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


Thursday 29 April 1999 at 8:00PM

Campbell Recital Hall at Stanford University

admission:  free


Program Notes



An Ty (1998) for tape by Eric Marty

Pulses, Synchronicities, Colors (1999) for piano and tape by Fiammetta Pasi

Ching-Wen Chao, piano

Two-tone Bell Fish (1999) for flute and interactive electronics by Amar Chaudhary

Silvia Yee, flute
Amar Chaudhary, electronics

Incantation S4 (1997) for tenor saxophone and computer-generated tape by Matthew Burtner

Matthew Burtner, saxophone


Broken Thoughts (1998) for MIDI piano and computers by Keeril Makan

John McGinn, piano

Meditations (1997) for four channel tape by Ronald Bruce Smith

Fracture (1995) for tenor saxophone and electronics by Bruce Bennett

Gary Scavone, tenor saxophone

Escuela for piano and live electronics by Chris Burns

Christopher Jones, piano

Program notes

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.

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.

Incantation S4 by Matthew Burtner

Incantation S4 (1997) explores the integration of the saxophone and electronics as equal elements within a single, non-narrative sound-space. Techniques of digital audio synthesis such as granular synthesis, spectral mutation, and spectral resonance influenced the compositional approach to the saxophone while the electronic part was inspired by a natural and organic conception of sound. "Incantation S4" is dedicated to Barry Truax and was composed during a residency at Simon Fraser University using the PODX system for quasi-synchronous granular synthesis. It was recently released on a solo CD of Burtner's music, "Portals of Distortion: Music for Saxophones, Computers, and Stones" from Innova Records (Innova 526). 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.

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.

Meditations by Ron Smith

Meditations (1997) for four channel tape is built on the analysis resynthesis of Pakistani vocal phrase, Sundanese suling phrases and central Javanese gamelan instruments.  The singer, Shafqat Ali Kahn, suling performer, Burhan Sukarma and the gamelan were recorded at CNMAT.  The sound files were also manipulated in different ways using IRCAM's AudioSculpt software.  The piece opening of the piece is loosely built around the harmonics of the voice spectra (over a c-sharp) and moving towards the Javanese gong spectra.  At one point, the voice, while maintaining certain spectral characteristics such as formants, is tuned to the spectra of the gong.  The second part of this excerpt is built on the residual noise files of the suling, voice and low Javanese gong.  The noise is what is left when one takes the spectral components out of a sound.  This is a 6 minute excerpt of a larger piece.

Fracture for tenor saxophone and electronics (1995, rev. 1998) by Bruce Christian Bennett

Fracture, for tenor saxophone and four-channel signal processing, was commissioned by Michael F. Zbyszynski during the Fall of 1995. The signal processor used in this work is the ensoniq DP/4, controlled by a Macintosh computer running MAX software. I programmed MAX to change presets on the DP/4 and to control various parameters of the signal processing and the midi-mixer in real time. The performer uses a midi-foot switch to trigger the events stored in the computer. Most of the musical material of Fracture is derived from the opening measure; my intention was to fragment and elaborate the opening gesture over the course of the work in a way that was interactive with the electronics. The signal processing is carefully prepared to respond dynamically to the performer's playing. I was not interested in merely composing a piece for saxophone and electronic accompaniment; rather, I hoped to effectively allow the electronics to influence the musical material of the saxophone itself. For example, nearly two-thirds of the way into the piece, the saxophone line dissolves into noise and an exploration of harmonics; also, at various points throughout the piece the opening motif fragments and is offset by fractions of the beat in play with delays spatialized across all four channels. In this manner I hope to have more fully integrated the saxophone and its electronic complement into a more unified whole.


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.

C. Matthew Burtner (1970) spent his early childhood in a small village on the Arctic Ocean of Alaska, and on fishing boats on Alaska's Southwest coast. His earliest musical memories include the sound of wind rushing over the tundra, the sound of storms on the ocean, and the traditional music of Alaska's indigenous peoples. As a composer his work is guided by an interest in natural acoustic processes, and a focus on music as the synthesis of imagination and environment. Currently Burtner is a doctoral composition fellow at Stanford University and the Center for Computer Research in Music and acoustics (CCRMA). He studied philosophy at St. Johns College in New Mexico before beginning formal music composition studies at Tulane University in New Orleans (BFA 1993 summa cum laude). After graduating, he moved to Paris where he studied computer music at Iannis Xenakis's Center for the Study of Mathematics and Automation in Music (CEMAMu). He returned to the United States to study computer music composition at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University (MM 1997). From 1996 to 1998, he was composer-in-residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, and the Phonos Institute in Barcelona. Burtner has written for a wide variety of ensembles and media, and has received numerous prizes and grants for his work. His music, commissioned by performers such as the Spectri Sonori Ensemble, Norway's MiN Ensemble, Phyllis Bryn Julson and Mark Markham, the Peabody Trio, and the Quiescence Dance Ensemble has been performed throughout the United States and Europe, as well as in Japan, Canada, and Brazil. Two recordings of his music are commercially available including Incantations on the German DACO label (DACO 102), and a newly released solo recording, Portals of Distortion, on Innova Records (Innova 526).

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.

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.

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 Musik in Darmstadt.

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.

Gary Scavone specializes in the performance of contemporary concert music and encourages new works incorporating the saxophone. He studied saxophone with Ronald Caravan and Sigurd Rascher at Syracuse University, as well as with Jean-Marie Londeix at the National Conservatory of France in Bordeaux while on a Fulbright Scholarship. While living in New York, he was a member of the Aeolian Saxophone Quartet and principal alto saxophonist with the New York Chamber Saxophones. Mr. Scavone is currently Technical Director of the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics at Stanford University, where he received a Ph.D in "Computer-Based Music Theory & Acoustics" and a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. On a lighter note, Mr. Scavone prides himself with having performed in almost every major European capital --- as a street musician during the summers of 1987, 1988, and 1990.

Ronald Bruce Smith studied composition at the University of Toronto, McGill University and the University of California, Berkeley from which he received the Ph.D. in Music Composition. He has also studied in Paris with Tristan Murail and at IRCAM. He has received many awards and commissions for his works. Recent performers of his music include the Aitken/Tureski Duo, the Array music Ensemble, Artemis, the California E.A.R. Unit, Cikada Ensemble, Continuum Ensemble, Earplay, Pierrot Ensemble, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Sirius Ensemble, Sonus Imaginorem, New Works Calgary Ensemble,Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and at festivals in Europe, the Americas and Australia.

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.