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Programme Notes and Bios

Opening — Wednesday, August 15

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20:00–22:00 • Symposium Concert #1

Kerry Hagan — Morphons and Bions (2011)
Ethan Hayden — bats with baby faces in the violet light (2011)
Yota Kobayashi — Shikisou (2012)
Donna Hewitt — One (2012)
Ed Wright — Crosswire (2010)
Andrew Connor — Study No. 3: Foghorn Abstraction (2011)

Kerry Hagan — Morphons and Bions (2011)

Morphons and Bions is a real-time Pd composition that explores noise-based synthesis techniques and random processes to create the impression of living mechanisms. These mechanisms live and grow independently until reaching a critical mass, when they become a single organism. The morphologically independent sounds, combined with the sounds that behave together as a single organ, give rise to the title, Morphons and Bions. As a real-time piece, the details of each realization change from performance to performance. However, the consistent timbres and overall form of the work retains the identity of the piece.

Morphons and Bions continues an exploration of textural composition, works with little specific gestural content but great inner detail, spatial motility but temporal stasis. These works require multichannel setups to ensure a sense of envelopment. Unlike earlier textural compositions, all sounds in Morphons and Bions are synthesized as opposed to recorded. The sound sources rely fundamentally on white noise and digital noise mediated by classical synthesis techniques and random processes. Since the work is built on a substrate entirely made of noise, the piece is situated within certain philosophical and æsthetic issues surrounding noise, its use and its definition. This piece is not, however, noise music. Despite the acoustic groundings in noise, the sounds exhibit harmonic and quasi-harmonic behaviours, especially as the sounds develop in the course of the work. Ultimately, the piece crosses back and forth over the thin line of sound and noise, where both are valid musical materials.

Kerry Hagan is a composer and researcher working in both acoustic and computer media. She develops real-time methods for spatialization and stochastic algorithms and studies the æsthetics and history of electronic music. Recent works include a real-time stochastically generated work for computer alone and bass solo. Current research includes real-time stochastic methods for music composition and sound synthesis, spatialization techniques for 3D sounds and electronic / electroacoustic musicology. She holds a PhD in Composition from the University of California, San Diego, where she worked with Roger Reynolds, Chaya Czernowin, Miller Puckette and F. Richard Moore. Currently, Kerry is a Lecturer at the University of Limerick in the Digital Media and Arts Research Centre (formerly CCMCM). At the University of Limerick, she built the Spatialization and Auditory Display Environment (SpADE), a 32.2-channel environment for composition, auditory display and psychoacoustic research. Kerry also founded the Irish Sound, Science and Technology Association (ISSTA), an organisation whose mission is to foster collaboration between artists, musicians, scientists and researchers in Ireland and to promote the work of Irish-based or Irish-born practitioners abroad.

Ethan Hayden — bats with baby faces in the violet light (2011)

bats with baby faces in the violet light was created using the sounds of various objects the composer found around his home. The sounds are arranged into various gestural contexts, often with very little signal processing. The primary æsthetic aim of the piece is to exploit the unplanned and frequently unpredictable pitched sounds which often burst forth from, or which are components of, noisier, percussive gestures.

Ethan Hayden is a composer and performer based in Buffalo NY. He has written music for various performing forces, ranging from solo instruments to large ensembles, often involving electronics. Recent works reflect an ongoing interest in language, phonetics and poetry, as well as large-scale explorations of timbre, resonance and sonic spectra. His music has been performed at festivals across the country, most recently at SEAMUS (Appleton WI), NSEME (Baltimore MD) and June in Buffalo. In 2008, he graduated from the University of North Texas magna cum laude with BMs in Composition and Theory. While at UNT, he was active as a composer and performer, studying composition with David Bithell, Andrew May and Joseph Klein. He recently received his MA in composition from the University at Buffalo, where he studied with Jeffrey Stadelman. Still at UB, Ethan is a PhD Candidate (ABD), studying with Cort Lippe. Also active as an experimental vocalist, Ethan regularly performs with Babel Vocal Ensemble and with Wooden Cities, a Buffalo-based new music/improvisation ensemble.

Yota Kobayashi — Shikisou (2012)

Shikisou is an acousmatic composition for quadraphonic tape. This piece marks the conclusion of an electroacoustic triptych that also includes Tensho for flute and tape (2008) and Kakusei for six-channel tape (2009). The word “shikisou” means “hue” in Japanese, but can also mean “appearance” or “visible figure.” The concept of metamorphosis plays a key role in Shikisou — to this end, sounds that are typically associated with human functions (voice, breathing, footsteps) are gradually transformed into an intrinsically avian sound-world (birdcalls, the flapping of wings). This transformation represents the composer’s desire to shed his mortal restraints and launch himself onto uncharted trajectories. Set against the backdrop of the four seasons, the initial section of Shikisou, Spring, is comprised almost entirely of birdcalls. By Summer, a human element is introduced by way of footsteps, and coexists with unprocessed birdsong. In Autumn, we see the first attempts at human — bird metamorphosis through the inclusion of parrot calls, which imitate human speech, while true human voices are reduced to textural noise.Winter closes the work with genuine transformation: with each stroke of a winter gong, a chorus of human voices gradually morphs into a flock of birds departing to an unknown destination, leaving behind all terrestrial fetters.

Yota Kobayashi is a composer born in Nagoya (Japan) in 1980. He moved to Vancouver, Canada in 2000 and has studied music composition with Barry Truax and Owen Underhill at Simon Fraser University and Dr. Keith Hamel at University of British Columbia. He is currently based in Vancouver, where he teaches electronic music and sound design courses at Langara College. Also at the University of British Columbia, he is pursuing his doctoral studies in composition and has been conducting a research project on interactive live electronic music with the fellowship funding from Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) in Canada (2011–15). His works have been presented at numerous festivals and conferences in North/South America and Europe including Bourges International Festival of Electroacoustic Music, International Computer Music Conference, Sound and Music Computing Conference, New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, Third Practice Festival and The Noise of Snow Festival. Among his awards include Musica Nova (Czech Republic), Concorso Internazionale Luigi Russolo and the CEC’s Jeux de Temps / Times Play.

Donna Hewitt — One (2012)

One is a new composition work for the eMic. The eMic (extended mic-stand interface controller) consists of a modified microphone stand that captures the physical gestures of the vocal performer via an array of sensing devices including pressure sensors, distance sensors, tilt sensors, ribbon sensors and a joystick microphone mount. The design of the interface was drawn from the commonly used gestural language of popular singers who use microphones and stands in performance. This new work foregrounds gesture and choreography in the compositional process exploring the relationships between expressive and functional gesture and the morphology of the sound itself.

Donna Hewitt is a vocalist, electronic music composer and instrument designer. Her primary interest in recent years has been exploring gesture mediated music performance and investigating new ways of interfacing the voice with electronic media. She is the inventor of the eMic, a sensor enhanced microphone stand for electronic music performance which she has been developing and performing with internationally since 2003. In 2010, she has collaborated with Dance artist Avril Huddy on an Australia Council for the Arts funded project for eMic performer and dancers. Donna has most recently been working with the collective Lady Electronic who were awarded funding from the Australia Council for the Arts to work with artists including Gotye and Quan from Regurgitator. She is currently working on an Arts Queensland funded project to develop a performance showcase for Lady Electronica to be held at the Judith Wright Centre in October 2012. Recent performances include ICMC 2011, Brisbane Festival (Under the Radar), NIME 2010. She is a Senior lecturer in Music & Sound at Queensland University of Technology, Australia.

Ed Wright — Crosswire (2010)
electric violin and live processing

Crosswire is a piece of music manifested as a computer program (written in Max/MSP 5). Historically, many of the artefacts of musical creation have been almost interchangeable with the actions that they represent, CD recordings and notated sheet music spring to mind. In addition to this, many of the systems set down by composers to create a piece of music are sets of parameters or restrictions within which performers work and create new, fresh interpretations. This becomes clear when considering the almost total lack of volume, timbral or articulatory information written down in a Bach fugue, or the defining nature of the chord progression in many types of jazz. Crosswire builds on these phenomena and, rather than being a computer program designed as a way to facilitate the creation or execution of a piece of music, instead is the piece of music. The violin part is “freely” improvised and the output of the instrument is fed into the computer. Within Crosswire the sound of the violin is analysed to provide information about the pitch of the note being played, how loud it is and its harmonic content. This is then used to turn on or off a number of different types of processors and form or break links between them. This is displayed to the performer and audience as a hexagonal constellation. Each dot represents a processor: when a dot is small the processor is off; when it is large it is on; lines between dots symbolise links sending audio out of one process to another.

Ed Wright was born in Buckinghamshire UK in 1980. He completed a practice-based PhD in music, focusing on combining electroacoustic and instrumental composition, with Professor Andrew Lewis at Bangor University in 2010, where he is currently a teaching fellow in music. His work is mainly focused towards the electroacoustic end of the musical spectrum, although he writes for and plays “real” instruments as well, and has a particular interest in live and physical methods of performing and engaging with electronic music. Ed’s work has been mentioned at the Prix Bourges as well as being performed as part of the International Computer Music Conference later this year. His work is available on the Blipfonica label (blipfonica.com). Ed lives in North Wales with Emma, their daughter Alena, Ben the dog, Black Bess the stealth ninja pirate cat and finds it very hard to write about himself in the third person.
http://virtual440.com

Andrew Connor — Study No. 3: Foghorn Abstraction (2011)

Study No. 3: Foghorn Abstraction takes inspiration from two sources — Lewis’ Penmon Point (2003) has a recurring motif of a sea bell, providing a structure throughout. Here a similar structure and exploration of the sonic properties of a foghorn has been used. The visual inspiration comes from Piet Mondrian, particularly his studies of the sea, where successive renderings are ever more abstract, reducing the forms he observes into simple lines which still convey the essential life of the scene. In this piece, both the original image of the foghorn and the audio recordings of the sea and the foghorn blast are increasingly broken down into their constituent elements as the work progresses. Each recurrence of the foghorn blast examines the constituent parts in different ways, returning at the end to the original peaceful sound of the sea.

Andrew Connor is currently undertaking a part-time PhD in Creative Music Practice at the University of Edinburgh, under the supervision of Dr. Robert Dow. His area of interest is audiovisual composition, particularly the combination of electroacoustic composition with abstract images in animation. His work starts with music made from the manipulation of recorded sounds, which he uses to create a sonic base for close integration with abstract animation. Prior to his completion of an MSc in Sound Design at Edinburgh in 2008, he worked for the BBC across a variety of departments in television and radio. He continues to work part-time in the film, TV and multimedia industries in financial and sound design roles. Andrew’s work has been performed in concerts and as installations at The EmergeAndSee Student Film Festival in Berlin 2008, ICMC 2011 and in the Byte Gallery at Transylvania University, Kentucky. Andrew Connor would like to acknowledge the generous support of The Cullen Bequest of The Reid School of Music, University of Edinburgh.

DAY 1 — Thursday, August 16th

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11:45–12:30 • Listening Session #1

Diego Garro — Más Claro (in 7 movements) [2012]
Adam Basanta — Three Myths of Liberalism (2012)
Adam Vidiksis — Mitochondrial Dreams (2011)

Diego Garro — Más Claro (in 7 movements) (2012)

Más Claro is a collection of acousmatic miniatures developed entirely from a set of clarinet sounds, produced both with conventional and extended playing techniques. Bass clarinettist Sarah Watts and clarinettist Richard Nelmes were given a few, non-restrictive guidelines as to what materials to generate with their instrument. The recording sessions were inspired by the playful desire to explore the sonic capabilities of the clarinets and their potential to generate novel gestural types and sonic streams. Subsequent digital processing utilised a variety of transformations to expand and harness the acoustic energy profiles, moulding them into self-contained miniscule compositions. The cycle attempts to present listeners with a palette of materials and phrasing solutions achievable only “off-line,” in the confines of the electronic music studio, arguably surpassing the increasingly sophisticated timbral world of contemporary live-electronics and possibly equalling its expressive primacy. The progressive/regressive durations of the miniatures making up Más Claro (1-2-3-4-3-2-1 minutes) constituted a self-imposed temporal framework, which hopefully assists the audiences in negotiating their attention through a long deluge of stimuli. Gestural motives coalesce these short movements together into a cohesive whole, while each of them is tinted with its own individual sonic signage. Therefore, these seven vignettes can be enjoyed in isolation, or collectively as movements of a larger work. Reflecting the artistic language and the humorous mood underlying this work, the title is a whimsical word play, which mixes “clarinet” and “claro” (the Spanish word for “clear”) into an uncertain semantic cauldron.

Diego Garro is a Senior lecturer in Music Technology, Electroacoustic Music and Video Art at Keele University (UK). His teaching and research interests lie in creative electronic media, especially on working practices and compositional languages that bridge the electroacoustic idiom with other aspects of popular culture and experimental art (electronica, glitch, video). His output includes fixed-media audio and audio-visual works, which are regularly selected and performed in UK and abroad and have often received international recognition in various festivals, conferences and competitions, including prizes in two consecutive years at the Bourges International Competition of Electroacoustic Music and Sound Art in 2004 and 2005. A sound design expert, Garro investigates ways in which new sonic materials can emerge from performative interactions with digital audio equipment. In his computer-aided compositions he is preoccupied with the organisation of audio (or audio + video) abstract materials into micro and macro-structures akin to those found in a variety of western music genres.

Adam Basanta — Three Myths of Liberalism (2012)

Despite the numerous political, socio-economical and technological changes that have taken place since the 19th century, classical liberal ideology still provides a foundation for our conception of modern life and our place within it. In Three Myths of Liberalism, I wanted to interrogate and complicate three interrelated aspects of this ideology — the relationship between the individual and the collective, the relation of work to monetary gain and the search for individual self-fulfilment — through both a sonic and metaphoric lens. Each of the three aforementioned topics is explored sequentially throughout three intertwined movements. While interrogating liberal ideology, the piece does not propose a simple diametrically opposite philosophy; rather, it aims to reveal the complex ambiguities of modern life and the inadequacies of singular ideological dogmas. In this sense, the piece suggests a multiplicity of interweaving narratives, which are revealed and re-structured through the listener’s imaginative engagement. Winner of John Weinzweig grand prize for best composition, as well 1st prize in the Hugh Le Caine category, SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Composers, July 2012, Ottawa, Canada.

Adam Basanta (b. 1985) is a multiple award-winning composer and media artist, whose work traverses electroacoustic, acoustic and mixed composition, audiovisual installations, interactive laptop performance and innovative light design. His work often explores various modes of listening, cross-modal perception, the re-animation of quotidian objects and the articulation of site and space. His concert works have been presented throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia and the UK, and have been awarded multiple national and international prizes. In 2012, his electroacoustic work Three Myths of Liberalism was awarded the John Weinzweig Grand Prize for best composition in the SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Composers. His audiovisual installations have been presented in Canada, the USA and Spain. He holds a BFA from Simon Fraser University (Vancouver BC), where he studied extensively with Barry Truax, and is currently completing an interdisciplinary MA at Concordia University (Montréal QC), supervised by Sandeep Bhagwati and Chris Salter.
http://www.adambasanta.com

Adam Vidiksis — Mitochondrial Dreams (2011)
percussion and electronics

The mitochondria within my body will perish at the time of my death. Like all men and women who will not in the course of their life carry a child within them, the long chain of information passed through these cells exclusively from mother to child will be destroyed and forgotten. Mitochondrial Dreams is a musical work for found percussion items and electronics produced using Csound, Pure Data and Logic. It explores the wonder that can be felt when contemplating the ancient genetic history these cells carry. They are part of us; indeed we could not exist without them, yet these small creatures are genetically dissimilar from our own code. They are an essential part of our shared human heritage. The community of mitochondrial cells within me has propagated in a line unbroken since before the first humans walked the earth — yet this genetic lineage will unquestionably end with me. Mitochondrial Dreams is a celebration of the marvellous complexity of life and a reckoning with mortality.

Adam Vidiksis was born in 1979 in Staten Island (New York City). His musical studies began on the piano at age four. As a child, he could frequently be found hitting nearly everything around him in order to experience the sound it would make: Adam soon discovered his love of creating new musical possibilities and his passion for all things percussion. As a young man, Adam developed a deep interest in science and technology, an enthusiasm that has profoundly influenced his work as a musician. He is very active as a performer, teacher, conductor and composer, and is an enthusiastic advocate for new music. His work often explores sound, science and the intersection of humankind with the machines we build. Adam holds a Master of Music degree from New York University and is earning a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in music composition at Temple University where he teaches classes in music theory and computer music. Adam’s percussion compositions are available through HoneyRock Publishing.
http://vidiksis.com

20:00–22:00 • Symposium Concert #2

Mitch Renaud — Uses and Disadvantages of Living Among Specters (for/on G.A.) [2012]
Theo Mathien — A Trace of Finches (2011)
Michael Pounds — Opening (2012)
Joshua Keeling — Draconids (2011)

MiND — MiND Live: Live Coding Audiovisuals (Meaghan Niewland, Ian Jarvis, Nicolas Hesler, Dwayne Ali and David Ogborn)

Steve Everett — First Life: Imagining the Chemical Origins of Life (2012)
Sean Peuquet — Windows Left Open (2011)

Mitch Renaud — Uses and Disadvantages of Living Among Specters (for/on G.A.) (2012)
vibraphone and electronics

Uses and Disadvantages of Living Among Specters (for/on G.A.) originates from a reading of Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben’s wonderful essay “On the Uses and Disadvantages of Living Among Specters” from his recent collection Nudities. This essay departs from another’s portrayal of Venice as a rotting cadaver that has been dressed up with make-up and perfumes. Agamben extends the metaphor towards a specter made up of “signs, or more precisely of signatures, that is to say, those signs, ciphers, or monograms that are etched onto things by time.” This specter — neither living nor dead — under the pen of Agamben goes on to “argue with its choir-like voice that if all the cities and all the languages of Europe now survive only as phantasms, then only those who have understood these most intimate and most familiar deeds, only those who recite and record the discarnate words and stones, will perhaps be able one day to reopen that breach in which history — in which life — suddenly fulfills its promise.”

Mitch Renaud was born in Puce Ontario where he grew up playing in rock bands, gradually moving towards contemporary music. He completed his undergrad in composition at the University of Toronto, studying with Gary Kulesha and James Rolfe, among others. Active as a concert organizer, a guitar teacher and writer etc., in the fall he will begin an interdisciplinary masters degree at the University of Victoria, where his research will look at approaches to music and the arts through Cultural Studies. Mitch’s practice explores the visceral and intellectual points of intersection between various art forms and ideas, often incorporating varying degrees of extra-musical elements. Most of his output reflects on issues surrounding the state of being: how we live with ourselves, among each other and the spaces that contain us. http://mitchrenaud.com

Theo Mathien — A Trace of Finches (2011)

Inspiration for A Trace of Finches comes from the Don Domanski poem of the same name and my experience recording the sounds of the woods of Blomidon, Nova Scotia, the area in which the poem is set. These field recordings, which make up the entirety of the piece, are frequently transformed and distorted to reveal only traces of their true nature. Sound masses arise from and decompose into these constituent elements, their remnants akin to finding a trace of a small bird’s past existence when you happen upon a piece of its skeleton during a hike through the forest. The piece plays with the scale of the poem’s imagery and tone, with emphasis placed on the following lines:

moths tracing thin bracelets in the air
fireflies drifting about with their gnomish-milliwatts hives sighing in the undergrowth
•••
a wild belief
that the earth will sustain us see us through
that we’ll be angeled through with light at the end
•••
I think of finches
because when those birds all rise together into the air it’s like all the holy places
pulling away at once from the earth the way small birds arrive and take our breath away

The creation of A Trace of Finches was made possible by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Theo Mathien began composing electroacoustic music while completing his Bachelor of Arts degree at Queen’s University. There, he studied with Dr. Kristi Allik and Dr. John Burge. Following graduation in 2001, Theo began a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Concordia University, finishing in 2003. By 2007 he had completed a Masters degree in music composition at the University of Alberta where he studied with Dr. Paul Steenhuisen and Dr. Howard Bashaw. Theo is now finishing his Doctorate of Music with Dr. Robert Normandeau at the Université de Montréal. He has had works performed at the National Arts Centre and across Canada, and in 2010 finished a year-long project supported by a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.

Michael Pounds — Openings (2012)

Openings is the first version of a piece being developed for a computer performance system that makes use of the Electrotap Teabox and associated sensors. Another version in progress will incorporate a live accordion player. The present piece uses pre-recorded accordion sounds as the source material for all of the music. It is intended to be the first in a series of works that explore live performance with gestural control of computer processing of live and computer-generated sound. Thanks to Rick DiGiallonardo for helping with this piece and for letting me record his accordion sounds. Thanks also to Nathan Daywalt for his assistance. This activity is made possible, in part, with support from the Indiana Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

After a relatively short career as a mechanical engineer, Michael Pounds turned his energies toward composition, studying at Bowling Green State University, Ball State University, the University of Birmingham in England and the University of Illinois, where he completed his doctorate. He specializes in computer music composition and collaborative intermedia projects. His awards include the ASCAP/SEAMUS Student Commission Award and a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship for studies in England and residencies at the MacDowell Colony and I-Park. His music has been performed throughout the United States and in Canada, Mexico, England, France, Spain, Austria, Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Recent performances include the International Computer Music Conference and the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the US National Conference. He was a co-host of the 2005 national conference of the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the US. Michael is the Assistant Director of the Music Media Production program at Ball State University, where he teaches composition, acoustics, music perception, recording and computer music.

Joshua Keeling — Draconids (2011)
soprano saxophone, bassoon, and interactive electroacoustics

In October 2010, I had the pleasure of seeing my first meteor shower from a beautiful North Florida beach. In the extreme early morning hours, hundreds of meteors flooded the sky from all directions, most of them emerging from the direction of the constellation Draco. Some were quick and dazzling; others, to my surprise, drifted on slow, winding paths across the sky before dissipating into the night. The sense of tranquillity and amazement I felt while watching this beautiful phenomenon is one that I will never forget. In Draconids, I have ventured to render my impressions of the experience in musical form. To ensure that the electronics are flexible and completely responsive to the performers, the computer uses pitch tracking to follow along as they progress through the score, allowing them to interpret the music at their own pace. The instrumentalists act partly as illustrators, establishing materials to which the computer adds motion and colour, and as observers, reacting both to one another and to the overall soundscape. Multiphonics in the instrumental parts introduce altered harmonic spectra that further expand the tone colours available for the computer’s extraction and manipulation. The multiphonics are reflected microtonally in much of the wind instruments’ melodic material. Often, the melodic passages are consonant with the multiphonic’s harmonic spectrum, but even more often, I was fascinated by the sound of notes just outside the multiphonic spectrum. This effect can be heard especially in the final section, where the instrumentalists’ sound is convolved in real time with bassoon multiphonics, leaving behind long, sonic trails.

Described as “compelling,” “unorthodox” and “exhilarating,” Joshua Keeling’s music enjoys a rapidly growing reputation. Recent distinctions include a commission and numerous performances from Post-Haste Reed Duo, a commission and Berlin premiere from Trio aufffhören, the score for Claudia Johnson’s feature-length film The Other Side of Silence and continuing invitations to festivals and conferences across the country, including SEAMUS 2012 and SCI. He received his BM from Belmont University, studied for a year at the Hochschule für Musik Carl Maria von Weber in Dresden, Germany and received his MM from the University of Texas at Austin. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Florida State University. A native of Arizona and the Phoenix area, Scotty Phillips started learning piano at age 5 and at age 9 began studying the saxophone. He has a Bachelor of Music Education and Bachelor of Music in Saxophone Performance magna cum laude from the Northern Arizona University and is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Saxophone Performance at Florida State University.

Susan Durnin’s extremely diverse taste in music genres is reflected in her wide range of solo repertoire, ensembles and musical adaptability. With works ranging from Vivaldi to Gubaidulina, her recitals explore the history and possibilities of the bassoon. Ms. Durnin was principal bassoonist for the University of Manitoba Symphony Orchestra and has performed in many ensembles including Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, Niagara Symphony Orchestra, and University of Toronto Opera Orchestra. Ms. Durnin completed her Artist Diploma in Orchestral Studies with Nadina Mackie Jackson at the Glenn Gould School after competing her Bachelor Degree in Music Performance at the University of Manitoba.

MiND — MiND Live: Live Coding Audiovisual Performance
Live Coding Audiovisual Performance by Meaghan Niewland, Ian Jarvis, Nicolas Hesler, Dwayne Ali and David Ogborn

MiND Live is a collaborative live performance featuring live coding with projected Jitter visuals, vocals processed through ChucK, and multi-channel manipulations within SuperCollider. Vocals by singer Meaghan Niewland interact with multi-channel live-coded audio produced by Ian Jarvis and David Ogborn. Projected visuals are manipulated in real time by Dwayne Ali using touchOSC and an iPad, while Nicolas Hesler manages a network of live streaming video from a mobile web cam and screen captures of each of the performers’ laptops.

MiND is a collaborative group that formed during the graduate course “Sound as Art and Research” in the Communication and New Media graduate program at McMaster University. The ensemble features videomusique and live visual and audio coding. Group members include Dwayne Ali, Nicolas Hesler, Ian Jarvis, Meaghan Niewland and David Ogborn.

Steve Everett — First Life: Imagining the Chemical Origins of Life (2012)

First Life is a mixed media performance for string quartet, narration, live audio processing, surround sound diffusion, live motion capture video projection and audience participation. It is supported by the Center for Chemical Evolution, which is funded by the National Science Foundation and NASA Astrobiology Program. Composition of the work draws upon stochastic modelling of chemical data provided by researchers in Martha Grover’s Research Group at the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. Each section of this work is constructed from contingent outcomes drawn from Grover’s biochemical research exploring the early Earth formations of organic compounds. The work also uses the results from the 1953 Miller-Urey experiments that demonstrated some organic compounds such as amino acids, essential to cellular life, could be made easily under the conditions that scientists suspected to be present on the early Earth. This quote from Grover was important in forming my initial conception of this composition:

“A biological organism has the ability to respond to its environment and learn from its past experiences, while human-designed systems are typically more rigid and thus less ‘intelligent.’”
—Martha Grover, Design of an Intelligent Material, 2011.

Steve Everett is Professor of Music and teaches composition, computer music. He directs the Music-Audio Research Center and is Director of the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence at Emory University. In addition, he has been a visiting professor of composition at Princeton University and has been a guest composer at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, Rotterdam Conservatory of Music and Utrecht School of the Arts. His doctoral degree in composition is from the University of Illinois, where he studied with Salvatore Martirano. He also studied composition with Peter Maxwell Davies and Witold Lutos?awski at Dartington Hall in England. At Emory, he has served as Chair of the Department of Music and President of the University Senate. Many of his recent compositions involve performers with computer-controlled electronics and have been performed in twenty-five different countries throughout Europe, Asia and North America. He has received composition awards from the Rockefeller Foundation, Chamber Music America and International Trumpet Guild.

Sean Peuquet — Windows Left Open (2011)
electric guitar, acoustic guitar, cello, contrabass and electronics

Live performance marks a point of tangency between how we hear the world and how we model it. It should be reflective of a deep reciprocity between listening and voicing. Windows Left Open presents such a tangency directly, allowing the reciprocity inherent in our aural engagement with the world to come to the fore. In this way, performer musicality becomes contextualized as a larger exploration of “natural” phenomena. By leaving performers to engage with the piece’s sound world on their own accord through microtonal pitch matching and aural feedback, the nuance of performance itself highlights a reasonableness for juxtaposing soundscape and algorithm. Through our awareness and sensitivity to performative provision, response, and imprecision, we listeners begin to take a few tentative steps towards situating ourselves somewhere between the two.

Sean Peuquet is a composer, installation artist and occasional audio hardware hacker. He is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Digital Arts at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida. Sean’s compositions are performed regularly, both nationally and internationally, in venues such as SEAMUS, ICMC, the Boston CyberArts Festival, the New York City Electronic Music Festival, Electronic Music Midwest, the SCI National Conference and the Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium. He is a PhD candidate in Music Composition at the University of Florida, where he is finishing a dissertation concerning theoretical intersections of music and place. His current research focuses on listener phenomenology as framed by the dialectics of space and place, convergent algorithms in generative musical systems and human-computer interaction using position-sensing technologies. He holds a masters degree in Electroacoustic Music from Dartmouth College and a BA in Music and Psychology (with an Astronomy minor) from the University of Virginia.
http://www.ludicsound.com

DAY 2 — Friday, August 17th

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11:30–12:30 • Listening Session #2

Chin Ting Chan — Katachi I (2011)
Steve Whalley — Cloud Eater (2012)
Andrew Babcock — Reconstruction (2011)
Andrew Dolphin — Mint Cascade (2010)
John Nichols — AGE

Chin Ting Chan — Katachi I (2011)

Katachi is a Japanese term that means form, shape or figure. In the ancient game of Go, the word Katachi is used to describe the formation of stones on a Go board (Go originates from ancient China, where it is known as Weiqi). The conception of stone formation in Go is transformed to apply to the circulation and combination of sounds and timbre in the music. Katachi I uses primarily sounds produced by the Go stones, board and bowls. The circulating effect created by the different panning techniques is a dominant feature in this piece. The stereophonic image thus produced represents a recurring form or shape much similar to an image of a pentagon garden.

Raised in Hong Kong, the music of Chin Ting (Patrick) Chan has been internationally recognized by honours and awards including Staatsorchester Darmstadt’s Soli fan tutti Composition Prize (finalist), the Third Annual newEar Composers’ Competition (winner), as well as performances at the Darmstadt State Theatre in Germany, Zeigeist’s Tuesday Salon (ACF), San Francisco New Music Forum’s Festival of Contemporary Music, Electronic Music Midwest and new music festivals at BGSU and UAH, among others; by artists and groups such as Zeitgeist, Color Field Ensemble, KcEMA and Nonsemble 6. Mr. Chan earned his BMus degree from San José State University and MMus degree from Bowling Green State University. He is currently pursuing a DMA in composition at the University of Missouri-Kansas City while serving as studio manager of the IMPACT Center and teaching courses in electronic music. His mentors have included Zhou Long, Chen Yi, Marilyn Shrude, Burton Beerman, Andrea Reinkemeyer, Brian Belet and Pablo Furman. He is a founding member of the composer’s consortium Melos Music.

Steve Whalley — Cloud Eater (2012)

Cloud Eater focuses primarily on the negative space that exists within melody, rhythm and texture. More so, the piece explores the absence of melody that is created using gates and side chain compression between multiple tracks to break or syncopate the original structure or stems. The layering of samples processed through filters and gates creates a breathing within the piece that allows the textural components to either stick to or float away from the composition, much like how a cloud retains and releases water. The rhythm is dictated by the textures, pulling the listener along like a current creating a whirlpool effect, swirling downward and floating back up returning to its origin through the looping of phrases and removal of integral structural components.

Steve Whalley is a Toronto-based artist who works in sound and video. He holds a BFA in Integrated Media from OCADU. He has exhibited sound works in Canada, the US and Germany.

Andrew Babcock — Reconstruction (2011)

Reconstruction began as the recording of a significant number of extended techniques played on the cello. As the source materials were continuously fragmented and recombined through basic signal processing methods such as pitch shifting, delay, filtering and amplitude modulation, aural images reminiscent of Fraggle Rock and Lego emerged, helping guide the composition’s narrative.

Born in Buffalo, NY, Andrew Babcock has been working in a variety of contexts with music and multimedia for over ten years. After studying composition with Samuel Pellman at Hamilton College, he worked in New York City as a composer and sound designer for television, radio and film. Andrew recently completed an MA in composition at the University at Buffalo, where he studied with Cort Lippe and Jeffrey Stadelman. Andrew’s main interests lie in acousmatic music and exploring the transformative potential of mundane sound materials and their ability to yield complex sonic associations and narrative structures. He was awarded first prize in the 2011 Sound in Space competition sponsored by Harvard University, Northeastern University and the Goethe-Institut, and is a finalist in the Metamorphoses 2012 competition in Belgium. His works have been featured internationally at festivals such as Sonorities, ICMC, TES, NYCEMF and SEAMUS. Andrew is currently working towards his PhD in composition at the University of Florida, studying under Paul Koonce.

Andrew Dolphin — Mint Cascade (2010)

Mint Cascade explores and extends the spatial motion and spatial features of recordings of kinetic objects, with all spatial movement in the piece derived from 8-channel recordings of the animated source. The kinetic materials transform, cascade, instigate and collide.

Andy Dolphin is a composer, digital artist and lecturer in Music, Sound & Performance at Leeds Metropolitan University. His research interests include electroacoustic composition, spatial audio and developing interactive compositional systems or sound toys incorporating game engine technologies for sonic purposes. He is currently completing a PhD at SARC (Sonic Arts Research Center), Queen’s University, Northern Ireland.

John Nichols — AGE

My compositional methodology involves the elimination of narrative connections between the compositional world and the sonic world by treating my sound sources (field recordings, etc.) as “found templates” that serve as points of departure and influence the general direction, pacing and proportions of the resulting composition. The templates serve to map new concrete sounds onto abstract experiences so that diverse timbres may combine in unlikely ways and retain the flow of the original experience. Critical moments in the creative process indicate when to employ “surprise tactics.” Thematic foreshadowing and recall generate cohesion and anticipation as tension mounts.

John S. Nichols III is pursuing his Doctorate in Composition at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign where he has studied with professors Sever Tipei, Scott A. Wyatt, Philipp Blume and Heinrich Taube. His string quartet Desideratum won the Union League Civic & Arts Foundation Composition Contest in 2004 and the La Rock Composition Contest in 2005. His electro-acoustic compositions have received numerous national performances including the 11th annual CSUF New Music Festival in California (2011) and the SEAMUS 2011 and 2012 conferences. His piece Ole Grandaddy is included on the recent Measures of Change CD (2011) produced by Dr. Scott Wyatt at the Electronic Music Studios at the University of Illinois. His electroacoustic composition Theory of Accidents was a finalist in the 2011 Morton Gould ASCAP young composer competition. Recently, his electroacoustic compositions were selected for performance at the 2012 Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium and ICMC (2012). He was awarded a special mention in the Métamorphoses 2012 composition competition and will appear on the CD.

15:00–15:45 • Listening Session #3

Ryo Ikeshiro — Construction in Zhuangzi (2011)
Nimalan Yoganathan — Unseen Songlines (2012)

Ryo Ikeshiro — Construction in Zhuangzi (2011)

Construction in Zhuangzi is a simultaneous sonification and visualisation of a modified Lorenz dynamic system, a three-dimensional model of convection that is nonlinear, chaotic and sensitive to initial conditions. It is implemented in Max/MSP/Jitter. A performance takes the form of an improvisation involving the modification of parameters of the dynamic system, these human interactions being indicated by momentary colour inversions. The real-time, generative audiovisuals establish a perceptual feedback loop between the performer and the near-autonomous algorithm, or perhaps a duet-duel between these two elements due to the “butterfly effect” and the emergent behaviour of the dynamical system.

This also yields interesting results as audio, either as signal data in non-standard synthesis or control data such as rhythm, pitch and panning (no pre-recorded samples or conventional oscillators are used apart from sine waves) and as OpenGL 3D visuals. Being representations of the same data source, coherence between these two domains are maintained without either being subservient to the other as it is neither the audio triggering the visuals nor vice versa as is often the case. The outcome is an integrated audiovisual, real-time, generative, interactive and live performance.

Ryo Ikeshiro is a London-based electronic and acoustic musician working in the fields of audiovisual composition, improvisation, interactive installations, soundtrack and theory. He graduated from Kings College London and Cambridge and is currently studying for a PhD in studio composition at Goldsmiths College. Research interests include the use of chaotic systems in generative, emergent structures and non-standard synthesis, glitch / noise / punk æsthetics in electronic music and new forms of interaction and presentation of works. He has presented work at New Resonances Festival, Noise vs. Culture (Kent), Redsonic (London), Deleuze Philosophy Transdisciplinarity (London), Seeing Sound 2 (Bath), Xenakis International Symposium 2011 (London), Contemporanea 2011 Festival di Nuova Musica (Udine), ICMC 2010 (New York) and re:new 2010 (Copenhagen). He is a member of ry-om, whose tracks have been featured on Resonance FM. His orchestral works have been performed by the Britten Sinfonia. As an events organiser, he runs a series entitled ABA. He is also a visiting tutor and runs workshops challenging preconceptions about music.
http://ryoikeshiro.com

Nimalan Yoganathan — Unseen Songlines (2012)

Mamori / Unseen Songlines immerses the audience within the soundscapes of Mamori Lake, a remote village inside the Brazilian Amazon. Nimalan takes a cue from acoustic ecologist R. Murray Schafer’s concept of schizophonia, which refers to the split between an original sound and its electroacoustic reproduction in a soundscape. This performance explores the ambiguous perception of sounds emanating from the jungle and deep beneath the Amazon River, where we hear the sounds but cannot visualize their sources. Field recordings weave in and out of electroacoustic textures / gestures in a subtle matter so as to accentuate the grey area between the natural soundscapes and Nimalan’s synthesized sounds. The listener is invited to hone in on the musical subtleties of the rainforest without being distracted by its visual beauty.

Nimalan Yoganathan is a Montreal sound artist and composer who focuses on sculpting field recordings in his works made during his travels through bustling cities, desolate landscapes and spiritual sites of worship. He often attempts to mimic the timbral and rhythmic characteristics of such natural sounds using electronic gestures. In a time when global communities are being plagued by noise pollution, he believes it is crucial to preserve and celebrate the subtle but musical sounds hidden all around us. Nimalan has participated in field-recording and composition residencies in the Brazilian Amazon and Arctic Quebec. He has released experimental Dub and Hip-Hop albums on labels such as Le Son 666 and Panospria. His works have been disseminated internationally at festivals and venues including Chicago Calling, Tonic (NYC), Hartware Medien Kunst Verein (Berlin), MUTEK (Montreal), Suoni per il Popolo, OBORO and Société des arts technologiques (SAT). Nimalan holds two Bachelor’s degrees in both Electroacoustic Composition (Concordia University) and Electrical Engineering (McGill University). http://nimalanyoganathan.wordpress.com

20:00–22:00 • Sound Travels Concert: Flocking

With Terri Hron, Emilie LeBel, Robert Normandeau, Paula Matthusen, Trevor Wishart, Paul Dutton and Tomás Henriques.

Theatre Direct’s Wychwood Theatre, 601 Christie St. #176
$15 / $10 / free to symposium participants

Flocking features performances by recorder player and composer Terri Horn who will present a work of her own plus perform works composed by LeBel, Normandeau and Matthusen. Also included will be a performance by Tomás Henriques of his piece Duality with Henriques’ unique instrument, the Double-slide Controller. Closing the concert will be a duet sound singing improvisation by Toronto’s original sound singing legend Paul Dutton and Sound Travels 2012’s Guest Artist, Trevor Wishart.

DAY 3 — Saturday, August 18th

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11:45–12:30 • Listening Session #4

Gordon Delap — Sympathetic Magic
Tom Williams — Wire and Wind (2012)
Lee Fraser — Aerial Vapours (2011)
An?l Çamc? — Birdfish (2012)

Gordon Delap — Sympathetic Magic

Sympathetic Magic is a composition for electronic sounds alone. I made two recordings of the double bassist Bryan Quigley generating improvisations and single sounds in October 2011. The sounds were originally used to create a piece for performer and live electronics; they bled over into this composition. The double bass materials have been cross-synthesized with a limited range of vocal sounds. The title related to the idea that, in magical thinking, objects which were once bonded, might still impact upon each other, even after contact has been severed.

Gordon Delap comes from Co. Donegal in Ireland. He studied composition at City University (London) and Queen’s University (Belfast). He has undertaken residencies at Nadine Arts Centre in Brussels and at the Technische Universität in Berlin where he carried out research into compositional applications of non-linear plate models. In recent times he has received commissions from the British Council, Spacenet, the Naughton Gallery and BBC Radio 3, and in 2005 he won first prize in the Projet Itinerant competition “Point de Repère.” He is currently lecturer in music technology at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

Tom Williams — Wire and Wind (2012)

Piled high in a field on the top of a hill there is a mass of tangled, rusting wire and twisted metal poles that oscillate and whistle as the wind blows. There is a giant wire sculpture on the roof of the Tàpies Foundation in Barcelona by the Catalan artist Antoni Tàpies — the work is called Cloud and Chair. Wire: man-made, hard but malleable, made from iron (steel). Iron is the Chinese element linked to autumn and lungs; air is associated with qi (chi): life, energy and breath. Wire & Wind, the sound work unfolds, entangles and disentangles these elements, these ideas and images within musical structures.

Tom Williams is an award-winning composer. He is principal lecturer in composition and leader of the experimental research group INTIME at Coventry University, UK. He studied composition at Huddersfield and Keele Universities and completed a doctorate in composition at Boston University. In the 1993 ALEA III composition competition his piano and tape work Ironwork was a prize-winner; the acousmatic work Break was a finalist at Music Viva 2004, while in 2006 Shelter received an honourable mention at Bourges, IMEB. In 2010, Can won the medal of the Senato della Repubblica Italiana Music Contest “Città di Udine.” Recent compositions include the dance video work, Voice (a retracing); Leaf for hulusi and electronics, and the live electronics work Dart composed for the cellist Madeleine Shapiro and premiered in NYC in April 2012.
http://www.tw-hear.com

Lee Fraser — Aerial Vapours (2011)

Aerial Vapours explores notions of lightness and transcendence within spectral space. Many of its defining morphologies suggest skyward trajectories that, on occasion, one might feel are achieved. The twilight flicker of soft, filtered grains occurring towards the end of the piece, which become extended and lift to reveal a momentarily suspended field of effervescing pulses, is perhaps a good example of this sense of empyreal gain. In other cases, however, these vertical tendencies are thwarted by sudden hostile announcements, or else they seem to lack the necessary physical properties to escape the burden of gravity. The title is taken from a line in Milton’s Paradise Lost, in which the author describes the flight of lost souls whose self-profiting ways in life will earn them a place in the “Limbo of Vanity” within “the bare convex of this World’s outermost orb.” It reflects a situation, which is both fixed and transitory, and provides a neat analogy for a particular atmospheric quality sought in this work.

Lee Fraser (UK, 1981) is a composer specialising in electroacoustic music. He studied Composition with Frank Denyer and David Prior at Dartington College of Arts, before taking a degree in Sonic Arts at Middlesex University, and in 2009 completed an MA in Electroacoustic Composition with Denis Smalley at City University, London, for which he was awarded a distinction. Lee is currently pursuing a PhD in Electroacoustic Composition under the supervision of David Berezan at the University of Manchester. His research, funded by the AHRC, is concerned with the æsthetics of acousmatic music. In recent years, he has been involved in a number of collaborative and performance-based projects, including the reworking of material for sound artist and composer Mikhail Karikis, released on the Sub Rosa imprint in 2009. His music has been performed and broadcast internationally.

An?l Çamc? — Birdfish (2012)

Birdfish is the second piece to come out of a tetralogy, which explores evolutionary phenomena. Following up on 2011’s Nautik, which studied the dynamics of the underwater, Birdfish is a stand-alone statement on organic morphologies that sonically transcend the surface of the ocean. The piece is a result of extensive investigations on the idiosyncrasies of liquid sounds and avian vocalizations and consists of ground-up sound designs originating from a single white noise burst that weave the composition to its final form through a blend of rigorous micro-montaging and algorithmic processes. The morphological quality of the piece is achieved by exploiting the listener’s cognitive faculties with sounds that travel from representation to abstraction: Through stimulation of varying spots on the continuum from perception to identification, implied are the intermediary steps of the evolutionary narrative.

An?l Çamc? is an Istanbul-based electronic music composer and a new media artist whose works have been (dis)played around the world. A graduate of the Media Arts and Technology Department at UCSB, Çamc? is currently pursuing a PhD degree at Leiden University, docARTES program. Concurrently, he teaches electronic music composition and history, multimedia design and audio programming at Istanbul Technical University, Centre for Advanced Studies in Music, where he recently co-founded Istanbul’s first sonic arts graduate program. Çamc?’s work explores contacts between abstract digital art and the audiovisual objects in our daily surroundings. Inspired chiefly by environmental phenomena, his narratives accentuate the interactions between material, meaning and emotion.
http://anilcamci.com

14:00–16:00 • 2nd Special Session on Participatory Electronic Ensemble Performance (PEEP)

Session Chair: David Ogborn

With Tanya Goncalves, Nicolas Hesler, Aaron Hutchinson, Ian Jarvis, Alyssa Lai, Dima Matar, Amy McIntosh, Luke Meneok, Charles Morton, David Ogborn, Kearon Roy Taylor and others.

The 2011 Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium included, for the first time, a special session on Participatory Electronic Ensemble Performance (PEEP) — such as laptop orchestras, live coding groups, telematic improvisation sessions and other collective electroacoustic forms. The 2012 symposium is turning this into a tradition by featuring a second special session, with McMaster University’s Cybernetic Orchestra on-hand during the session for selected compositions, experiments and activities. This will be a hands-on session — all are invited to bring their laptops, curiosity, and ideas — and to participate!

The Cybernetic Orchestra is McMaster University’s laptop orchestra, an innovative electronic music ensemble enjoying its third year of activity. The orchestra has performed in Hamilton, Montréal and Toronto — at TEDx conferences, at new music festivals and myriad other events, alongside a growing roster of artistic friends and collaborators. The orchestra is open to all members of the McMaster community (students, alumni, and employees) — the only requirement is a laptop (PC, Mac or Linux) and an interest in performing and listening to new, electronic forms of music. Cybernetic Orchestra members during the Summer 2012 semester include Tanya Goncalves, Nicolas Hesler, Aaron Hutchinson, Ian Jarvis, Alyssa Lai, Dima Matar, Amy McIntosh, Luke Meneok, Charles Morton, David Ogborn, and Kearon Roy Taylor.

16:00–16:30 • Listening Session #5 — MiND

Five Actions: Collaborative Videomusique

With Dwayne Ali, Nicolas Hesler, Ian Jarvis, Meaghan Niewland and David Ogborn.

Five Actions is a 5-part series of collaborations in sound and visuals by the new media group, MiND. Following a process of creative action research, each member made original sound recordings, created a composition based on sounds provided by all members and then produced a visualization of another member’s composition. The individual movements of Five Actions are entitled:

1. Source (Composition by Ian Jarvis, Visualization by Nicolas Hesler)

2. Migration (Composition by Nicolas Hesler, Visualization by Meaghan Niewland)

3. Refraction (Composition by Meaghan Niewland, Visualization by Dwayne Ali)

4. Sync (Composition by Nicolas Hesler, Visualization by David Ogborn)

5. The Object Itself (Composition by Dwayne Ali, Visualization by Ian Jarvis)

MiND is a collaborative group that formed during the graduate course “Sound as Art and Research” in the Communication and New Media graduate program at McMaster University. The ensemble features videomusique and live visual and audio coding. Group members include Dwayne Ali, Nicolas Hesler, Ian Jarvis, Meaghan Niewland and David Ogborn.

20:00–22:00 • Sound Travels Concert: Encounters

Canadian premiere of Trevor Wishart’s Encounters in the Republic of Heaven.

Theatre Direct’s Wychwood Theatre, 601 Christie St. #176
$15 / $10 / free to symposium participants