Saturday, March 9, 2019, 4pm – Concert 5 – Hart Recital Hall — Utt Building
Contraposition was commissioned by and is dedicated to pianist Kari Johnson. This work is organized in the manner of a traditional Baroque dance suite. Baroque dance music is almost all binary in its formal structure. Extrapolating from this binary concept, each movement of this work focuses on one or more oppositional ideas, either within and/or between the various media. Any or all movements of the work can be presented and in any order. For this performance the Allemande, Courante, and Sarabande will be presented.
Kari Johnson holds a DMA in Piano Performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She has been heard as a performer at new music festivals across the US and abroad. She resides in the Kansas City area with her supportive husband and three cats, and teaches piano to a lively and diverse group of students. When she isn’t teaching, practicing, or snuggling with cats, you can find her in the gym training for her next Jiu Jitsu tournament. She is the reigning American Grappling Federation National Champion in her division.
Christopher Biggs is a composer and multimedia artist residing in Kalamazoo, MI, where he is Associate Professor of Music Composition and Technology at Western Michigan University. Biggs’ recent projects focus on integrating live instrumental performance with interactive audiovisual media. Biggs is the Director of SPLICE Institute.
Las Cruces: The Running of a Dark Animal
Louis Lopez/Stephanie Zaletel
Louis Lopez: Performer/Composer, Stephanie Zaletel: Choreographer/Dancer
A new collaboration between partners Louis Lopez (electronic composer) and Stephanie Zaletel (contemporary choreographer) Las Cruces: The Running of a Dark Animal is a exploration of pattern and ritual, severe dualities between faith and nature, as well as a denial of the state of the world. Based on a true story as told by Lopez’ grandfather, Las Cruces is about a drunk, blood soaked man running through the impoverished section of the New Mexican town on a Sunday morning in the 1930s shouting out, “”You wanna see what a Christ looks like, you are looking at one!” Chased by police, and disrupting a religious and sacred morning, this experience cut through the energy and ritual of that Sunday and challenged beliefs of ascension with earth-bound trauma. He incited doubtful questions among the people of the town, and in that moment their piety was distorted. We are inspired to investigate the feeling of that morning: the scenery, sounds, materials, sensation through our collaboration. Utilizing instrumentation from that liturgical period, vocal hymns invented through MaxMSP, a cerebral foley playpen made up of dirt and contact mics and a collage of ritualistic movements and gesture that inform sonic interaction we will generate a web of suspended conflict from another time.
Louis Lopez is a performer/composer working in Los Angeles. His background in improvisational music and digital as well as analog electronics influences each project he is involved in. As a trumpet player he has performed and recorded with Wadada Leo Smith, Todd Hannigan, Mike Keneally as well as his trio Grampus. His music for dance has been featured in works by szalt dance co., Becca Lemme and at the PACT Zollverein residency in Essen Germany. He has done sound design extensively for Patagonia including their films Fish People (Netflix), Takayna and Finding Fontinalis. Louis holds a MFA from CalArts in African-American Improvisational Music. He currently teaches music production/mixing at Pasadena City College and works as an assistant engineer/technician at Brotheryn Studios in Ojai, CA.
(choreographer, artistic director of szalt) Stephanie Zaletel is an LA based choreographer, dancer, and educator. Her choreography has been commissioned for various music videos, short films, colleges, institutions, and collaborations. Zaletel began her career dancing for Barak Marshall, Colin Connor (Artistic Director, Limon), and Danielle Agami (Artistic Director, Ate9) before officially forming SZALT in 2015. SZALT is a team of specialized dance artists led by Stephanie Zaletel in Los Angeles – arousing curiosity through voyeuristic feminine experiences, depictions of body memory, and dream logic – creating and facilitating highly collaborative, site-sensitive, and socially fluent dance performance and practice. Zaletel and her team have performed, led workshops, and held residencies at numerous notable venues across the U.S. including LA Dance Project, The Hammer Museum, REDCAT, Arizona State University, Cornish College of the Arts, Tempe Center for the Arts, Loyloa Marymount University, and Ford Theatres. Zaletel most recently choreographed for Lars Jan’s “The White Album” which premiered at Wexner Center for the Arts, BAM’s Next Wave Festival, and will be showing at the Freud Playhouse in partnership with CAP UCLA and Centre Theater Group in 2019. She holds a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography with a minor in Humanities from California Institute of the Arts.
Aaron Humble and Michael James Olson
Aaron Humble: Voice Michael James Olson: guitar and electronics
(F)REE(D)O(M): a reflection on the twilight.
Described as remarkably virtuosic by the Columbus Republic and transcendent by the Daytona Beach News Journal, tenor Aaron Humble originally hails from Northeast Ohio. Believing that a consummate musician can tackle multiple genres, Aaron has performed in opera, recital, concert, and chamber music venues. During his tenure with Cantus, Aaron enjoyed solo appearances with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Boston Pops and concert appearances at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, The Library of Congress, Wolf Trap, and The Chautauqua Institute. Aaron has taught at Augustana College (IL) and is currently a member of the faculty at Minnesota State Mankato where he teaches applied voice, diction, and conducts the University Chorale. Aaron is also the Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of The Apollo Club, currently in their 123rd season of making music in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Michael James Olson is an artist and performer who uses electronic music, video, guitar, and Tibetan Singing Bowls to create lush ambient landscapes. Michael’s work draws heavily on life in the upper Midwest: open spaces, grey skies, beautiful lakes, and dramatic seasons. Michael’s first solo album, “What Comes After,” fuses these narrative elements with reverb-laden guitar loops, e-bow, electronic processing, ambient beats, and video to create a vibrant abstract terrain. Michael’s concert music and commercial productions are featured in performances throughout the world, and on 25 albums and in films and television including programs on MTV, VH1, E! , Spike, ABC, NBC, PBS, and CBS. Michael tours frequently throughout the U.S., and currently serves as Associate Professor of Music at Minnesota State University.
Chaotic Substrate is an improvised multimedia work, performed with an instrument that auralizes and visualizes the logistic map, a canonical example of mathematical chaos. The logistic map is a simple, recurrent formula that, when graphed, forms a fascinating structure. It first beings with a single line that starts at 0 and slowly increases. This line eventually splits into two, these lines then split into four, and so on at an increasing rate until the diagram becomes an uncountable mass of lines. One peculiarity of this section is that the mass will suddenly converge into a finite number of lines. These lines will split like the beginning form the chaotic mass again. The instrument is made by mapping these lines to sine waves, and displaying their frequencies vertically.
Nicholas Shaheed is a composer of both acoustic and electronic music whose work explores aspects of structure. His music has been featured at SEAMUS, Electronic Music Midwest, New Music on the Point, the So Percussion Summer Institute, the highSCORE Festival, and has been performed by So Percussion, Christopher Otto, Quartetto Indaco, Kivie Cahn-Lipman, Violetta Duo, and the Helianthus Contemporary Music Ensemble. For his music, he has received a number of grants and awards such as the Presser Award, the Edward Mattila Award for Excellence in Electronic Music, the Brosseau Creativity Award, and the James K. Hitt Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Research. Nicholas holds degrees in computer science, music composition, and music theory from the University of Kansas, and has studied under Kip Haaheim, Forrest Pierce, Ingrid Stölzel, and James Barnes. He is currently based in the Seattle area.
Into the rarefied air
John Thompson / Guitar, analog drum machine, computer
Into the rarefied air is performed live on electric guitar and analog drum machine. The nature of the drum machine is largely subverted in favor of hypnotic sonic textures. The guitar explores a limited set of pitches that eventually blooms into harmonies that were latent. Extended techniques using superball mallet and a bow take the piece into alien territory … into the rarefied air.
John Thompson creates works that explore the path of wonder. His compositions include electroacoustic audiovisual works, works that intersect acoustic and electronic elements, and electronic works alone. The tie that binds is a the search for what underlies reality, what manifests as mystery, the unnamable that is within the emptiness.
John teaches, composes and conducts research in the areas of computer music and music technology. He directs the Music Technology program at Georgia Southern University where he is Professor of Music. He has a continuing interest in interdisciplinary studies, and seeks to highlight and follow new paths in music.
Courtney Brown, Brent Brimhall, Argentine tango dancers
Argentine tango dance is grounded in the relation between two moving bodies, leader and follower. Lacking a basic step set to a specified rhythm, the tango couple is free to improvise rhythmic phrasing according to individual musical interpretation. Machine Tango inverts this relation between dancers and music, enabling tango dancers to drive musical outcomes. Motion sensors are attached to dancer ankles, their signals are sent to a computer, and algorithms turn the music into sound. In doing so, the computer inserts itself in this on-going nonverbal conversation.
This work grows out of a desire to combine electroacoustic music composition with Argentine tango dance, exploring sounds morphing from less to more musical. As dancers move and improvise, these sounds come together into recognizable tango rhythms but then fall apart again. System musical response to movement also shifts during the dance, becoming more complex.
Courtney Brown is a sound artist, researcher, and tango dancer. Her work has been shown in Asia, North America and Europe, including Ars Electronica (Austria), Diapason Gallery (NYC), and International Computer Music Conference (Korea). Her work, ‘Rawr! A Study in Sonic Skulls’ received an Honorary Mention from the 2015 Prix Ars Electronica. She also received Fulbright Fellowship to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she worked on her project, ‘Interactive Tango Milonga’, creating interactive Argentine tango dance. She is an Assistant Professor of Creative Computation at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX.
Brent Brimhall is a dancer who began his movement training as a martial artist, studying under Peter Crocoll and Philip Selmon. He continued his education by studying ballet, contact improvisation, and post-modern contemporary dance at Arizona State University. As a tango dancer, he has studied with Daniela Borgialli, Nicholas Tapia & Steph Berg, and George & Jairelbhi Furlong.
Hinge joins together acoustic and electroacoustic properties derived from the hammered-dulcimer to create an overall texture that exemplifies both separately, yet is for a majority of the time, perceptually unified. The work can also be thought of as a timbral exploration of the instrument; since in terms of its traditional timbral capabilities, the hammered-dulcimer can be “limiting”. By bowing the instrument as well as processing its sound in real time, the instrument’s timbral identity can be expanded upon. In terms of the interaction between performer and computer, the work is heavily reliant on the performer’s ability to make musical decisions according to improvisatory guidelines, and their ability to anticipate and respond to the processed sound of the dulcimer.
Elliott Lupp is a composer, improvisor, visual artist, and sound designer whose work invokes images of the distorted, chaotic, visceral, and absurd. This aesthetic approach as it relates to both acoustic and electroacoustic composition has led to a body of work that, at the root of its construction, focuses on the manipulation of extreme gesture and shifting timbre as core musical elements. This style of writing has found a home with a variety of unique/traditional chamber ensembles, solo performers, performer(s) with live electronics, and fixed media. Elliott is native to Chicago and holds a Bachelors of Music in composition from Columbia College Chicago. Elliott is currently pursuing a master’s degree in composition at Western Michigan University where he holds an assistantship in research. His primary teachers at WMU include Dr. Christopher Biggs and Dr. Lisa Renee Coons. Elliott will begin his doctoral studies next fall.