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


Tuesday 18 May 1999 at 8:00PM
Meany Theater at the University of Washington


Program Notes



Three Sketches for cello and electronics by Bruce Bennett

Hugh Livingston, cello
Bruce Bennett, electronics

Writing on the Surface for quadraphonic computer-realized sound by Bret Battey

from Sounds from the Broom Closet for tape by Michael Zbyszynski

Sopra/Sotto for computer processed violin by Richard Karpen

Eric Rynes, violin


Meditations for tape by Ronald Bruce Smith

A River from the Walls for flute and computer-realized sound by Linda Antas

Linda Antas, flute

SPELL for tape by Edmund Campion and John Campion

An Ty for tape by Eric Marty

String X-ing for violin and tape by Tom Swafford

Tom Swafford, violin

Program notes

Three Sketches for cello and electronics by Bruce Christian Bennett

This work in progress for cello and electronics represents the initial sketches of a collaboration between composer Bruce Bennett and cellist Hugh Livingston. These sketches outline a few of the many possibilities for Mr. Livingston's repertoire of extended cello techniques to interact with the MAX/MSP digital signal processing environment. The composer controls live signal processing (ring modulation, digital delays, reverb, harmonization, etc.) of the performance by the cellist. The cellist, in turn, responds to the presence of the live signal processing. The result is that the musical material of the cello, both notated and improvised, is directly influenced by the nature of the signal processing; likewise, the signal processing is directed towards accentuating the musical material and sonic characteristics of the cello. The goal is to present the cello and the electronics as a single, whole, and unified instrument.

Writing on the Surface by Bret Battey

"The Great Tao is universal like a flood.
How can it be turned to the right or to the left?"

      -Lao Tzu

"Our cities pulverize, proud technologies
spawn catastrophe. The jaws of our inventions
snap down their jaws and lock.
Their purpose will be forgotten;"
Time is aeons
and we live in minutes..."

      - from Denise Levertov, "Variations on a Theme by Rilke"

The full scope of time renders all of our proud, anxious, and violent dramas mere writing on the surface of water. Yet during something as small as the soft flow of one moment's breath, one may hope to discover undercurrents deeper than one's work or its impermanence--and to find the source and goal of one's acts gently transformed.

Proud technologies used in this work include Rick Taube's Common Music, Csound (particularly extensions created by Richard Karpen), and James McCartney's SuperCollider.

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.

Sopra/Sotto by Richard Karpen

Sopra/Sotto is a work in progress for electric violin and real-time computer-realized sound. The performance heard in this concert will consist of the first movement and a partial realization of the real-time computer part. It has been over ten years since I last composed a work for live digital audio, (my usual practice is to have the computer-realized sounds preprocessed and prerecorded on tape or CD). Much has changed technologically since that time and my own work has changed too. But this piece is actually a return for me to a way of composing that I had left for a number of years, and it draws ideas and techniques from a solo viola piece, "Stream," that I composed in 1986. The opening gesture of the current work paraphrases the end of the earlier one, closing the gap in time between the two pieces.

Meditations by Ronald Bruce 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.

A River from the Walls by Linda Antas

Several people have commented that this piece brings them strong images of water. (And in fact, the sound of water trickling into a bowl is there, but well-disguised.) For one listener, the visual experience the piece inspired was one of water condensing on the walls, trickling down, forming pools, streams and eventually a powerful river.

I was struck by this idea and the relationship between this idea and the piece--water vapor as a present but invisible body of water in the air, which, under the right conditions, condenses. Millions of molecules collect, cling together, and become a visible body of water, which, in the end, has its own changing patterns of direction, speed, color, and range of moods, as well as serving as one possible point for the whole process to begin again.

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.

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.

String X-ing by Tom Swafford

My goal in writing String X-ing was to combine my interests in composed and freely improvised music. I recorded myself playing short improvisations (the longest was about 2 minutes) and organized the material by category (pizzicato, glissando, lyrical melody, etc.). I used this palette of musical fragments to create the tape part. The live violin part (which is partly improvised itself) is made up of material derived from transcriptions of the original improvised fragments. The name String X-ing is an abbreviation I used to label one of the categories of musical fragments. I also like the X because it conjures up the name Xenakis, whose use of extended technique for strings inspired me during the composition of this piece.


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. During her graduate work at the University of Illinois, Linda was a teaching assistant, course instructor, a lab assistant in CAMIL (Computer-Assisted Music Instruction Lab) and began her study of electronic music with James Beauchamp, Sever Tipei and Scott Wyatt. 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 the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States.

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 Electro-acoustic Music Society Festival, the Bourges, France Synthese Festival, the Hungarian Radio Summer Electro-acoustic 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.

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.

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'AccËs. 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.

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 Arraymusic 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.

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.