Posts

Aeris

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The Latin aeris is the genitive form for aer, "air" and for aes, "bronze," airain in French. In this piece, the natural resonances of a cymbal are highlighted through a feedback system. These metal resonances translate to audible air vibrations.Aeris fits in the tradition of pieces exploring the sound of metal, like Mikrophonie I. Frederick Skiff, Professor of Physics, explains how the cymbal sounds like a butterfly wandering through hyperspace. The picture was taken by Miranda Meyer on the day of Scientific Concert's première, October 27, 2019.

Mikrophonie I Excerpts

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Mikrophonie I (1964) is a very important composition by Karlheinz Stockhausen, written for tam-tam and live electronics, to be performed by four percussionists and two musicians at the filters and sound projection.I had the great pleasure to perform the piece with the Ensemble Sillages in 2016. Percussionists were Hélène Colombotti, Maxime Echardour, Laurent Mariusse and Vincent Leterme; Stéphane Sordet and I were playing the filters and sound projection. Here are excerpts from our January 2016 performance of Mikrophonie I:Although a first glance at the score might suggest that the piece is all about experimentation and noise, numerous rehearsals and performances led me to realize that Stockhausen used quite traditional composition techniques. This is especially stunning when you consider the different sections, in which he uses polyphony, accompanied soli, or homorhythmic orchestral tutti.Mikrophonie outdoorsAfter performing the piece in Brest and Paris, we performed outdoors, during…

Trevor Wishart's Timbre Map for Strings

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Here is an inspiring Timbre Map for Strings drawn by Composer Trevor Wishart. He presents different classes of sounds and connects them in a graphical way recalling the mind map technique: This map reminds me of how Helmut Lachenmann classifies sounds and sorts them along different types of scales. This thinking mixing timbre and instrumental gesture can be used in many different contexts.I copied this fascinating drawing from Trevor Wishart's book On Sonic Art. Another great read is Audible Design. Find more information about Trevor Wishart's work and writings on his web site.Think about an instrument: what would your timbre map look like?Timbre & Strings in ConcertTo listen to parts of this timbre map - and surely some sounds not included on this map, make sure you come to the JACK Quartet concert on Friday, December 6, at 7:30pm in the Voxman Music Building. These wonderful musicians are playing music by Sky Macklay, Luca Francesconi, Helmut Lachenmann, and more!

Max Patches for Spectral Audio Freeze - Part 1

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In 2008, I shared a number of Max patches for live audio freeze, using the techniques described in the Computer Music Journal article A Tutorial on Spectral Sound Processing Using Max/MSP and Jitter. These patches use the FFT - Fast Fourier Transform in Max to achieve a vivid, alive spectral freeze. The links mentioned in the 2010 post Max patches back online are not valid anymore, so I revamped a first series of patches to ease the learning process. They are now available on this Download page.Contents:01-freeze-spectrum: analysis/re-synthesis of one spectrum02-stocha-freeze: analysis/stochastic re-synthesis of n successive spectra03-denoised-freeze: add rough denoiser04-ar-freeze: add attack/release smoothing05-harmonic-freeze: freeze successive "notes" or sounds to build harmony

Prisma at Ircam 2019

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The Prisma group of composers & researchers met again at Ircam in the Summer of 2019. As per usual, the initial spark was lit by composer Jacopo Baboni Schilingi. This year, the conference featured the following presentations:Alessandro Ratoci: New composition for electric guitar and live computer based on Sonic Youth's Confused Idols and Sexy KillersNicolas Jacquot: Metalepsis - reflection of the figure in the field of compositionJacopo Baboni Schilingi: 25 years of aesthetic research: the Idio-spheres, and the introduction of Für Hans, a sonata for piano and live computerJohannes Kretz: String quartet using real time composition with 5 tablet computersJean-François Charles: From Magma (2003) to Petrified (2019): the evolution of a composition for instruments and live electronicsÖrjan Sandred: Using PMC in MaxMauricio Valdés San Emeterio: current researchThis meeting is always the occasion of learning a lot from each other: every composer/researcher comes with a specific doma…

Dance Gala 2019

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I've been honored to collaborate on two creations for the University of Iowa Dance Gala 2019. (dis)APPEAR(d)ancesThis has been a true collaboration with choreography by Jennifer Kayle live video and media design by Daniel Fine, and music created with Joseph Norman & Jonathan Wilson. We play live to the show: Jonathan on tenor sax & Buchla analog synthesizer, Joseph on electric guitar, and me on custom live electronics.Struggle for PleasureFor this piece, choreographer Armando Duarte invited Joseph Norman to compose a new score for the Laptop Orchestra at the University of Iowa. The composition is a kind of concerto for double bass and soprano: the soloists are LIGAMENT. The orchestra features setar, laptop-based synthesizer, electric violin, bass, live electronic processing of the soloists.
Before the curtain lift, dress rehearsal #2. I hope you can make it to the Hancher auditorium tonight for the second show!

Grant Wood Operas on Iowa Public Radio

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Tonight 8pm and tomorrow 4pm! Stream live from Iowa Public Radio.The original commission, The Grant Wood Operas: Strokes of Genius, was premiered in April 2019 by the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre. Enjoy these three one-act operas — one each by composers Robert Lindsey-Nassif, Jean-François-Charles, and Michael Ching. Each opera highlights strong threads between the paintings and the life of Grant Wood. The Grant Wood operas are:American Gothical by Robert Lindsey-NassifGrant Wood in Paris by Jean-François CharlesEight Woods and a Van by Michael Ching