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Disc 4

¤ = former, retired or emeritus faculty   ¥ = current faculty    £ = alumnus    § = current student

  1. Ben Johnston with Jaap Spek: Museum Piece (1968) [5:05] University of Illinois ¤

    Museum Piece was commissioned by the Smithsonian Institution as sound component in an entrance room to be super-saturated with historic-technological images all gleaned from the Museum of History and Technology, presenting a history of the USA in less than five minutes.  The recording is a many-faceted sound collage, leading up to the election of Nixon, who quickly canceled it.  -BJ     [Copyright Smith Publications, 2617 Gwynndale Ave., Baltimore, MD 21207]

    Ben Johnston: born Macon, GA, 1926.  Degrees: BA, William and Mary College; MMus, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music; MA, Mills College; Hon DMus, UIUC. Among teachers: Partch, Milhaud, Cage.  Among collaborators: Wilford Leach, Jaap Spek.  Among students: Manfred Stahnke, Neely Bruce, Kyle Gann, William Duckworth.  Member ASCAP, National Academy of Arts and Letters. Guggenheim Fellowship 1959-60. New World Records ongoing recording project: 3 records,1 released: presenting 10 string quartets in extended just intonation.

  2. Salvatore Martirano: SalMar at IRCAM excerpt (1984)  [5:54]   University of  Illinois ¤

    The SalMar Construction is an electronic composing/performing system that Science Digest called "the world's first composing machine", and which Joel Chadabe has characterized as "…a breakthrough in musical thought, an idea so novel, so new, and so important, that it will remain a milestone in the history of music."   Its new home is to be the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music.    [permission received from Dorothy Martirano]

    Salvatore Martirano (1927-1995) taught at the University of Illinois for 32 years, devoting much of his career to developing and working with electronic composing/performing systems.   His compositions have been performed worldwide, and are recorded on the Albany, Advance, Centaur, CRI, Einstein, GM, Heliodor, Neuma, New World, and Polydor labels.

  3. Zack Browning: Breakpoint Screamer (1994)  [7:05]  University of Illinois ¥£
    Michael Ewald, Salvatore Percoco, Charles Saenz, James Zingara, Kevin Vos, trumpets

    Breakpoint Screamer for five trumpets and computer-generated sound was commissioned by the International Trumpet Guild (ITG) for performance at the 1994 ITG Conference at the University of Illinois.  The work incorporates several layers of pulse-oriented patterns that are structured by golden section proportions.  The computer part was produced using GACSS (Genetic Algorithms in Composition and Sound Synthesis) which is an original computer music software package developed by Benjamin Grosser of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois.   -ZB

    Zack Browning (b. 1953) writes music that is “way-cool in attitude” and “speed-demon music” as described by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  The Irish Times proclaims he is “bringing together the procedures of high musical art with the taste of popular culture”.  Browning’s CD “Banjaxed” on Capstone Records contains eight of his original compositions for voice, instruments and computer-generated sounds and has been called “dramatic, exciting, rhythmic, high-energy music”.  Composition awards have included an Illinois Arts Council Composer Fellowship and a Chamber Music America Commission.  Performances include Bang On A Can (New York), Bonk Festival of New Music (Tampa), the International Society for Contemporary Music Festival (Miami), Spark Festival (Minneapolis), International Computer Music Conference (New Orleans), Gaudeamus Music Week (Amsterdam), Composers Choice Festival (Dublin), Sonorities Festival (Belfast) and the Skinneskatteberg Festival (Sweden).  Browning is an associate professor of music composition and theory at the University of Illinois where he has taught since 1983.

  4. Brian Belet: Name Droppings (2008)  [5:08]           San Jose State University £

    Name Droppings began when I was reading through a concert program in Santa Cruz, CA in early 2007.  Sitting with Marianne Bickett and Allen Strange (OK, my own name droppings …) I remarked that too many biographical statements  and program notes are filled either with academic posturing (too much information) or trivial tangents (no useful information).  We read and laughed over several excerpts, and I decided to compose a vocal collage of similar text fragments.  Allen suggested the title and remarked that he would like to construct his own version.  Sadly, that did not come to light before his death in February 2008.

    Starting with that evening, I limited myself to using program texts from concerts I attended over the next three months.  I selected those text fragments that jumped off the page at me, for whatever reason.  I asked some friends and colleagues to record their own selections from my text list, and these sound files are the sole material for this assemblage.  The performers are: Marianne Bickett, Gordon Haramaki, Janis Mercer, Erie Mills, Stephen Ruppenthal, and Jeffrey Stolet, in addition to myself.  Computer processing was kept to a minimum as the sounds of the voices, both singly and in various combinations, create their own rich timbral events.  This composition was commissioned by the University of Illinois Experimental Music Studios in commemoration of its 50th anniversary celebration.   -BB

    Brian Belet (D.M.A., UIUC, 1990) is a composer, performer, and theorist (reclaiming the exploratory definition of this term) living in Campbell, California, four miles from the San Andreas Fault.  His interest is in composing music which does not yet exist and which would not exist without his intervention.  He performs using Kyma, bass, guitar, and viola; and his research interests involve algorithmic composition, real-time software synthesis, real-time computer improvisations, and microtonal theories.

    Dr. Belet holds the academic position of Professor of Music at San Jose State University.  His music is recorded on the Centaur, Capstone, IMG Media, and Frog Peak Music CD labels; with research published in Contemporary Music Review, Organised Sound, Perspectives of New Music, and Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference.  He is a member of the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States and the Society of Composers, Inc, with his music licensed through BMI.

  5. Tsai-yun Huang: Circadian Rhythm (2008)  [6:24]          University of Illinois §

    Circadian Rhythm - As a Chinese lute player in my youth, my recent music was influenced by the musical gesture of playing Chinese lute instruments.  The aspects of old Chinese instrumental music that I appreciate are the subtleties in sound and the improvisatory quality of the musical shape.  Although I am influenced by this heritage, I merely use these ideas and sounds as source material to create something different.  In this piece, some of the sounds I use are guitar sounds generated from a program called Reaktor.  Despite a timbral difference between guitar and Chinese lute instruments, they do share some similar performance techniques and musical gestures.  In addition to these guitar samples, I recorded some acoustic sound sources such as the scraping of a medal pot, tearing the aluminum foil, paper…etc. and then processed these sounds in a digital audio program so that these sounds not only remind me of the lute instruments but also assist with adding more color and texture to the timbral pallet of the piece.  The piece is commissioned by the University of Illinois Experimental Music Studios in commemoration of its 50th anniversary celebration.   -TH

    Born in Taipei, Taiwan in 1979, Tsai-yun Huang received her B.A. in music at the Taipei National University of the Arts.  She is currently a D.M.A. student studying composition at UIUC.  She was the winner of the ICE 21st Century Young Composers Project in 2006, the 21st Century Piano Commission Competition in 2006 and the UI Symphony Orchestra Composition Commission in 2007.  She has also received Honorable Mention of the composition competition held by the Council for Cultural Affairs in Taiwan in 2002 and a performance at National Chiang Kai Shek Cultural Center.  In addition, she was the finalist of ASCAP Young Composers Competition in 2007 and the finalist of VI International Contemporary Music Contest "Cittài Udine" at Italy in 2006.

    Her pieces have received many performances at festivals and conferences such as the Marathon Concert of 2006 Summer Institute for Contemporary Performances Practice at the New England Conservatory of Music with Michael Finnissy in residence, the 4th Annual ICE Fest in Chicago, 5th Annual Women in New Music Festival at CSU, The WEALR project in Amsterdam, Seamus Conference, Midwest Composer’s Symposium, Electronic Music Midwest, Kentucky New Music Festival, Chasm New Music Festival at the FSU, New Music Festival at WIU and June in Buffalo.  Her performances in workshops include the Bang on a Can All-Starts reading session at the Tryon Festival Theatre, the Kronos String Quartet at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

    Recently, her piece was performed at Carnegie Weill Hall as well as at Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY) by the string duo Gang of Two.  A newly commissioned piece for Five-String Electric Violin will be performed at the University of San Diego in April of 2008.

    In addition to being a composer, Tsai-yun is also a pianist, Pipa and Linqin player.  She has recently performed her piano piece at the Illinois State University, the University of Kentucky and Western Illinois University.

    She has studied composition with Guy Garnett, Stephen Taylor, Keeril Makan, Erik Lund, Rick Taube, Scott Wyatt, Zack Browning and piano with William Heiles.

  6. Michael Drews: Appassionata  (2005)  [6:10]  Indiana University-Indianapolis (IUPUI) £

    Musical activity in Appassionata is based on two distinct themes.  One is characterized by a slithering, lyrical gesture, which restlessly drives the piece forward; while the other, by a strident percussive figure.  The dramatic weight of the piece stems from opposition created by the conjunction of these two dissimilar personalities.    -MD

    Michael Drews is a composer of contemporary acoustic and electronic music.  He maintains a strong interest in orchestral writing: the Cleveland Chamber Symphony has performed six of his pieces for full orchestra (1995-1998) and his most recent orchestral work, Undercurrents, was performed at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (2003) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2002).  His work, Broken Symmetry for oboe, piano, and electronic music was commissioned as part of the 2003 ASCAP/SEAMUS Commission Award.  Drews holds degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (D.M.A.), Cleveland State University (M.MUS.), and Kent State University (B.A.).  His research focuses on unconventional musical narrative strategies and the use of virtual environments and interactive technology to expand traditional ideas of musical performance and creativity.  Drews is currently a Lecturer of music composition-theory at Indiana University-Indianapolis (IUPUI).

  7. Jake Rundall: silica (2008)  [ 6:15]                            University of Illinois §

    silica refers to silicon dioxide, "the principal component of most types of glass" (Wikipedia).  The piece, silica, expresses many traits of glass: hard, delicate, brittle, smooth, jagged, shattered, clear, resonant.  It is a musique concrete composition created using only recordings of glass objects.  I used Michael Klingbeil's SPEAR software to analyze the spectral content of the sound sources.  This software performs a windowed FFT on the source recording, thus breaking the sound down into grains/windows and then analyzing them for spectral content.  The resulting data describes the original sound as consisting of brief component frequencies (10 milliseconds each) - tiny particles.  I used CM/CLM to re-synthesize/process the sounds using these particles as a starting point, but in some cases transforming them significantly.  Additional processing was performed in Max/MSP.  ProTools software was used for recording, editing, mixing and light processing (equalization and reverb).  In the piece, I attempted to create a dramatic form through transformations and juxtapositions, some subtle and others jarring, of materials and suggested space.  This work was commissioned by the University of Illinois Experimental Music Studios in commemoration of its 50th anniversary celebration.    -JR

    Mr. Rundall graduated with a BA in music and mathematics from Carleton College in 2002, where he studied composition with Phillip Rhodes, but is currently a doctoral student in composition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  His teachers at UIUC have included Heinrich Taube, Scott Wyatt, Stephen Taylor, Christopher Hopkins, Erik Lund, William Brooks, Zack Browning, and Vinko Globokar.  His piece Knead for chamber ensemble received an honorable mention in the 2004 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Competition.  His composition Dogma, for 2 pianists and 2 percussionists, was a prizewinner in the 2006 Joseph H. Bearns Prize, and also won first place in the 2nd Annual Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia composition contest.   

    Mr. Rundall's electronic music has been performed at various festivals and conferences across the United States including the International Computer Music Conference, the Florida Electroacoustic Music Festival, and Electronic Music Midwest.  He is interested in algorithmic procedures and the creation of visceral and intellectually engaging music.  He is currently working on his doctoral project, the subject of which is polytempo.  In addition to studying the composition of acoustic and electronic music, Mr. Rundall is also a system administrator, percussionist, and performer of live electronics.

  8. Daesoon Hwang: Transformation (2008) [5:56]            University of Illinois §

    Transformation is an electronic piece inspired by the movie Transformer.  In this piece, the title stands for timbre change.  The composition has cyclic structure and consists of four stages: Appearance, Transformation, Dormancy, and Reappearance.  At the beginning, one short-attack sound appears, followed by repetition.  The repeating sound then is transformed through timbre change.  The transformation of sound materials can be illustrated by the idea of a dot becoming a cube of three dimensions.  The process of forming a cube first begins with a dot.  Dots form a line; lines form a plane; and, finally, planes form a cube. Similarly, spatial sounds are created from a single tone.  A tone is repeated; repeated tones and various linear sounds altogether form three dimensional sounds simultaneously.  A short-attack tone does not exist by itself as a single unit of sound material but as part of a linear sound.  In the first two stages of the composition, appearance and transformation, the background sounds can be heard sporadically as supporting sound effect that causes the active linear sounds to transform.

    For timbre change, two ways are used.  The first way is direct, that is, varying timbre.  This applies especially to the short-attack sounds.  The second way is indirect, that is, changing the background upon the same or similar short-attack sounds. In the section of dormancy, the short-attack sound is filtered through the background sounds, resulting in a floating effect.  One of the significant sound materials in this piece is descending and ascending pitches and their resonances.  The direction of the pitch materials is downward continuing to the end.  However, in the end, the direction of pitch shifts is upward, and only the ascending sound remains.  At the end of the piece, the three dimensional spacious sounds merge into a short-attack tone as in the beginning.  The short-attack tone then fades away in repetition.   -DH

    Daesoon Hwang was born in 1970 in Korea.  He earned a B.A and a M.A from Seoul National University in Korea, studying with Sukhi Kang.  His compositions cover many fields such as acoustic music, computer-assisted music which includes electro-acoustic and algorithmic composition, religious music, and musicals.  He studied orchestral conducting with Deokgi Kim at Seoul National University in Korea; since 2003, he has been conducting chamber ensembles and choirs in many churches.  As his minor, Daesoon studied pipe organ with Dana Robinson at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Here, he is continuing his studies in composition under Rick Taube for his DMA.  His chief interests in composition are electro-acoustic music and algorithmic music, which he studies with Scott Wyatt and Rick Taube respectively.  Daesoon’s research for his dissertation is focusing on spectral music and microtones.  Recently he composed an electronic piece Transformation, which was commissioned by the University of Illinois Experimental Music Studios in commemoration of its 50th anniversary celebration in 2008.

  9. John Melby: Layers (1981)  [9:43]         University of Illinois  ¤

    Layers was composed on a commission from the 1981 Venice Biennale.  The title reflects the quasi-Schenkerian way in which the pitch and rhythmic structures are dealt with in the composition.  Layers was originally a composition for four-track tape; the present version is a stereo mix-down.  This version was produced on an IBM mainframe computer at the University of Illinois using the MUSIC360 program.  -JM

    John Melby was a member of the UI composition faculty from 1973 to 1997, and is currently Professor Emeritus.  His compositions have won numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and First Prize at the Bourges Festival.

  10. Heinrich Taube: Amazing Grace (1995)  [6:11]    University of Illinois ¥

    Amazing Grace is an algorithmic fantasy based on the American folk song of the same name.  The fantasy involves a process of becoming, in which melodic and rhythmic contours of the folk song serve as gravitational centers for the musical texture to coalesce around, like dust spiraling inward to form a star.  Amazing Grace begins in a mode and texture very distant from the folk melody.  As the composition unfolds the original tune gradually exerts more and more influence over the stocastic texture.  Short melodic motives and rhythmic figures first appear and are followed by progressively longer gestures and melodic contours coming to the fore.  The process continues until the point of maximum influence, at which time the fantasy has congealed into a block texture with a single rhythmic motive and melodic content completely determined by the folk song.  Amazing Grace was commissioned for the opening ceremony of the Multimedial III Festival in Karlsruhe Germany, where it received its world premiere in 1995.   -HT

    Rick Taube is an associate professor of music composition at the University of Illinois.  He received his B.A. and M.A. in Music Composition from Stanford University, where he studied with John Chowning, and his Ph.D. in composition at The University of Iowa.  Active as a composer, researcher, and music software designer, Taube has published music, books and numerous articles on issues related to music composition and technology.  His book on algorithmic music composition Notes from the Metalevel, an Introduction to Algorithmic Composition, was published in 2004 by Thompson Publishing.  Taube has won awards for both his musical compositions and for his software.  The Aeolian Harp, a composition for piano and computer generated tape, won the ICMC Eric Siday Musical Creativity Award as the top composition submitted to the 2003 International Computer Music Conference.  Common Music software environment won 1st Prize at the First International Competition of Music Software in Bourges, France.  His most recent composition, Tacoma Narrows, for Viola and Tape was commissioned by Melia Watras and is released on the Fleur de Son Classics Ltd label.  

    In 1995 Taube joined the faculty at the School of Music at the University of Illinois where he currently teaches music composition, music theory, acoustics and computer-music related classes along with pursuing his own music and research.

  11. Lejaren A. Hiller: Peroration from Seven Electronic Studies for Two-Channel  Tape Recorder (1963)  [5:37]       University of Illinois ¤

    Peroration, the final study of Seven Electronic Studies, contains materials from all six previous studies, as well as new ones.   It is organized into four episodes separated by three short interludes.  The climax arrives at the end of Episode III, hence Episode IV serves as a coda and an epilog.  Since Episode IV is built primarily from materials that introduce Study No. 1, it provides a symmetrical framework for the whole set of studies.   -LAH        [permission received from Amanda Hiller]

    See brief Lejaren Hiller biographical information for Disc 1.


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