Composing for the Sampo

I am honored to have been awarded a commission and residency at the 2019 Sampo Composition Competition, organized by musinfo.

Following this award, I have composed a new piece Masse pétrie for cello and the live electronics system Sampo, which will be performed by cellist Marie Ythier. She has worked with many composers, and has recorded new works for cello and live electronics in her album Le Geste Augmenté.

I'm looking forward to working with her, and to meeting the festival guest composers.

What is the Sampo?

The Sampo is a live electronics set-up that implements a simplified version of one algorithm available on the Lexicon sound processor LXP-15. Although the Sampo hardware is quite advanced and expensive (it includes a computer and a sound card), the software's capabilities are more limited than these offered by the original LXP-15 sound processor.

Sampo implements a simplified version of the Pitch-Delay algorithm,
from the Lexicon LXP-15 sound processor.

Composing for this instrument has been extremely interesting: the composer has to find new ways of working with tight constraints. I enjoyed exploiting the small glitches that the system can produce in certain conditions. The Sampo features 7 pedals numbered 2 to 8. Here is an improvised cadenza from my score, where you can see some of the pedal notation:

I'm looking forward to seeing and touching the Sampo: the wooden enclosure is beautiful!


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