A collaborative work inspired by poet Stephanie Pope, read by LaQuetta Carpenter.
Participants: choreographer, visual designer, costume designer, vocalist, dancers, sound designer
The starting point for this collaborative work is the evocative and beautiful poem, Ad Mortuos, by Stephanie Pope. You will hear the poem in its entirety after the introductory viola melody. Using elements of the poem, the immortal character anthantoi (meaning - without death) sings of "bright love" weaving a voice of hope through the first tableau. Then, anthanatoi falls into a deep sèance conjuring thoughts of the afterlife and immortality for all. Projecting these thoughts through the EEG mechanism to the images and sounds he emerges again with song. The 2nd tableau is a spirited and joyous affirmation. The "wing eternal danced - das ding".
Premiere: Oscar G. Brockett Theatre at The University of Texas at Austin, March 2015
Music - Bruce Pennycook, Choreography - Yacov Sharir
Set Design, 3d Projections - Joao Beira, Biosensing systems and 3d images, Marta Ferraz
Systems Integration, live-performance systems- Yago de Quay
Premiere: The University of Texas at Austin, April 19, 2014
Mezzo-Soprano, Percussion, Electronics
Original Story: Tessa McWatt
Libretto: Bruce Pennycook
Duration: 19 minutes.
Premiere: The University of Texas at Austin, November 16, 2012
Mezzo-Soprano - Holly Alcorn, Percussion - Adam Davis
Stage Director - Charlie Otte
Costumes - Bich Vu
Set Design - Jeff Kurihara
Lighting and Media - Eric Gazzillo
Audio Production - Yago de Quay
Videography: Nathan Efstation; Video editing and audio remix: Bruce Pennycook
Trombone Solo and Max/MSP
Duration: ~ 9 minutes.
Broken Bone(s) for solo trombone and Max/MSP was composed for Austin based trombonist and new music specialist, Steven Parker. The electroacoustic materials were derived in part from recordings of the Lakeway Elementary School girls chorus singing a familiar schoolyard song. But the words turn from taunting to troubling. (As a father of four girls, dark fears lurked as they grew up to face a potentially dangerous world.) The trombone part shifts from menacing to nearly cheerful and back throughout the course of the piece engaging from time to time directly with the chorus materials.
Premiere: EARS Concert, UT Austin. December, 2010.
Video (vimeo)- EARS concert premiere. Steven Parker, trombone
bcl, vln, kbd, drums, perc, el. gtr, el. bass, electronics
Duration: ~ 10 minutes.
"For Joe Z" was inspired by a concert by composer, performer and instrument designer, Paul Dresher, with percussionist Joel Davel at the University of Texas I heard in the Fall of 2009. I had been imagining a work for instrumental ensemble with live electronics for a few years that would somehow capture the energy and rhythmic vitality of the music of the late Joseph Zawinul (Weather Repor)t and Paul Dresher liked a sketch that I sent him. This turned into the 10' minute ensemble piece premiered in San Francisco in November 2010. I am grateful to Paul and the performers in the Paul Dresher Ensemble Electroacoustic Band for their extraordinary effort to produce this work at the ODC Theater in November 2010.
Premiere: Paul Dresher Ensemble Electroacoustic Band, ODC Theater, San Francisco, Nov. 12&13, 2010.
Live Performance. Friday Nov 12, 2010. ODC Theater, San Francisco, CA. (Mixed by Bruce Pennycook)
Live Performance. Saturday Nov. 13, 2010. ODC Theater. (Mixed by Paul Dresher. )
Medium: diffused 2-track fixed-media with dance or 2-track audio alone
Duration: ~7 minutes
Sketches was composed in collaboration with choreographer Charlotte Griffin who was completing her MFA in Dance at the University of Texas at Austin. The concept of the work was to explore the sounds of paper, especially the act of free-form sketching on paper. Recordings of were made in my studio at the Butler School of Music using a variety of papers, pens, pencils and other elements such as crumpling. In order to preserve the identity of these sounds I chose minimal treatments during the compositional process. I also chose to combine the sonic materials with dance-like rhythmic gestures to produce a suite of short vignettes: 1. Andante-Spiral (delicate, light swirling), 2. Rondo-Tear (sparse, with interjections), 3. Allegro-Scribble (frantic scribbling, rapid, sketchy), 4. Chorale-Improvisation (walls of slow moving sound), 5. Jazzy-Pointed (fun, take-off on violin beginner piece), 6. Allegro-Scrible Remix, 7. Waltz-Crumple (elegant waltz with deep crumpling sounds).
Premiere: EARS, EYES and FEET Concert, UT Austin. May, 2009.
Charlotte Griffin - choreographer and original concept
Dance Video (vimeo)- Live Peformance May 2009
Instrumentation: soprano sax and max/msp
Duration: ~9 minutes
This piece was commissioned by saxophonist/educator Shirley Diamond who premiered it at the 2009 World Saxophone Congress in Bangkok. The idea of the two-part structure was to explore some gloomy dark electronic sounds and contrast them to the upbeat second section. The harmonica parts and tambourine hits in the second section were performed by the composer.
Premiere: World Saxophone Congress, Thailand. June 2007.
Shirley Diamond, saxophone; EARS Concert, Nov. 2009.
Instrumentation: English Horn or Alto Sax and 2-channel fixed media
Commissioned by Susan Tomkiewicz for the 2006 International Double Reed Society Convention in Muncie, Indiana.
Fast Dance was composed in 2005 for the superb oboe and English horn performer, Susan Tomkiewicz who graduated from UT Austin a couple years earlier. Ms. Tomkiewicz specifically asked for a "tape" part, not an interactive computer part. This led to a kind of "studio mix" approach to the accompaniment. The piece is in two main sections connected by an quiet interlude. The opening section is aggressive - perhaps a bit war-like. The final section ends on a positive note and is the "fast dance"of the title - perhaps a joyous celebration of the end of brutal, aggressive behaviour. (I saw a T-shirt once that boldly stated: "Fuck Art, Let's Dance!")
An adaption for Alto Saxophone was requested by Portuguese composer and saxophone performer, Gilberto Bernardes. Very few notes are changed in this version and, of coure, the tape part is identical. Premiere - April 2011, Porto.
Eriginal English Horn Score (pdf)- original
Alto Sax Score (pdf)- adaptation
Sue Tomkiewicz, English Horn
Instrumentation: Alto/Soprano Sax, Tenor/Baritone Sax, Piano, Computer
Commissioned by Dale Stammen and the Quark's Trio, Seattle WA.
Club Life is a celebration of the great jazz saxophonists and the powerful, muscular playing we have all learned to admire. It is constructed like a jazz piece – AA – solo, solo, solo – A' where each player gets their "turn". It is fully notated and not an improvisatory piece. A newer version of this is available without computer. (see Chamber Music listings)
The Quark's Trio (The Banff Center for the Arts Studio A)
Instrumentation: violin and computer
Panmure Vistas was composed in 1999 while I was vacationing with my family in Panmure Island Provincial Park, Prince Edward Island, Canada. The park is on the southeastern tip of PEI and has magnificent sea-views. While there, we attended a Celtic Festival and some of the violin playing spilled over into this piece. The electronics were originally created in SuperCollider 2 but have since been updated in Max/MSP. The CD, score and software are available from the composer. Panmure Vistas as been performed many times, primarily by Gascia Ouzounian at Festivals including The Banff Center for the Arts, McGill University, The University of Texas at Austin.
Selected Compositions - Performed by Gascia Ouzounian, Montreal
Drums, percussion, computer system.
The Black Page Tropes, an homage to Frank Zappa, takes his famous Black Page as a starting point and uses sound clips from across his vast repertoire. Interjected into are quotes from The Black Page Easy Teenage New York Version along with some of the better known electracoustic sound-collage moments from the earliest of Zappa's recordings. There are periods of improvisation for the drummer and long evolving soloistic vibraphone and marimba sections for the percussionist. This piece was chosen as the opening work for The CBC Young Composers Competition in Montreal, 1996. (clip of the live broadcast). Commissioned by ACREQ with assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts.
Premiere: Montreal, 1995
Blaire Mackay, drums. Julien Gregoire, percussion. (CBC Live Broadcast)
Solo cello, computer audio and optional video.
The Yonge Street Variationshas had three lives: the first version was written for viola and tape at the University of Toronto EMS in 1977 then a revised versised version for cello was created at the McGill University EMS in 1998 and this version was re-adapted for viola. The piece explores an imaginary "walk" down Toronto's famous Yonge Street - the sounds of street musicians, crowd applause, and even a street car all intrude on the soloist. Musically, the piece is a set of variations on 12-bar blues but uses a very extended harmonic language and chord substution and insertion.
Recording from McGill University
Female voice/actor, stereo fixed media and computer-projected slides.
Praescio II:amnesia was composed for singer/actress Meg Sheppard. It incorporates a set of processed digital images that are time synchronized to the audio track. Meg Sheppard has performed this piece many times in Montreal and on tours in South America and Europe with her husband, composer pianist, Alcides Lanza.
Score (pdf) (pages 1-8 only)
Meg Sheppard, vocal soloist
Instrumentation: piano, computer system or fixed media
Duration: 12' .
Praescio VII wascommissioned by Argentinian-Canadian composer pianist, Alcides Lanza.composed at McGill University in1997. The original version was for eight loudspeakers arranged in a cluster around the piano. Lanza has performed this piece in Canada, the US, Europe and South America both using the interactive computer version when possible and fixed media for other occasions. A newer version of the software was implemented in Max/MSPwhich has been performed at CCRMA and other US cities by Chrissie Nannou.
From Transmutation CD, Performed by Alcides Lanza.
Instrumentation: flute and computer & electronics
Duration: 12' .
Praescio I was composed at McGill University in 1989. It was created in Max using external CD drives to play the electroacoustic tracks. It also utilized for the first time, my MIDI Time Clip display device. Commissioned byToronto fluatist, Christine Littl,e with the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts. The premiere was at McGill University by the commissioner. It has been performed in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Columbus OH, Mexico City.
Live Performance, Performed by Christine Little (McGill University, not released)
Instrumentation: Yamaha DX7 synthesizer with E! card and Yamaha TX802 or fixed media version and optional slides.
Duration: 9' .
This work was commissioned by Cuban-Canadian composer and keyboardist, Sergio Barosso with the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts. It engages some of Barosso's extraordinary DX7 improvisation techniques. A set of slides were created by the composer to accompany the fixed media version. Like the title, taken from the poem, Jamaica, by Tessa McWatt, the slides depict the ice breakup in spring.
Modified clarinet, interactive electronics
This work was commissioned byQuebec clarinetist, Jean-Guy Boisvert with the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts and premireed at the 1990 International Clarinet Convention in Quebec City. It utilizes a newer version of the MIDI-LIVE software written by the composer and Ichiro Fujinaga. It also included a set of micro-switches mounted as 2 additional keys on the clarinet. This clarinet harness carried audio and midi trigger data to the computer system. A new version of this piece was developed by clarinetist David Wetzel implemented entirely in Max/MSP. Both Boisvert and Wetzel have peformed this work many times in North America.
Jean-Guy Boisvert, clarinet
Modified harpsichord, interactive electronics
Praescio II:amnesia was commissioned by Montreal harpsichord virtuoso, Vivienne Spiteri with the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts.
Vivienne Spiteri, harpsichord (McGill Recording Studios)
Soprano, fl, vln, vc, synth, interactive computer system.
Text: Tessa McWatt
This work was commissioned in 1988 by Geoffrey Wright for the 20th Anniversary of the Peabody Conservatory Electronic Music Studios. It was first peformed in Baltimore by the Peabody Computer Consort (1989) with the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts. The text, Amnesia, was commissioned under the same grant from Toronto poet and author, Tessa McWatt. Praescio is the Latin root of “prescience”.The software for this work was a unique real-time MIDI processing system developed by the composer with the assistance of a Canada Council for the Arts, Media Arts Grant. The MIDI-LIVE system was developed by Pennycook, Ichiro Fujinaga and Rene Quesnel at McGill University and it became the basis for the composer’s Praescio series of compositions. Part of the then unique nature of the piece was the role of pitch-tracking. MIDI notes from the flute and the soprano were captured by the software and used as part of the electroacoustic texture. The synthesizer part – originally for Yamaha DX7IIFD - can be performed on any modern keyboard synthesizer. A MAX 3.0 version of the work was performed in Montreal for the 25th Anniversary of the McGill Electronic Music Studios. That performance appears on the recording, “Tornado” published by McGill Records in 2001 as part of the 30th Anniversary of the McGill IEMS (McGill 2001-01-2) with Pamela Jordan, soprano.
Tornado Electronic Compositions, McGill Electronic Music Studio 35th Anniversary. McGill Records (McGill 2002-01-2). Pamela Jordan, soprano.
Instrumentation: soprano saxophone and computer & electronics.
Praescio I was composed in 1987 for the June in Buffalo Festival. It has undergone many transformations since then - from a rather cumbersome piece for live MIDI, pitch tracker, foot pedals, etc. to a piece for amplified/processed saxophone and fixed media. There is no score as such - only a pitch-time guide for improvisation. It has been performed many many times by several performers and by Shirley Diamond at the Slovenia World Saxophone Congress in 2006. The CD, score and softare are available from the composer.
Selected Compositions (Bruce Pennycook, soprano saxophone)
soprano and fixed media
Text: Margaret Atwood (from The Animals in That Country) .
Speeches for Dr. Frankenstein was commissioned by soprano Neva Pilgrim and composer, Dexter Morril with the assistance of the Canada Council for the Artsl for a tour of computer music works called "Rotations" produed by Dexter Morrill.. This piece was among the earliest complete pieces created using the extraordinary digital synthesis engine called the Sampson Box at CCRMA, Stanford University. Of the ten stanzas in the poem by Margarget Atwood, stanzas I, IV, VII, X are included in this piece. It has been performed more than 100 times in Canada, the US, Europe and Japan by many soprano soloists. The recording version was made at Cornell University and sung by Pamela XXXX. In 2011 a version with all ten stanzas was composed for soprano, harp, celeste, chamber strings. (see Chamber Music)
Score (pdf)- first stanza only
Selected Compositions first stanza only from B. Pennycook. Pamela Jordan, soprano.
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