Two-Tone Bell Fish for flute and interactive electronics by Amar Chaudhary
Silvia Yee, flute
Amar Chaudhary, electronics
Still, Yet, Again for computer-realized sound by Linda Antas
Snakebyte for electronic wind instrument by Bruce Bennett
Ernie Mansfield, EWI
On the Presence of Water for computer-realized sound and video by Bret Battey
Never time for Not for flute and computer-realized sound by Linda Antas
Linda Antas, flute
from Sounds from the broom closet for tape by Michael Zbyszynski
Pater Noster for flute and tape by Bret Battey
Linda Antas, flute
Broken Thoughts for MIDI piano and computers by Keeril Makan
John McGinn, piano
Two-Tone Bell Fish by Amar Chaudhary
Two-tone Bell Fish unfolds as a back-and-forth between a melodic flute solo and an electronic exploration of the instrument's noisier side, in which the acoustic sounds of the flute become the source for a real-time electronic accompaniment. In addition to those mainstays of electronic music, amplitude modulation and delays, the technique of resonance modeling is used to produce metallic percussion effects, including the "Two-tone Bell" that gives this work its name. There are also scattered samples based on flute recordings, as well as another "flute" you might recognize from your record collection. I would like to thank Adrian Freed and Matthew Wright for their help with the many technical challenges involved in this performance.
Still, Yet, Again by Linda Antas
Still, Yet, Again was realized at the Center for Advanced Research Technology in the Arts and Humanities and the School of Music Computer Center. The piece was created with Csound and Common Music on a Silicon Graphics computer. In addition to purely synthetic sounds, sampled sounds of struck PVC pipe, piano, propeller-driven bomber airplane, cymbal, canon fire, and a short orchestral chord are used, processed using techniques including phase vocoding, linear predictive coding, filtering, and the sndwarp unit generator. The final mix was done with RT.
Snakebyte for Electronic Wind Instrument (1994, rev. 1999) by Bruce Christian Bennett
Snakebyte is composed for electronic wind instrument and frequency modulation (FM) synthesis. The piece begins with a harmonic timbre (associated with fast, quiet music of a limited intervalic scope) and ends with an inharmonic timbre (associated with slow, loud music with a seven octave tessitura). The gradual transformation from one timbre to the other is effected by continuous, real-time control of an equal power cross-fade between the amplitudes of the modulators in an FM algorithm based on a single carrier model: one group of modulators with whole number frequency ratios to the carrier, and the other group of modulators in a 1.41:1 ratio to the carrier. Some very interesting timbral variations occur at various points between these two extreme states. A sample of a shakuhachi flute is used to reinforce the FM synthesis.
On the Presence of Water by Bret Battey
On the Presence of Water is a sound and image meditation on water as a spiritual and psychological archetype. Computer manipulations of found sound and imagery knit tightly together to express a narrative of the subconscious. The video and computer music were developed in parallel, with creative insights in each medium influencing work in the other. The music was created in the University of Washington School of Music Computing Center. Primary tools were Csound, Common Music, and RT on SGI computers, with Csound extensions by Richard Karpen. The video was created in the U.W. Center for Advanced Research Technologies in the Arts and Humanities (CARTAH), primarily with Adobe Premiere. "On the Presence of Water" was recognized with an Honorable Mention in the 1998 Prix Ars Electronica (Austria).
Never time for Not by Linda Antas
Although flute is my instrument and I started composing before I took up the flute, Nevertime for Not is my first work for solo flute and the first work I've written specifically for myself to play. I was pleasantly surprised by the process that resulted in the composition of the piece, although I plan to make some changes in the piece itself. The electronic techniques are similar to those in Still, Yet, Again, while the flute writing explores the compositional uses of a wide variety of flute sonorities.
Sounds from the Broom Closet by Michael Zbyszynski
Sounds from the Broom Closet was originally composed to accompany dance, and was commissioned by the choreographer, Ondrea Aackerman. The live performance included speaking and sweeping of brooms. These sounds became the source material for the outer sections of the work. I tried to create a continuum from sweeping to speaking, using whispers and "talking brooms". The middle sections are more abstract. The second is a small homage to Jean-Claude Risset. The third section seems simple enough, but actually features an analyzed and resynthesized digeredoo (and the residual between the resynthesis and the original) that took more time to create than anything other single element in the piece.
Pater Noster's Tricyclic Companion by Bret Battey
Flautist Sarah Bassingthwaighte commissioned Pater Noster's Tricyclic Companion in 1998. Inspired by her energetic personality and command over fast passage-work, I wrote a virtuosic display piece emphasizing driving, syncopated rhythms and a dense, layered accompaniment.
I composed the work in a traditional "piano score" -- albeit not a humanly playable one -- and then "orchestrated" it for a mixture of MIDI synthesizer, computer-controlled acoustic piano, and Csound sound sources. The challenge I set for myself was to render this highly note-oriented accompaniment convincingly with electronic means -- despite the fact that this is precisely the kind of thing that computers and synthesizers seem ill suited to achieve. After discarding numerous orchestrational strategies which were too obviously "electronic" to my ear, my chosen solution was to treat the acoustic piano as the primary sound source, with electronic elements coloring and highlighting the sound.
The title does not mean anything in particular. For me, the phrase evokes something just short of the strangely unfamiliar -- matching the essential character I was seeking to establish in the piece itself.
Broken Thoughts by Keeril Makan
Some Thoughts on Broken Thoughts:
Technology can extend the acoustic experience. The timbres, gestures, and the very space from which the sound emanates should originate in the acoustic instrument, in this case, the piano. All sounds are based on piano sounds. I was able to separate the percussive, hammer attack from the longer, resonant decay of the struck piano note. All sounds are created in real time in response to the gestures of the pianist. The MIDI piano in combination with both a sampler and a real time, software based, additive synthesis engine make this possible. All the computer-generated sound is localized by placing one speaker under the piano, blending together the sound of the piano and the synthesis.
Being unable to continue and develop a train of thought, musical ideas repeat and change, but ultimately their physicality is more compelling than their meaning. As the pianist's gestures become disassociated from the sounds they produce, the music becomes strangely emotive, as memory is foregrounded and the pianist's presence diminishes.
Broken Thoughts was realized at CNMAT (The Center for New Music and Audio Technology), with the assistance of Amar Chaudhary, through the support of a Garrett W. McEnerney Grant. Special thanks to Edmund Campion, David Wessel, Matt Wright and Richard Andrews.
Linda Antas received her Bachelor of Music (1994) and Master of Music (1996) degrees in composition from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her primary composition teachers there were Salvatore Martirano and Morgan Powell. Antas is currently a Graduate Staff Assistant at CARTAH (Center for Advanced Research Technology in the Arts and Humanities) at the University of Washington where she is pursuing a D.M.A. She has studied composition with Richard Karpen and Diane Thome. Linda's work has been recognized by the Santa Fe International Festival of Electro-Acoustic Music, the International Computer Music Conference, the Second International Music Contest Citta' di Udine, Italy, and SEAMUS. As a flutist, she much enjoys performing works by her colleagues. She has appeared with the Seattle Creative Orchestra, Orchestra Seattle, and is currently serving as Vice President of the Seattle Flute Society. Her flute teachers have included Janet Scott and Alex Murray.
Bret Battey's electronic, acoustic, and multimedia concert works and installations have been presented in diverse venues in the United States, Europe, and Asia, including the Korean Electroacoustic Music Society Festival, the Bourges, France Synthese Festival, the Hungarian Radio Summer Electroacoustic Music Festival, the International Computer Music Conference, MTV Europe, Sonic Circuits V, Seattle Experimental Opera, and the Microsoft Advanced Technology Group. His work has received recognitions from SEAMUS (the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States) and Prix Ars Electronica (Austria). He is currently a DMA student in music composition at the University of Washington, where he also completed his Masters work. He received a Bachelors of Music in Electronic and Computer Music from Oberlin Conservatory and has worked in Manhattan at the Philip Glass production studio and Studio PASS, a non-profit studio for sound artists. Teachers in music composition and technology include Conrad Cummings, Joel-Francois Durand, Richard Karpen, Gary Nelson, and Diane Thome.
Bruce Christian Bennett (b. 1968) is a native of Seattle who has lived in San Francisco since 1991. He is a Ph.D. candidate in music composition at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is a student of Richard Felciano and is involved in research and composition at the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT). He received his M.M. in composition from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 1993, where he studied composition with Andrew Imbrie and Elinor Armer, and his B.A. in music from Reed College in 1990, where he was a student of David Schiff. He is active not only as a composer, but also as a conductor and presenter of new music, an improviser, a vocalist, pianist, and an electro-acoustic musician. His works have been performed throughout the United States and abroad.
Amar Chaudhary (b. 1973) has long pursued both musical and technological interests. Amar grew up in suburban New York, where he studied piano and composition with Ruth Schonthal at the Westchester Conservatory of Music, and also spent countless hours playing around with the family computer. Honors for his early musical work include a 1991 National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts award in music, and a 1992 premier of his clarinet quartet at Weill Recital Hall in New York. He received a B.S. with honors in Music and Computer Science from Yale University in 1995, and is now a Ph.D. student in computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. As a researcher at the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT), he is developing advanced software for music composition and performance. In his bountiful spare time, Amar continues to compose independently.
Ernie Mansfield is a performer of both jazz and classical music (flute, saxophone, clarinet, synthesizer, and EWI) who resides in Berkeley, California. He has studied flute with Walfrid Kujala of the Chicago Symphony, and studied at the Interlochen Arts Academy. He also studied composition with Salvatore Martirano and Ben Johnston at the University of Illinois. Over the last 30 years Mr. Mansfield has performed and recorded in Europe and the U.S. Currently, he appears on two recordings on the Spalax (France) label: "Mormos: The Great Wall of China" and "The Magic Spell of Mother's Wrath". He also appears on the Mahatti (U.S.) label: "The Breeze at Dawn: Poems of Rumi in Song". He has appeared on numerous other albums throughout his career. Recent performances have included "The Great Night of Rumi" (poems of Jellalludin Rumi set to music); ritual performances with Caroline Casey, astrologer-activist; a dance piece composed and performed at CazDance 98 (Cazadero, Ca.); the soundtrack to "Time", a video art piece; and a performance at Jerry Brown's inauguration in Oakland. He has received grants from National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, and Meet the Composer.
Keeril Makan has completed his M.A. in Composition at the University of California, Berkeley, and is currently in the Ph.D. program, where he has studied with Jorge Liderman, Richard Felciano and Edwin Dugger. In the spring of 1998 he received a grant to work at CNMAT (Center for New Music and Technology), where he studied with Edmund Campion and David Wessel, and created a new work (Broken Thoughts) for MIDI piano and computers. He received a B.M. in Composition from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and a B.A. in Religion from Oberlin College. Keeril has received awards from the ASCAP Foundation and from the University of California, Berkeley. His music has been performed by the New York New Music Ensemble, the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, the Berkeley Contemporary Chamber Players and the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble, among others, and has participated in June in Buffalo, the Advanced Master Class at the Aspen Music Festival and the Composers' Workshop in Long Beach.
Over the past decade, composer/keyboardist John McGinn has achieved widespread acclaim as a performer of new and recent music, appearing with such groups as Earplay and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players (San Francisco), American Camerata, Opera Americana and the Kennedy Center Orchestra (Washington, D.C.), the Orchestra of St. Luke's (New York), and operatic and theatrical groups around the United States and Europe. This Spring, the AmCam label will release his tenth professional recording, a CD of 20th-century solo piano works plus three improvisations. Other recording credits include several works by Berkeley composer John Adams (Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer, Fearful Symmetries), song cycles by Russell Woollen with soprano Linda Mabbs, and numerous chamber works with American Camerata. Mr. McGinn has recently received his D.M.A. in composition from Stanford University.
Silvia Yee studied flute at the University of Alberta, where she obtained her B.Mus. and M.A. Currently a graduate student in musicology at U.C. Berkeley, she has performed as both a solo recitalist and with various chamber and orchestral ensembles. Her interest in contemporary music shapes both her repertoire choices and her academic interests.
Michael Ferriell Zbyszynski is currently a Ph.D candidate in the music department at the University of California, Berkeley. There he is studying with Jorge Liderman. He was recently awarded a Fulbright Grant to study the Academy of Music in Krakow, Poland. In 1992, Michael Zbyszynski received a B.A. in Music from New York University, where he studied composition with Louis Karchin and improvisation with Joe Lovano. Subsequently, he worked as a composer and performer in Boston, where his music was premiered at Jordan Hall and the Longy School, and recorded on the Caricature record label. He also performed internationally and recorded with the Tom Roli Big Band. Having earned his M.A. in spring of 1996, he is currently working on a Ph.D. in Composition at UC Berkeley, where he has studied with Olly Wilson, Jonathan Harvey, Andrew Imbrie, Jorge Liderman, David Wessel, Guy Garnett, and Cindy Cox. In 1996 he attended the Composer's Symposium at the Oregon Bach Festival, where he studied with John Harbison and Robert Kyr. Mr. Zbyszynski is an active performer in the San Francisco Bay Area, playing flute, saxophones, clarinet, Yamaha WX-7 (MIDI wind controller), and things made from coffee cans and PVC. He has appeared with Roscoe Mitchell, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (the American premier of John Cage's Ocean 1-95), at the Oregon Bach Festival, and as a soloist with the Composers Inc., UC Symphony, Cultural Labyrinth, Berkeley New Music Project, Common Sense Composer's Collective, and at the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies. He recently toured the Pacific Northwest, lecturing and performing at The Western Front Lodge, in Vancouver, University of Washington, and Portland State University.