed musical instruments such as a Laser Harp. Adrián works as artistic director for several projects, including the “Sounds of Matter” international composition competition: a project situated at the crossroads between science and contemporary music, currently taking place at the University of Vienna. Additionally he is composition teacher at the People’s University of Vienna (Wiener Volkshochschule) and artistic director of the arts platform “Neues Atelier”.
Khemia is a 12-member music collective dedicated to the presentation of new contemporary concert music in innovative ways. Our core values are to present music as diverse as our membership and to engage with this music through multimedia performances. We foster collaborations among the arts by working closely with designers, visual artists, and writers as well as incorporating poetic, visual, and interactive elements in our performances. The members of Khemia Ensemble have come together across five countries from around the world: Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, China, and the United States to form an ensemble that seeks to diversify and share the music of living composers. The ensemble has been featured on festivals and concert series such as Strange, Beautiful Music in Detroit, the third annual New Music Gathering, Latin IS America at Michigan State University and the Biennial New Music Festival at the National University of Cordoba. Khemia has held residencies at University of Michigan, Tufts University, Michigan State University, the National University of Bogota and the National University of Cordoba as well as two consecutive years at Avaloch Farms. “Khemia Lights” is a permanent installation for the ensemble and was created in a collaboration between Khemia member/composer, Bret Bohman, and the Cincinnati-based sound and visual production company Intermedio. The lights use audio-visual technology that responds live to the rhythm and intensity of the music we are performing, creating an exciting multi-sensory experience for the audience. Khemia used this technology to performed a series of interactive concerts throughout Cincinnati, Ann Arbor and Detroit venues.