Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Concert XV

Electronic Music Studios
Lawrence Fritts, director

New Music Festival, Spring Concert, 2015

Saturday, April 11, 2015, 7:30pm
Room 101, Lecture Hall, Becker Building

|| download program ||


Counterweight    Israel NEUMAN
  SIG~ (Schaefferian Improvisation Group of Iowa City)
Jeffrey Agrell, horn
Ryan Smith, saxophone
Chris Sande, percussion
Israel Neuman, bass
 Where the room isn’t    Jonah ELROD
  Fixed Media  
 Organic Machinations    Joseph NORMAN
  Jeiran Hasan, flute
Fixed media
 Live to Dye    Genevieve DECKER
  Greg Bowen, viola
Fixed media
 Textures in a Gradient Landscape    Jonathan WILSON
  Jonathan Wilson, saxophone
Fixed media
Scaturient   Bernard SHORT
  Yi Chen, alto saxophone
Fixed media
Putrefaction    Joshua MARQUEZ
  Rebekah Chappell, dancer
Fixed media
 Wood Metal Hair
      for Double Bass and Fixed Media
   Paul DUFFY
   Blake Shaw, double bass  




is a Schaefferian sound-object improvisation. Pierre Schaeffer’s theory of sound objects is a milestone in the historical development of electronic music. The TARTYP (Tableau Récapitulatif de la Typologie), i.e., Summary Table of the Typology of Sound Objects, plays a central role in this theory. It is a schematic representation of a taxonomy of sound objects that demonstrates the premises of the Schaefferian theory. While Schaeffer’s ideas set the path for major trends in electronic music, the TARTYP itself was not widely accepted as a practical tool for musical analysis and composition. Its impracticality is in part attributed to a large number of confusing and vague terms introduced by this theory. In contrast, Schaeffer, devoted a great deal of attention to the construction of sound examples that demonstrate his ideas. The TARTYP sound objects are exemplified Solfe`ge de l’objet sonore (P. Schaeffer and G. Reibel 1966).

Israel Neuman received a Ph.D. in composition, a M.A. in jazz studies and a MCS degree at the University of Iowa as well as a B.Mus in jazz studies at the University of Hartford. He studied composition with Lawrence Fritts, John Eaton, David Gompper and John Rapson. He studied bass with Gary Karr, Michael Klinghoffer, Diana Gannett, Volkan Orhon, and Anthony Cox. He served as the instructor of the electronic composition class, as the assistant director of the Electronic Music Studios and as an instructor of interactive multimedia programming at the University of Iowa. His paper “Generative Grammars for Interactive Composition Based on Schaeffer’s TARTYP” received the ICMC 2013 Best Paper Award. His composition Turnarounds for horn and tape received a Honorable Mention Award from the International Horn Society and was selected for inclusion in the CD series of the Society of Composers Inc. His work was presented at the 2010 and 2012 SEAMUS National Conference (Minnesota, Wisconsin), 2011 Annual Electroacoustic Barn Dance (Virginia), 2011 STUDIO 300 Digital Art and Music Festival (Kentucky), 2008 Electronic Music Midwest Festival (Illinois), and at the 2007 (Indiana) and 2008 (Iowa) Midwest Composers Symposium.

SIG~ is a Schaefferian improvisation group based in Iowa City, Iowa, founded by Israel Neuman for the purpose of exploring the practical applications of Schaeffer’s TARTYP to real-time composition and computer improvisation. The premise of this exploration is the idea that the TARTYP taxonomy can be put into practical use through improvisation and the aural learning of Schaeffer’s sound examples. However, the ensemble’s focus is not on exact reproduction of Schaeffer’s sound examples. Instead, members of the ensemble use these examples to imitate the behavior of sounds and to create their individual interpretation of the TARTYP sound objects, i.e., sounds that have the same defining characteristics. The mastery of the TARTYP musical language in SIG~ is supported by software designed specifically for this ensemble using the Pd-extended and Processing environments. A core element of the SIG~ performance system are generative grammars derived from the classification of sounds in the TARTYP.


Where the room isn’t
explores a space between intention and discovery. Recorded sounds grouped into composed gestures are recombined over an isorhythmic foundation.

Jonah Elrod is a PhD student studying music composition at the University of Iowa. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in music education from the University of Arizona, and a Master of Music degree in theory and composition from the University of New Mexico. Jonah is currently a teaching assistant for music theory, and is an associate director of the University of Iowa Electronic Music Studios. Recently, Jonah has been using algorithmic techniques to generate musical material, which he then manipulates to create his works. He is currently studying composition with David Gompper and Lawrence Fritts.


Organic Machinations
describes the interplay of the human and the computerized. On one level musical material is algorithmically generated from an electronic source, and this material is reconfigured to be performed by a human being. On another level, acoustic sounds were recorded of this human being performing and then transformed radically by another human mind through a digital medium. These newly transformed sounds were then reconfigured into gestures that merge with and complement the material disseminated by the physical performer. Organic Machinations is an experienced amalgamation of electronic and acoustic sound materials.

Joseph Norman is currently in the process of completing his PhD in composition at the University of Iowa while studying with Dr. Lawrence Fritts. Previously, he completed his Master's Degree in composition at University of Maryland under the instruction of Dr. Thomas Delio and Dr. Lawrence Moss. Prior to that he earned is Bachelor's Degree in composition and classical guitar performance at St. Mary's College of Maryland where he was instructed in composition by Dr. David Froom and Dr. John Leupold, and in guitar by Dr. Orlando Roman.

Genevieve DECKER

Live to Dye
This piece is written for viola and fixed media. A poem I wrote describing my experience working on a hospice unit was translated and recited in Hindi by my close friend, Disha Kale. I weaved her words throughout the piece and used raga, an ancient traditional melodic mode utilized throughout Indian music, to add a Southeast Asian atmosphere. The literal translation of raga is to color or dye, which is where the spelling of the title originates.

Genevieve Decker is a senior, first-year nursing student and captain of Iowa Andhi (the Bollywood fusion dance team on campus). She has studied music composition under William Cooper, Robert Mueller and Lawrence Fritts.

Jonathan WILSON

Textures in a Gradient Landscape
In January 2011 I devised a saxophone project with electronics that utilized various advanced techniques on the alto saxophone, including the use of flutter tongue, F-trick (pitch bend on altissimo F on the instrument), key clicks, and saxophone singing (also known as multiphonics). Additionally, these saxophone techniques were manipulated through Digital Performer to alter their timbres. The title is an abstraction of the sound world in which the resulting sounds derived from the saxophone envelop the listener. The performer is involved in this sound world as an observer without the ability to control or manipulate this realm.

Jonathan Wilson is a second-year doctoral student studying music composition with David Gompper at the University of Iowa. Jonathan received his Master of Music and Bachelor of Music degrees in music composition from Western Illinois University. He has studied with Lawrence Fritts, James Romig, James Caldwell, Paul Paccione, and John Cooper. His compositional process tends to follow a concept-oriented approach, which generates the structural ideas for his works. Jonathan is a member of the Society of Composers, Inc., SEAMUS, the Iowa Composers Forum, and the American Composers Forum

Bernard SHORT

This piece is for Fixed Media and Alto Saxophone. The Fixed Media for this piece was composed purely of Alto Saxophone sounds recorded in the Anechoic Chamber. The Anechoic Chamber is a room designed to completely absorb reflections of sound and totally insulate itself from exterior sources of noise. This allowed us to record purely the sounds created by the Alto Saxophone without any exterior noise interfering. This piece surrounds you in an overflowing rush of notes and sounds created from the Alto Saxophone, which bombard you like water from a waterfall, or wind on a cold winter day as you are taken on a mental journey.

Bernard Short is a PhD in Music Composition student at the University of Iowa. Born in Harlem, NY and raised in Far Rockaway Queens, NY, he earned a BA in Music with a Composition focus at Morehouse College in 2007, and a Masters in Music Education at The University of Georgia in 2012. From 2008-2014 he was the Director of Bands and Orchestra Director at Cross Keys High School in Atlanta, GA. To Mr. Short, music is the expression of a person’s soul that is best used as a way to communicate with someone without allowing words to obliterate the message.


Putrefaction - the act or process of putrefying; the anaerobic decomposition of organic matter by bacteria and fungi that results in obnoxiously odorous products; rotting.

The few sounds that make up the source material of Putrefaction were broken down into smaller segments, stretched, and disintegrated until harsh sonorities were produced.

Joshua Marquez (b. 1990) is a Filipino American composer, classical guitarist, and BioMusic researcher currently pursuing a PhD in composition at the University of Iowa. Joshua holds degrees from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (MM in composition '13), and Campbell University (BA in composition '11 and BA in classical guitar '11). Marquez's music has been performed by ensembles such as the JACK Quartet, Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players, University of Iowa Center for New Music, Akropolis Reed Quintet, Gate City Camerata, Quintet Sirocco, and the Cape Fear Wind Symphony along with performances at the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival (NYCEMF 2014), the National Student Electronic Music Event (N_SEME 2014), Birmingham New Music Festival, Circuit Bridges , and the Vox Novus Composer's Voice Concert Series. His music has been heard in venues such as Symphony Space, Abron Arts Center, Gallery MC, Jan Hus Presbyterian Church, Weatherspoon Art Museum, Hulsey Recital Hall, Georgia Southern University, McIntosh Theatre, as well as other universities and institutions. Joshua's music for film has also been featured at the Canada International Film Festival and the Utopia Film Festival.

Joshua currently resides in Iowa City where he teaches composition, guitar, and is the director of the Young Composers Program at Rosazza Lesson Studios. He also teaches the Certificate Program at the Preucil School of Music. Marquez is a Teaching Assistant at the University of Iowa where he works with the Center for New Music and teaches undergraduate composition lessons. He is also a founder, director, and conductor of Ensemble 319.


Wood Metal Hair
is a piece for double bass and fixed media. The title refers to the materials used to produce the sounds of the piece; everything except for a 4.7 second region was derived from various standard (e.g. pizzicato, ricochet, sul ponticello) and non-standard (e.g. bowing the side of the instrument, bowing the tuning pegs, moving a hand quickly between the instrument’s neck and body) double bass techniques. The 4.7 seconds of sound outside of the piece’s material context were derived from crushing a dried red pepper. Unfortunately, its 4.7 second contribution was not enough to earn the red pepper a place in the title.

The musical structure of the piece consists of two distinct environments. One is focused and economical—it is constructed from a minimal amount of samples and pitches. The other is vibrant and diverse; it is curious and explorative and rarely stays in the same place for long.

Paul Duffy (b. 1989) is a graduate student of composition at the University of Iowa. He has studied privately with Lawrence Fritts, Craig Weston, and David Gompper, and has attended master classes with Louis Karchin, Josh Levine, Augusta Read Thomas, and Michael Fiday. His recent works include a Duet for Prepared Piano & MIDI Keyboard, Axes, for contrabass and electronics, a choir piece selected for performance at the 2014 Midwest Composers Symposium in Cincinnati, and a trio for bass and marimbas that was choreographed for the 2015 University of Iowa Department of Dance Faculty/Grad Concert. His current compositional interests include fixed media and the incorporation of algorithmic techniques into his personal language.