Friday – March 15, 2024 – Concert 2 – 4pm – Hart Recital Hall

  • Benjamin J. Penwell (composer), Izi Ocean (performer)—TBD—8:00 (8)
  • Without Borders—Bird—7:00 (4)
  • Jeff Albert—J.B. Remembers J.B.—6:00 (s)
  • Slender Loris—Maybe You Should Sit Down Now—10:00 (s)
  • Federico Bonacossa—A Wolf Howls Away From a Waxing Moon, Hovering Over a Goose as It Bites a Child—10:00 (4)

Benjamin J. Penwell—BONE CATHEDRAL—8:00 (8)
Izi Ocean, 5-string electric violin

5-string electric violin, guitar amp modeler, MIDI foot controller, Max/MSP

BONE CATHEDRAL features a 5-string electric violin processed by a guitar amp modeler (a Neural DSP Quad Cortex for this performance). The piece combines my interests in metal, ambient, soundscape, noise, extended range instruments, and electric guitar processing technology. Sample processing was done with the Quad Cortex and Ableton Live 11.

Many thanks to Izi Ocean; without their constant creativity and collaboration this piece would not have been possible.

Benjamin J. Penwell (he/him) writes/performs music and lives in Chicago. // He is a PhD candidate in Composition & Music Technology at Northwestern University, and holds degrees from Boston University (M.Mus, Composition & Music Theory) and University of Oregon (B.Mus, Composition). // His music explores texture & timbre, drone & sustain, quiet & silence, noise & consonance, beating & acoustic phenomena, and tuning & microtonality. He likes fermatas. // He is interested in extreme metal, ambient & drone music, soundscapes, harsh noise, and early music. // He likes guitar pedals & digital sound processing, distortion & power chords, reverb & delay, synthesis & sound design, and recording & audio editing. // His current written dissertation work focuses on the musical characteristics & compositional approaches of extreme metal, with his dissertation composition focusing on a genre-spanning solo performance work featuring 8 string guitar, hardware electronics (guitar amp and effects modeling, pedalboard, MIDI controllers), and software electronics (Ableton Live, Max for Live, Max/MSP, third-party plugins). // More of his music can be found at

Izi Ocean (they/them) is a violinist and sound artist based in Chicago, IL. Their musical work explores emotional concepts of fragility, intimacy, and visceral release. As a violinist, they enjoy experimenting with electronics, pedals, and extended techniques, as well as performing new works for the instrument. They hold a Master of Music in Composition & Music Theory from Boston University, and hold dual Bachelor of Music degrees in Violin Performance and Music Composition from University of Oregon.

Without Borders—Bird—7:00 (4)

“There is a bird made for everyone.”

For drums, original samples, and drum triggers, vocoder, and glockenspiel processed live.

Without Borders Percussion Quartet, formed in 2016, features four musicians from the United States and Taiwan. The members include Will Alderman, Kathryn Irwin, Yun Ju (Alice) Pan, and Alex Smith. They have performed in Taiwan, Michigan, Missouri, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, New York, as the invited guest artists at the 2020 McCormick Marimba Festival in Tampa, Florida, and for Keiko Abe and her students at Toho Gakuen School of Music in Japan. Their first album was released April 2023 with Chorphilia of Yun Ju Pan’s transcription of String Quartet No. 5 by Béla Bartók. They compose and perform works by members of the group for percussion, technology, and mixed instrumentation.

Jeff Albert—J.B. Remembers J.B.—6:00 (s)

“J.B. Remembers J.B.” for Improviser and Computer is part of a series of interactive performance environments for improvisers in which the computer accompaniment is dynamically created in collaboration with and reaction to the music being improvised by the performer. This piece was inspired by the music of John Bischoff and James Brown. John Bischoff’s piece “Bitplicity” uses a system he created to capture information about musical phrases and resynthesize them. That idea is a core technical inspiration for this piece which also asks the performer to mark musical phrases for the computer to then reuse and manipulate, creating an accompaniment that is comped from the human improvised material. The rhythmic vitality of the music of James Brown is a core musical inspiration for this piece which creates an unpredictable pocket in which the dynamically created accompaniment can sit. “J.B. Remembers J.B.” sits at my personal artistic nexus of improvisation, interactive computer music, and groove.

Jeff Albert is an Associate Professor in the School of Music at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and his areas of research and creative practice include improvisation, jazz performance, performance paradigms for live computer music, and audio production. He has performed in concerts and festivals in the U.S and throughout Europe, and contributed as a performer, producer, or engineer on over 60 recordings, including the 2017 Grammy winner for Best Traditional Blues Album. He has been named a Rising Star Trombonist in the DownBeat Critics Poll, and his album Unanimous Sources was named a Top 10 album of 2020 by Jan Garelick in the Boston Globe.

Albert received his B.M. from Loyola University New Orleans, and his M.M. from the University of New Orleans. In May of 2013, he became the first graduate of the PhD program in Experimental Music and Digital Media at Louisiana State University, where he was a founding member of the Laptop Orchestra of Louisiana (LOLs).

Slender Loris—Maybe You Should Sit Down Now—10:00 (s)

Let us enjoy the sounds melding together. Let us find space to let go of expectations.

Slender Loris (Keith Kelly, woodwinds, Tony Obr, modular synth/electronics, Brett Reed, percussion) is a Phoenix-based improvising trio working to blend acoustic and electronic resources while creating a shared language of improvisation in that space. Slender Loris was founded in 2016 with early performances and the subsequent release of their debut record, Two Parts Helium.

Federico Bonacossa—A Wolf Howls Away From a Waxing Moon, Hovering Over a Goose as It Bites a Child—10:00 (4)

A Wolf Howls Away […] is part of a growing series of works in just intonation that feature the guitar in various combinations with other instruments and/or electronics. Standard guitars have fixed frets tuned to twelve-tone equal temperament, so a central aspect of this series consists of experimenting with different ways to overcome this limitation. For this work, the solution I chose was to use a MIDI guitar to control a software synthesizer, which I then tuned to a custom 7-limit just intonation gamut. The title is simply a description of an image I saw during a tea leaf reading.

Much of my work explores alternative tunings and involves electronics in one form or another, though I sometimes do not use either. Composition is for me a process of discovery and a way to engage in a dialogue with the many mysterious things I do not understand. Perhaps for these reasons, I have a deep fascination with divination and meditation, and really any technique that involves a kind of surrendering, observing, listening, and describing.

His eclectic works have been performed across the US and abroad. Recent performances include the premiere of A Sparrow Flies Towards a Woman as She Stares at a Crescent Moon for guitar and chamber ensemble with The Last Hundred Ensemble. His electroacoustic works have been featured in a number of international conferences including the ISSTA Festival in Cork Ireland, SCI Conference, and the NY Electroacoustic Music Festival.

He has written numerous dance scores for Dance Now Miami, most recently Tribe, a work in just intonation for soprano, cello, and piano. Anusim, another recent collaboration with the company has been performed in New York, St. Luis, Portugal, Italy, as well as many venues in south Florida. Other collaborations include the music for Brookdale by Lazaro Godoy, which was recently performed at the ProART Festival in the Czech Republic and Spain. As a performer, he is involved in promoting new music for guitar and especially works that feature electronics and alternative tunings. He is currently Associate Teaching Professor of Music Theory and Musicology at Florida International University.

He is co-founder of The Last Hundred Ensemble, an ensemble dedicated to music written in the last one hundred years. The group recently released its first album, featuring his work Omaggio a Marinetti, an eclectic composition for soprano, harp, electric guitar, and percussion (including balloons), based on Marinetti’s futurist poems.

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