The CNMAT Users Group and CARTAH present a concert of electro-acoustic music


Friday 23 April 1999 at 8:00PM

at the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT)

admission $5

Program Notes


The Other for tape by Richard Karpen

Go Where?  for tape by David Wessel


An Ty for tape by Eric Marty

Spell for tape by Edmund Campion and John Campion

Life Study #4 for tape by Richard Karpen

Life Study #5 for tape by Richard Karpen

Program notes

The Other by Richard Karpen

Nearly 20 years ago, when I was a young, would-be, composer, I used to purposefully fall asleep while trying to hear in my head how I wanted a piece I would have been working on to sound. Very often I would do this while simultaneously listening to recorded classical music. In the state between wakeful consciousness and sleep, when these two different worlds can meet and bring us strange images, the music I was composing would become the music on the recordings and I would dream that the recorded music was, in fact, my own composition! I would wake up to find that that great music had not been, after all, my own. But a feeling of having known that music as if I had composed it remained with me for a while afterward. I only recalled this past habit of mine after having already decided to use the materials that can be heard in The Other and after having already begun to work on the composition. This said, The Other is not some kind of a fulfillment of those "delusions," nor is the work meant to be heard as dream-like. But remembering those dreams brought forward interesting thoughts for me to ponder while trying to justify to myself the nature of the use of the materials for this piece. In particular it helped clarify some other thoughts I've been having about the difference between "reality" and "hallucination" in general, and, being a composer, especially as it concerns the hearing of music from without as compared to hearing "imaginary" music from within, as we all can do.

The Other, a work of just over 26 minutes in duration, was derived primarily from several short excerpts from the second and fourth movements of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, and a short excerpt from his Fourth. The work can be heard, in a sense, as a single variation on the combination of the various excerpts. which were stretched, shrunk, twisted, squeezed, transposed, counterpointed, and so on using time scaling software I developed for Csound on a NeXT over the several months in 1992, during which I was in residence at the Music Department of the University of Glasgow as a Leverhulme Trust Fellow.

Go Where?  by David Wessel

Go Where? was commissioned by Mr. Sumatani for the 1983 TATA Festival in Zojoji Hall Tokyo.  Tonight's 8 channel presentation is based on a  stereo version realized with the collaboration of Ushio Torikai in IRCAM in 1985. The 8 channel diffusion is assured by software developed by the composer in the Max/MSP environment.   All of the sound material was derived from a set of 15 metal bowl-shaped temple bells.    The piece answers the question Go Where? with no indication of a destination.

An Ty by Eric Marty

An Ty means "the house" in the Celtic language Bretton, one of the eight indigenous languages France has all but eliminated from its territory. Brittany is a harsh land known for imposing boulders scattering the landscape and cold coastal wind. Though signposts are now in Bretton, the living language has been driven into isolation in a few remote communities and one university. It is nevertheless one of France's healthier languages, and may survive a few more decades. It may outlive Provençal, the language of Mistral, the Nobel Prize winning author.

An Ty exists as a solo tape piece and as part of Al lec'h a oa gwir, a piece for chamber choir and tape with speakers buried inside the choir. Al lec'h a oa gwir ("The place had truth") was composed and premiered in 1994 while Composer in Residence with the McGill Chamber Singers in Montreal. An Ty was premiered earlier that year by GEMS (Group of the Electronic Music Studio) in Montreal.

SPELL by Edmund Campion and John Campion

SPELL is excerpted from the larger work, L'autre, for horn, percussion, harp, mezzo-soprano/narrator, and stereo tape.  In L'autre, the age-old artistic contention for ascendancy between poetry and music mirrors the struggle between consciousness and the unconscious.  Through a deeply in-woven collaboration between composer Edmund Campion and poet John Campion L'autre begins with the origins and hopeful emergence of consciousness out of the unconscious--the birth of language (the logos) out of a primordial welter of sounds and syllables.  The work traces the development of this Ur-relationship through the usurpation and domination of the unconscious by consciousness, the feminine by the masculine.  This conflict is portrayed as a modern fear of "The Other"--race and culture (embodied in a tragic utterance of the names of endangered peoples), and gender.  As the piece progresses, the kinship between the two elemental principles becomes untenable.  After much terrible experience, the repressed feminine, reborn with gnosis, returns with song to offer its counterpart another, different, chance at collaboration.

Life Study #4 and Life Study #5 by Richard Karpen

Richard Karpen's Life Study series of computer-realized compositions explore a genre that might be described as "aural cinema". Many of the materials heard in these works are derived from "ready-made" recordings although some of what is heard is not what it seems to be and some is completely synthetic. There are no "stories" or programs in these works, but they do have a narrative quality especially when the sound materials are directly recognizable giving the impression that there might be extra-musical meaning. This ambiguity is intended of course!

Life Study #4 is colored by a sense of the solitary or of separateness. There are juxtapositions of a horse galloping, crows cawing, waves of white noise, human and other non-human sounds, haunted by a synthetic "electronic" drone-like sound which appears and disappears several times. Later in the work a simple flute-like sound is interrupted by a burst of noise followed by footsteps which "walk in place" (getting neither closer to nor farther from the listeners' perspective).

In Life Study #5, there are juxtapositions of the sounds of a flag in the wind, footsteps on gravel, a truck engine starting and idling, orchestras tuning, paddle steamers, other boats, monkeys, music from my own Life Study #2, Bach's Art of the Fugue and more (these two "musical" excerpts are synthetic). The succession of materials leads in a specific direction over time as a collection of colored tiles in a mosaic form a design or picture when seen all together. As the work unfolds, the form become more evident and the expressive direction becomes clearer.

A wide array of signal processing techniques were used to synthesize and/or process the sounds for these works. The piece was composed primarily with the composer's additions to the Csound synthesis language. Life Study #4 was commissioned by Swedish Radio, Life Study #5 was commissioned by the Groupe de Musique Experimentale de Bourges.


Edmund Campion was born in Dallas, Texas in 1957. He went to school at the University of Texas and Columbia University where he earned his Masters and Doctorate degrees. He spend several years in Europe on different grants and fellowships, attended the National Conservatory in Paris where he worked with Gerard Grisey, lived in Berlin for a year, lived in Rome on the Rome Prize and studied and worked at IRCAM for several years. In 1995, he was commissioned by IRCAM to produce a large scale work for interactive electronics. The resulting composition Natural Selection was premiered in June of 1996 with Campion at the piano. He was recently commissioned by Radio France for a new chamber work with electronics. Campion has been an Assistant Professor of Music at University of Berkeley in California since 1996. He currently serves as the Composer in Residence at the Center for New Music and Technology (CNMAT).

Founder of Ecotropic Works--exploring the relationship between culture and the environment, poet John Campion has published Squaring the Circle, Tongue Stones, Where Three Roads Meet, Sippapu the Kiva an Inverted Bat, an anthology of Ecotropic Works, and the first English translation of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz' magnum opus, Primero Sueno. He is currently working with composers as a collaborator at CNMAT.

Richard Karpen is Professor of Music at the University of Washington in Seattle where he has been teaching composition and computer music since 1989. He is also Director of both the Center for Advanced Research Technology in the Arts and Humanities (CARTAH), and the School of Music Computer Center (SMCC). Karpen's works are widely performed in the U.S. and internationally. He has been the recipient of many awards, grants and prizes including those from the NEA, the ASCAP Foundation, the Bourges Contest, Newcomp, and the Luigi Russolo Contest. Fellowships and grants for work outside of the U.S. include a Fulbright to Padua, Italy, Stanford University's Prix de Paris to work at IRCAM, and a Leverhulme Visiting Fellowship to the United Kingdom. He received his doctorate in composition from Stanford University, where he also worked at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). He is a native of New York (born in 1957), where he studied composition with Charles Dodge, Gheorghe Costinescu, and Morton Subotnick. In addition to Karpen's work in electronic media, for which he is best known, he has composed symphonic and chamber works for a wide variety of ensembles. His compositions have been recorded on CD by Le Chant du Monde/Cultures Electroniques, Wergo, Centaur, Neuma, and DIFFUSION i MeDIA.

Born in 1969, Eric Marty has been active as a composer both in Canada and the U.S.  His works are performed frequently in both countries, and have won the recognition and support of the Canada Council for the Arts, ASCAP, SOCAN, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation,  Jeunesses Musicales of Canada and Codes d'Accès. In 1998, the Canada Council honored Marty with the Joseph S. Stauffer Prize, awarded annually to only three Canadian artists in the fields of music, visual art or literature.  He composes for award winning Canadian performers such as Trio Voltaire, violin/piano duo Silvia Mandolini and Brigitte Poulin, the Hammerhead Consort and pianist Marc Couroux. The Ottawa Citizen has called his music " exercise in surrealistic emoting, well constructed and occasionally disturbing."  His recent orchestral work, Liquid With, supported by the Canada Council, was premiered in Berkeley on February 28, 1997, and received a awards from both ASCAP and SOCAN. Eric Marty received his B.Mus. in composition in 1993 from the University of Montreal, where he studied with Michel Longtin. Supported by Les Fonds pour la Formation de Chercheurs et l'Aide à la Recherche (FCAR), he went on to study with Bengt Hambraeus at McGill University and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in composition under Jorge Liderman at the University of California at Berkeley. He pursues research and creative activities at the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT), in Berkeley, working with David Wessel and Edmund Campion. He has been a participant in June in Buffalo, as well as the Internationale Ferienkurse für neue Musikin Darmstadt.

David Wessel studied mathematics and experimental psychology at the University of Illinois and received a doctorate in mathematical psychology from Stanford in 1972. His work on the perception and compositional control of timbre in the early 70's at Michigan State University led to a musical research position at IRCAM in Paris in 1976. In 1979 he began reshaping the Pedagogy Department to link the scientific and musical sectors of IRCAM. In 1985 he established a new IRCAM department devoted to the development of interactive musical software for personal computers. In 1988 he began his current position as Professor of Music at the University of California, Berkeley where he is Director of CNMAT. He is particularly interested in live-performance computer music where improvisation plays an essential role. He has collaborated in performance with a variety of improvising composers including Roscoe Mitchell, Steve Coleman, Ushio Torikai, Thomas Buckner, Vinko Globokar, Jin Hi Kim, Shafqat Ali Khan, and Laetitia Sonami has performed throughout the US and Europe.