Friday – March 6, 2020 – Concert 3 – 7pm – Hart Recital Hall

Concert 3 – 7pm – Hart Recital Hall

  • Conrad Kehn and Nicole Esquibel – Through Hardships We Become Stars, for spatialized audio, live vocals, percussion and video
  • Eric Lyon – Coronation, for trumpet and computer
  • Seah – like water, involving video projection, pre-recorded sound, and live manipulations from inside a 2’x2’x2′ plexiglass box
  • Jesse Allison and Anthony Marasco – gravity | density, for cyber-hacked electronics, mobile devices, and audience participation
  • Nick Hwang – World of Soundcraft, A gameful audience based mobile phone participation musical work
  • Lauren Sarah Hayes – I Spin Via Motor, for hybrid analogue/digital live electronics
  • Ryan Olivier – On the Permanence of Water, Leap Motion Controller and Live Multimedia


Through Hardships We Become Stars

Conrad Kehn, music. Nicole Esquibel, video

Conrad Kehn, voice

Commissioned by The Playground Ensemble, Through Hardships We Become Stars is a multi-media work for spatialized audio, live vocals, percussion and video, that features manipulated ‘found object’ content from the Voyager spacecraft Golden Record. This material is reimagined and combined with new material specifically created to be performed in planetarium domes, although flatscreen stereo versions are available.

Musically, the work opens with manipulated Golden Record greetings combined with a recorded quote from Paul Hindemith’s Craft of Musical Composition. A rotating choir inspired by Kepler’s Harmonices Mundi transitions the work to the next section.

Engraved on the record is a binary code pulsar map designed to help alien life locate planet Earth. Using this binary code, pulsar wave length, distance and location as musical parameters the middle of the piece becomes a minimalist Pulsar dance party that eventually gives way to a collage of earth sounds and a  Morse code pattern that gives the work its title.

The work closes with an improvised vocal solo over a bed ambient sounds serving as a distress signal to the universe. Although the original messaging on the Voyager was optimistic and welcoming in nature, it seems future messages may be more desperate attempts to find a suitable living space as we continue to endanger our own.

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. 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. He is also the Director of the Lamont Summer Academy, a 2-week live-on-campus summer music camp for 14-18 year olds.

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. He also has a 190 lbs Mastiff named Hank, who has also appeared in at least one creative work.

Conrad currently teaches music technology classes for the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, and the Community College of Denver. More information, scores, videos and recordings can be found at

Nicole Esquibel is an award-winning video and filmmaker, writer, and poet. She is a graduate of the esteemed University of Iowa’s MFA-Film and Video Production program. Her theoretical articles, critical reviews, and written works of fiction have appeared in numerous publications including, Experimental Film: The Missing Frames, Sinister Wisdom, and Our Voices. She has collaborated with filmmakers on documentaries that premiered on PBS, American Masters, ITVS and German television, and Danish TV. Ms. Esquibel’s films and videos have screened both domestically and internationally, including winning the “Between the Lines” award at the prestigious Ann Arbor Film Festival. Her current film, Neva Romero: Jamas Olividados won the “best short documentary” at the XicanIndie Film Festival and is enjoying the second year of screenings across the U.S. She is currently in pre-production on her latest documentary examining the lynching of Mexican-Americans in the Southwest.

Ms. Esquibel has served as a member of a wide variety of boards and has recently sat on the Advisory Board of Nuestra Herencia at The Kansas City Museum. At this present time, she is a Board Member at the Rime Center for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, the Kansas City Opioid Treatment Work Group, and the Board of Directors for First Call-Kansas City. Esquibel is Chair of the School of Visual and Communication Arts and Dean of the College of Professional Schools at Avila University. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri.



Eric Lyon

Jason Crafton, trumpet

Coronation is an interactive piece for trumpet and computer that coordinates rhythmic and signal processing elements in tight synchrony. The automation of sampling, processing, and reintegration of live trumpet playing to the texture allows for complex but precisely controlled interactions and rich electronic textures that will subtly differ between performances. The DSP itself is based on algorithmic schemes and Max/MSP externals designed by the composer.

Coronation was composed for Jason Crafton, to whom it is dedicated.

Eric Lyon is a composer and computer music researcher. Lyon’s publicly available software includes FFTease and LyonPotpourri, collections of audio objects written for Max/MSP and Pd. He is the author of “Designing Audio Objects for Max/MSP and Pd” (A-R Editions, 2012), which explicates the process of designing and implementing audio DSP externals. In 2016, Lyon was guest editor of the Computer Music Journal, editing two issues (CMJ 40:4 and 41:1) dedicated to the subject of high-density loudspeaker arrays (HDLAs). Lyon also curated the 2016 Computer Music Journal Sound Anthology, which was the first binaural anthology published by the CMJ. Lyon’s creative work has been recognized with a ZKM Giga-Hertz prize, MUSLAB award, the League ISCM World Music Days competition, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Lyon is currently on the faculty of Virginia Tech, where he is a Fellow of the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, and teaches in the School of Performing Arts.

Jason Crafton is associate professor of trumpet at Virginia Tech. He has performed as soloist and chamber musician in China, Greece, and across the United States. He is a member of the Charlottesville Opera Orchestra and has performed with the Dallas Opera, the Des Moines Metropolitan Opera, and the Dallas Wind Symphony. 


Crafton is a founding member of the electro-acoustic chamber music group Fifth Bridge. Recent and future engagements include a collaboration with Dr. Henry Winter from the Harvard/Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and composer John Hollenbeck, as well as premieres of new works by David Sampson and Christopher Stark. 


Jason holds degrees from Drake University and the University of Northern Colorado in addition to doctorate from the University of North Texas. His teachers include Robert Murray, Keith Johnson, and Andrew Classen. 


Like water

Stephen Ford 

seah – mic’s, chaos pad, pedals
Stephen – keyboard, digital synth

Like Water has transformed from a solo exploration of underwater sound to a collaboration between two performers with water as a medium or conduit through which to push emotional expression.

Seah is a sound, video, and performance artist. Stephen is a musician. 


Gravity | Density

Jesse Allison, interactive system design & composition
Anthony T. Marasco, cyber-hacked hardware & composition

Jesse Allison, computer
Anthony T. Marasco, cyber-hacked hardware (CD players and distortion pedal)

“Gravity | Density” is a work for cyber-hacked devices and Web Audio applications with thematic material drawn from humankind’s fascination with the universe.
In “Gravity | Density”, we begin by manipulating fixed-audio sources through the performance of hacked CD players. The sonic results of this mangled audio are sampled and then distributed to the audience’s mobile devices in both passive and interactive manners. Passive distributions allow us to create intricately-spatialized rhythmic interplay between the glitching CD players and the blanket of overlapping samples dispersed throughout the networked audience. Active distributions allow the audience to join in our performance; by sampling small portions of the audio, processing and looping these sounds and sending them back to the performers, we string this audio together and feed it into a cyber-controlled distortion pedal before sending it back to the audience for more manipulation. This results in overlapping cycles of control and audio generation between performer, audience, network, and machine.

Jesse Allison is a leader in sonic art technology, thought, and practice. Dr. Allison holds the position of Associate Professor of Experimental Music & Digital Media at Louisiana State University. As part of the Cultural Computing focus of the Center for Computation & Technology, he performs research into ways that technology can expand what is possible in the sonic arts. Prior to coming to LSU, he helped to found the Institute for Digital Intermedia Art at Ball State University and Electrotap, an innovative media arts firm.

Research and invention interests include computer interactivity in performance, distributed music systems, mobile music, interactive sonic art installations, hybrid worlds, and multi-modal artworks, those that can be experienced through a variety of means. As such, he manages the Media Interaction Laboratory and Library (MILL), co-directs the Laptop Orchestra of Louisiana (LOLs), and heads up the Mobile [ App | Art | Action ] Group (MAG) for the CCT.As an artist, Allison has disseminated his work around the globe through live performance art, interactive installations, virtual and hybrid worlds interventions, and presentations. Recent performances/exhibits include the Pixilerations Festival, New Instruments for Musical Expression (NIME), Siggraph, Techfest Bombay, International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), the IUPUI Intermedia Festival, Boston Cyberarts Festival, and the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States. Allison received his doctor of musical arts in composition from the University of Missouri — Kansas City.

Anthony T. Marasco is a composer and sound artist who takes influence from the aesthetics of today’s Digimodernist culture, exploring the relationships between the eccentric and the everyday, the strict and the indeterminate, and the retro and the contemporary. An internationally-recognized artist, his music and installations have been presented across the United States as well as in Norway, Italy, Brazil, Denmark, and Canada. He has received commissions from performers and institutions such as WIRED Magazine, Phyllis Chen, the American Composers Forum Philadelphia, Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, Toy Piano Composers, the Rhymes With Opera New Chamber Music Workshop, Maureen Batt, and the soundSCAPE International Composition Exchange. Marasco was the grand-prize winner of the UnCaged Toy Piano Festival’s Call for Scores, a resident artist at Signal Culture Experimental Media Labs, and a grant winner for the American Composers Forum’s “If You Could Hear These Walls” project. His works and research have been featured at festivals such as New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME), the Web Audio Conference, the Toronto International Electroacoustic Symposium, the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the U.S. (SEAMUS), Electroacoustic Barn Dance, New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), the National Student Electronic Music Event (NSEME), Mise-En Festival, Montreal Contemporary Music Lab, Electric LaTex, and Omaha Under the Radar.

Marasco is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Experimental Music & Digital Media at Louisiana State University where his research centers on the creation of new software and interfaces for digital art performance and installation. His dissertation research centers on extending mediated and networked performance techniques to circuit-bent readymade devices through the creation of a new hardware/software framework called Bendit_I/O.


World of Soundcraft

Nick Hwang, Composer

Nick Hwang, Eric Sheffield, Anthony T. Marasco, Monica Pearce

World of Soundcraft is a gameful collaborative musical work where performers compete for musical collectibles that contribute to their individual musical track and collective sound world. 

Nick Hwang is a composer and sonic artist whose work explores connections in art, technology, and interaction. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the Media Arts and Game Development program. Nick holds degrees from Louisiana State University and the University of Florida.

His research interests include live electronic/acoustic instrument performances, laptop ensembles, physical/gestural musical controls, interactive musical systems, and game design in musical settings. His on-going research projects include novel musical controllers, networked musical communication, and laptop orchestra development.


I Spin Via Motor

Lauren Sarah Hayes

Lauren Sarah Hayes

Exploring instability, vulnerability, and unpredictability, this performance is the latest in a series of improvisations formed out of playful and tactile explorations of my most recent hybrid analogue/digital performance system, which comprises bespoke software, voice processing, drum machines, and repurposed controllers. An excessive number of components, of which the space, audience, and performer are all part, mutually affect each other through a network of sound analysis and digital signal processes. 

Lauren Sarah Hayes is a Scottish musician and sound artist who builds and performs with hybrid analogue/digital instruments. She is a “positively ferocious improvisor” (Cycling ‘74), her music refusing to sit nicely between free improv, experimental pop, techno, and noise. Over the last decade she has developed and honed a deliberately challenging and unpredictable performance system that explores the relationships between bodies, sound, environments, and technology. Her work has been presented internationally (e.g. Moogfest, Ableton’s LOOP, hcmf//, NIME, ICMC, MOCO, etc.) and published in major journals including Contemporary Music Review, Computer Music Journal, Organised Sound. She is a member of the New BBC Radiophonic Workshop, director-at-large of the International Computer Music Association, and is currently Assistant Professor of Sound Studies at Arizona State University where she leads Practice and Research in Enactive Sonic Art (


On the Permanence of Water

Ryan Olivier, Composer

Ryan Olivier, Leap Motion Audio-Visual Controller

While the human necessity for water is an obvious fact of life, our appreciation of its natural presence and movement in our lives is not always readily apparent. This piece is a meditation on the various sounds, motions, and states of water. The performer reflectively travels through water related scenes, viewing them from different angles, adjusting the speed of the natural movements, and slightly manipulating the sonic and visual landscape. A Leap Motion controller is used to move through each scene by gliding the hand North, South, East, or West, selecting and morphing among four videos of each scene creating a cubist depiction of each moment. By traveling up or down the performer can progress through the scene quickly or slowly. The shape of the hand also causes slight sound modulations, altering the environment as one is helpless to do in an observation of the natural world.

Ryan Olivier (b. 1985), who grew up in the southern United States, is a composer and multimedia artist. In addition to his concert works, his various interests have led him to work with a wide array of media including electronics, video, and dance. These works have been featured at festivals in the United States as well as at the International Workshop on Computer Music and Audio Technology (WOCMAT) in Taiwan, the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC) in the United Kingdom, and the Punto y Raya Festival in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Ryan continues to compose for both traditional concert ensembles and fixed media, but his current focus is the real-time incorporation of visualized electronic music with live performers. Ryan is an Assistant Professor of Music at Indiana University South Bend, where he directs the electronic ensemble, the Audio-Visual Collective, and teaches courses in electronic music composition, music theory, and music technology. Previously Ryan taught at Temple University and St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Ryan holds a bachelors degree in music composition from Loyola University New Orleans as well as a doctorate from Temple University.

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