Item Details

Yarn | Wire

McIntire Department of Music
Online; Online Video; Video
2017-02-08; 2017-01-27
Program Notes Binary: Electrical Relays. Flipping switches. 0s and 1s. Grey Mask: This piece addresses emergent relationships between physical and virtual acoustic spaces. In this setting, the listener is invited to explore both the parallels and discrepancies between the physical activation of strings within each piano on stage and the sympathetic sounding of “virtual” strings generated in a digital environment. During performance, audio from both pianos is captured and analyzed through software created by the composer. Individual harmonic partials are parsed according to pre-defined frequency and intensity thresholds. Those partials correlating with the harmonic frequencies of six virtual strings are activated and diffused through six loudspeakers positioned around the audience. As each of the six virtual strings are tuned according to prime-number ratios, microtonal variations in pitch (or commas) between the physical and virtual strings are emphasized, resulting in a “halo” of resonances surrounding the performers. Ineffable is a work that explores a deconstruction of musical phrasing using the exhausting repetition of one note and a continually expanding structure. All phrases begin and end on the same note, an F (hence Ineffable). The phrase is lengthened with each iteration, challenging the listener to follow the phrase throughout its evolution. The repetition of the F serves to delimit the phrase, and to provide a grounding force that works in contrast to the ever- expanding phrase structure. white, brown, pink was composed after analyzing the low-bit rate MP3 artifacts of white, pink, and brown noise. It is a sonic meditation on Gregory Bateson’s quote in Steps to an Ecology of Mind, “All that is not information, not redundancy, not form and not restraints—is noise, the only possible source of new patterns”. The arrow of time: “Great is the matter of birth and death / Life flows quickly by / Time flies like an arrow / Wake up! Wake up! / Don’t waste a moment!” These words are often found engraved in the Han, a heavy solid board of wood hung by the front door of Zen meditation halls. Its characteristic contracting rhythmic pat- tern (from longer to shorter values) references the impermanence of life, while at the same time summons to be mindful in order to transcend the cyclicality of life and death. This material is the basis of the 4-part polytempo counterpoint in The arrow of time. Listen- ing becomes clearer and more transparent as one is able to perceive the cycles of each instrument individually. As a result, there is an increase of awareness of the various synchronicities that happen in different points of time between two or more instruments. Just as the listener attempts to integrate the temporal relations between the instruments so can we see the dilemma of humanity to find harmony within the many different tempi of our world. Listening for the simultaneity within the diversity of The arrow of time is an exercise of the effort and commitment it takes to develop mindfulness and presence in our convoluted world. Alberene for two vibraphones and two pianos is a study in stasis - metamorphosis under a current of minute changes. Paranoia in the Expanded Field: Four Forms of Alienation is an unstable environment of constantly shifting power structures. Sometimes performers are ignored and respond aggressively, some- times a performer tries to maintain a neutral indifference, some- times a performer takes the lead, etc. Relationships are formed, explored, and destroyed through sonic material and theatrical action. Self-preservation and “the greater good” clash but occasionally common goals align, if only for a moment. Annealing is the process of applying alternating treatments of ten- sion and relaxation to a material in order to better realize its potential. Annealing reorganizes a material from the inside out. For example, after a metal has been through a process of annealing, a process that tests and expands its material limits, it will inexplicably be more durable, flexible, and potentially useful. Necessary Annealing uses as a jumping off point the exploration of the process of annealing musical materials. In this work musical materials are pushed to their limits of activity and stillness, ultimately revealing a hidden, embedded music at the end of the work.
McIntire Department of Music
Jon Bellona
Binary Jon Bellona Grey Mask Ben Luca Robertson Ineffable Aaron Stepp Alberene Rachel Devorah Necessary Annealing Eli Stine white, brown, pink Ryan Maguire The arrow of time Christopher Luna-Mega Paranoia in the Epanded Field: Alex Christie Four Forms of Alienation
About the Performers Yarn | Wire is a New York-based percussion and piano quartet (Ian Antonio and Russell Greenberg, percussion / Laura Barger and Ning Yu, pianos). Noted for its “spellbinding virtuosity” (TimeOut NY) and “mesmerizing” performances (New York Times) at venues such as Lincoln Center, BAM, the Edinburgh International Festival, and Barbican Centre, the ensemble is admired for the energy and precision it brings to performances of today’s most adventurous music. Its instrumental combination allows the ensemble flexibility to slip effortlessly between classics of the repertoire and modern works that continue to forge new boundaries. Founded in 2005 at Stony Brook University, Yarn|Wire is dedicated to expanding the repertoire written for its instrumentation, through commissions and collaborative initiatives that aim to build a new and lasting body of work. The results of their collaborative initiatives with genre-bending artists such as Two-Headed Calf, Pete Swanson, and Tristan Perich point towards the emergence of a new and lasting repertoire that is “spare and strange and very, very new.” (Time- OutNY). Composer Bios Jon Bellona is an intermedia artist/composer who specializes in digital technologies. Jon’s work explores physical embodiment in music, especially live performance of electronic instruments. Additional research delves into broader themes of data-driven music and interdisciplinary collaboration. Jon’s music and intermedia work have been shown internationally including Kyma International Sound Symposium (KISS); Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS); Inter- national Computer Music Conference (ICMC); Interactive Media Arts Conference (IMAC); Symposium on Laptop Ensembles and Orchestras (SLEO); with special performances at the Casa da Musica (Porto, Portugal) and CCRMA (Palo Alto, CA). Jon is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Composition and Computer Technologies (CCT) at the University of Virginia and is part of the art collective, Harmonic Laboratory ( Alex Christie makes acoustic music, electronic music, and inter- disciplinary art in many forms. His work has been called “vibrant”, “interesting, I guess”, and responsible for “ruin[ing] my day”. He has collaborated with artists in a variety of fields and is particularly interested in the ways in which acoustic and electronic sound worlds intersect. Recently, Christie’s work has explored the ecology of performance in interdisciplinary art and interactive electronic music. Through the use of real-time audio processing, video, light- ing, and theater, Christie expands performance environments to offer multiple lenses through which the audience can experience his work. He is curious about the design of power structures, systems of interference, and indeterminacy in electroacoustic performance and composition. Christie holds degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory and Mills College and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Composition and Computer Technologies (CCT) at the University of Virginia. Rachel Devorah is a sonic artist whose work explores contextually- specific practices as sites of pro-intersectional feminist resistance and reimagining. Her work has been heard at places such as Pioneer Works, Art in Odd Places, Music for People and Thingamajigs, and Electropixel [France]; has been performed by artists such as the William Winant Percussion Group, Apple Orange Pair, the Cornelius Cardew Choir, and orkest de ereprijs; and has been sup- ported by residencies at Avaloch Farm Institute, STEIM [Nether- lands], MoKS [Estonia], and Røst [Norway]. She earned her M.A. in composition at Mills College and is currently a 3rd-year Jefferson Fellow in composition and computer technologies here at the University of Virginia. More information at Christopher Luna-Mega is a composer and improviser. He studied Composition at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México –UNAM (B.M.) and Mills College (M.A.), as well as Film/Communication Theory (Universidad Iberoamericana –UIA, Mexico City. His work has focused on analyzing sounds from natural and urban environments and translating them –sometimes in detail, some- times freely– into notated music for performers. His music has been performed by The William Winant Percussion Group, JACK Quartet, The Arditti String Quartet and the Orquesta Sinfónica Na- cional de México, among others. Recently, the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Montreal-Toronto Art Orchestra performed one of Luna-Mega’s most recent works, Splatter, a transcription and orchestration of a Roscoe Mitchell free improvisation, at new music festivals: Tectonics (Reykjavik), L’Off (Montréal), and X Avant (Toronto). He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Composition and Computer Technologies at the University of Virginia as a Jefferson Fellow. Ryan Maguire is a doctoral candidate in Composition and Com- puter Technologies at the University of Virginia. He grew up in and around Milwaukee where he earned his B.A. in Physics and taught mathematics after graduation. He later moved to Boston and completed postgraduate degrees at the New England Conservatory of Music and Dartmouth College in Music Composition and Digital Musics, respectively. His work connects composition with improvisation, analog with digital, acoustic with electronic, lo-fi with high tech, and poetry with science. On a given day you might find him playing stringed instruments or programming computers, molding materials or building circuits, writing essays or singing songs, & enjoying vegan food and/or the great outdoors. Ben Luca Robertson is a composer, experimental luthier, and co- founder of the independent record label, Aphonia Recordings. His work addresses an interest in autonomous processes and biological systems—often by supplanting narrative structure with an emphasis on the physicality of sound, spectral tuning systems, and micro- tonality. Ben holds an M.A. in Music Composition from Eastern Washington University and a B.A. from the Evergreen State College. In the Summer of 2015, he was appointed to a guest research position at the Tampere Unit for Computer-Human Interactions (TAUCHI) in Finland and recently collaborated with the University of Idaho Water Resources Department to sonify migratory patterns of salmon in the Pacific Northwest. His music has been performed both regionally and abroad, including the Sound & Music Computing Conference in Maynooth, Ireland. Aaron Stepp ( is a composer who hails from Kentucky. He has received commissions from a diverse array of groups and individuals such as Eva Legêne, Merrilee Elliott, Orchestra Enigmatic, KMEA District 7, Scott County High School (KY), Boyle County High School (KY), and the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts. He has held residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the T.C. Steele Historic Site. He holds degrees from the University of Louisville, where he studied with Marc Satterwhite, John Gibson, and John Ritz, and a degree from Indiana University, where he studied with Claude Baker, Jeffery Haas, Aaron Travers and John Gibson. He attended a summer course at the Freie Universität Berlin, where he studied with Samuel Adler. He also has studied privately with Larry Bitensky. Aaron currently is enrolled in the Ph.D. program at the University of Virginia, where he has studied with Peter Bussigel and Judith Shatin. Eli Stine is a composer, programmer, and media designer. Stine is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Composition and Computer Technologies as a Jefferson Fellow at the University of Virginia. Stine is a graduate of Oberlin College and Conservatory with degrees in Technology in Music and Related Arts from the conservatory and Computer Science from the college. Stine’s work ranges from acoustic to electronic composition, and frequently incorporates multimedia technologies and collaboration, seeking to explore the intersections between performed and computer-generated art. Festivals and conferences that have programmed Stine’s work include the International Computer Music Conference, Society for Electroacoustic Music in the United States conferences, International Symposium on Computer Music Multidisciplinary Research, Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression, New York City Electroacoustic Music, Third Practice, Studio 300, and Thresh- old festivals, the Muestra Internacional de Música Electroacústica, and the International Sound Art Festival Berlin.
University of Virginia Concert Recordings
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