CCRMA 1997 Summer Concert

Digital Music Under The Stars

CCRMA Courtyard Concert

Featuring works by Juan Pampin, Kui Dong, Chris Falk, Bobby Lombardi, Andre Serre and Nicky Hind.

The second installment of the new CCRMA concert series, "CCRMA Courtyard Concerts". The courtyard of CCRMA's residence on the Stanford campus is the new venue for performances of "Digital Music Under The Stars". Music involving real and virtual instruments, sound processing, and synthesis, projected in a surround-sound, multi-channel environment, will make the latest pieces composed at CCRMA come alive.

Bring a blanket to sit on the lawn (chairs will be provided as well). Parking is provided at Tresidder Union, signs will guide you from there to the Knoll.



Toco Madera (1997), for wooden percussion (two players) and computer generated sounds

North of San Francisco, near Point Arena, the sea transforms the beach into a beautiful, constantly evolving mile long sculpture. On the beach hundreds of wood logs are washed onto the coast by the Pacific Ocean. I discovered this sculpture (or is it an installation?) while beginning work on Toco Madera. The dense textures created by drift wood of all sizes inspired the from and process of the piece. I realized that my compositional work had to be similar to the role of the sea, which not only placed the objects in textural combinations, but transformed their surfaces and matter to create new complex morphologies.

I sculpted new sounds with the computer from a set of nine wooden percussion instruments recorded in the studio. I wanted to keep the rustic quality of wood sounds, to operate on them respecting their soul. This task was achieved using spectral analysis of the instrumental sounds to extrapolate their salient acoustic qualities, and digital filters to carve their matter. Throughout the piece, these transfigured wood sounds interact with the original instrumental set, performed by two percussion players, to create a multilayered musical space that reflects the textural traits of the natural wooden sculpture.

Toco Madera is the second of a cycle of percussion works exploring what philosopher Valentin Ferdinan calls "materiality" of sound. For this work (as for Metal Hurlant, the first piece of this cycle) a qualitative logic that guided the compositional process was inferred from the acoustic structure of the material used. In Toco Madera music becomes the expression of wood.

The analysis and spectral transformations of the instruments were done using ATS, spectral modeling software custom designed by me. All the digital signal processing for the piece was performed with Bill Schottstaedt's Common Lisp Music.

Juan Pampin. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1967, Juan Pampin has studied composition with Oscar Edelstein and Francisco Kropfl. He holds a Master in Computer Music from the Conservatoire Nationale Superieur de Musique de Lyon (SONVS), where he studied with Denis Lorrain and Philippe Manoury. As a Visiting Composer at CCRMA, Stanford University, in 1994, he composed the piece "Apocalypse was postponed due to lack of interest" that received an award in the Concours International de Musique Electroacoustique de Bourges 1995. He has been composer in residence at the LIEM-CDMC in Madrid.

As a Ph.D student at CCRMA, Juan Pampin collaborated with professor Jonathan Harvey on his new work "Ashes Dance Back", for choir and electronic sounds, that will be premiered in the "Musica" festival of Strasbourg in september 1997. He is currently teaching a CCRMA Summer Workshop on Sound Synthesis and Digital Signal Processing. He is an associate researcher of the LIPM Computer Music center of Buenos Aires, where he has given lectures on computer music.

Juan Pampin's music includes works for acoustic instruments, computer music and mixed media, and has been performed in the United States, Latin America, Europe and Asia.

Youlan: Long Winding Valley, for stereo tape

Youlan, a winding journey of exploration, is a term derived from classic Chinese poetry and music. The word connotes elements of the excitement of discovery, the lure of the unknown, and the elevation of the ordinary to a place of peak experience. The music is the map through this world, providing both context and direction. Samplings of ancient Chinese instruments have been transformed through digital processing and manipulation to create new sound structures that are evocative of their origins. The dynamic range of this piece is widely distributed: Beginning with an highly tense drama, the piece slowly quiets down towards to an spiritual tranquil end after a series of development of sound materials.

The samples of steel plate, Chinese instruments were processed and mixed using Spectral Modeling Synthesis (Xavier Serra and Ramon Loureiro), Common Lisp Music (Bill Schottstaedt), and Real Time Mixer(Paul Lansky and K. Dickey) on a NeXT workstation at CCRMA, Stanford.

My special thanks to my advisor Chris Chafe, for his valuable comments on this piece; Juan Carlos Pampin, for his time for an introduction to SMS to me; and finally Jay Kadis, for his help on post-recording editing.

Youlan was commissioned by Meridian Gallery for multi-media installation with artist Ruth Ecland. It was premiered on April 10 at the Gallery.

Kui Dong just graduated from Stanford University. Her new piece "Painted Light" will be premiered at Festival of American New Music this November and will be released on Cantilena Records in 1998. Kui Dong will join the composition faculty at Dartmouth this fall.

Time Echoes, for viola and live electronics

"Technologies begin to perform the function of art in making us aware of the psychic and social consequences of technology."

Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media

"Robots were on the march. It was steel and plastic and electronics versus flesh and blood and brain, versus mind and spirit and hope and courage and tenacity. It was a clash of principle. A clash of ideal. The spirit of man, or the spiritless steel..."

Leo Brett, March of the Robots

We would all like to think the present state of music will last forever, along with its aesthetic principles, instruments for performance, etc., but, fortunately, all things change. Eventually the viola will become rotting wood, as it was merely fresh wood before its current sculpted condition. Time Echoes is a reflection on this state of affairs, and especially how our perception of time has been altered with the advent of recorded sound. Recording, the reproduction of sounds and their projection, and the sense of nostalgia related to older musical styles (and styles of performance as well as media) have been considered as part of the echoes in time of this composition.

Kris Falk is currently studying with Jonathan Harvey in the doctoral program in composition at Stanford University. He previously went to the University of Washington where his principal composition teachers included William Bergsma, William O. Smith, and Richard Karpen. After 11 years at the same institution, Mr. Falk came away with a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Arts in Music, and a Masters in Music Composition. Subsequently he took coursework at the U.C.L.A. extension program in film scoring. Kris divides his time between composition for instruments, computers, and a combination of the two, and he is pursuing a double career in concert and film music composition. His honors include First Honorable Mention in the *New Generation* Prize in Budapest, Hungary 1995 (the highest honor awarded that year), First Place in the National P.T.S.A. *Reflections* Competition 1980, and a number of scholarships including the Bergsma and Brechemin Scholarships (highest award for composers at the University of Washington), two Ladies* Music Club Awards, a Griffes Scholarship, a Marsh Scholarship, and the Alice Wilbur Chapman Music Fellowship among others.

all you need is headcleaner, for stereo tape

Couleurs de Sable (1996/1997), for cello and four channel tape

"Couleurs de Sable" is an evocation of the sand paintings the Navajo medicine-men produce. These works are ephemeral: they must be erased before twilight on the day of their creation. They are not really thought of as works of art, but rather as symbolic elements that play a role in a person's physical and spiritual well-being.

For this work, I have chosen two aspects of this culture, which were particularly interesting:

Several people can work simultaneously on one painting, guided by their collective memory to produce a very precise and unchanging representation.

"Couleurs de Sable" tries to approach those ideas, using the sole presence of the instrument, which through its vibrations unleashes memory and is an integral part of that memory itself.

The temporal structure is based on the principle of a passacaille, the basic sequence diminishes after each repetition until it reaches the very simplest expression: the tremolo. This evolution is upset by the presence of foreign elements, which are freely introduced.

The structure is articulated on an interpolation between two extreme chords. The first is an aggregate in extremely low pitches, without using open strings, and the last contains only superimposed fifths of open strings: a way to go towards the natural resonance of the body of the instrument. Twenty-two intermediate chords mark out this interpolation, and progressively integrate the complete tessitura of the cello.

The instrumental part of this work was written with Patchwork, developed at IRCAM, and the computer processing of the sounds on tape has been carried out at CCRMA, Stanford University, from March to June 1997, with Common Lisp Music.

Recordings of cello: Christophe Roy. The first version of "Couleurs de Sable", for cello solo, was first performed at the Theatre Dunois in Paris by Christophe Roy, on the December 9th and 10th, 1996.

Andre Serre. A clarinetist by training, Andre Serre (1965) began to study composition with Antoine Duhamel, and electroacoustic music with Bernard Fort.

He later studied with Philippe Manoury and Denis Lorrain at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Lyon, where he obtained the "Diplome National d'Etudes Superieures de Musique" in composition, electroacoustic and computer music. While studying at the conservatory, he took courses or seminars with Gilbert Amy, Tristan Murail, Pierre Henry, Helmut Lachenmann, Jonathan Harvey, Emmanuel Nunes.

During this period, he wrote instrumental concert works with and without electroacoustic (Rivages, Jeux d'Oiseaux, Thanka, Voix de Femmes, Memoire d'Anges, A contre-miroir) and has regularly collaborated with ensembles as well as authors, filmmakers, theatre directors, video directors and choreographers.

In 1995, he was invited by the Fondation Phonos in Barcelona (Spain) (concert, discussion on computer music) and was a resident composer with the ARRAYMUSIC ensemble in Toronto (Canada) and GRAME (Lyon). This produced the creation of an instrumental and computer music entitled Gala.

In 1996, he participated in the summer workshop in computing for composers at IRCAM, attended the Opera and Musical Theatre's courses given at ATEM-Theatre Nanterre-Amandiers, and has been awarded for a grant from Mecenat Musical-Societe Generale.

In 1997, he was awarded the "Villa Medicis hors les Murs" program of Association Francaise d'Action Artistique / Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres.

Attempting to define the difference between theatrical music and musical theatre, his music tries to elaborate a semantic of sound and space between the musician's presence and his musical extension. Many of his works aim to create a dialogue with other art forms and world cultures.

Cosmos, for radio baton

Cosmos (Webster's definition): "an orderly, harmonious, systematic universe".

Cosmos is a realization of seven concepts which are of considerable importance to me as a composer.

  1. The desire to be in harmony with nature, and - by applying it's essential principles (as I understand them) to my compositional process - to create music which is similarly in harmony with nature.
  2. To use pulse, periodicity, and repetition as fundamental building blocks, and from these to create a structure to house musical relationships which are complex but also penetrable.
  3. To unify the micro and macro dimensions of musical sound, by introducing structures which exist in the former (eg. waveforms, phase relationships, harmonic relationships) into the realm of the latter; thus bringing the audio domain into the musical domain.
  4. To approach composition in a subjective way, such that the creation of compelling musical sound has primacy over theoretical thinking.
  5. To imbue music with emotion, and to bring about changes in emotional intensity along with changes in musical intensity.
  6. To take responsibility for the performance of my own work.
  7. To be free of constraints arising from European traditions and heritage, and to create music which can be placed within a wider cultural context (one which may include, but is not limited to European culture).

Elaborations on these ideas, together with a discussion of several other aspects of the composition are included in my DMA submission.

Nicky Hind

Nicky Hind was born in Bolton, England, in 1962. Bolton is a grimy, Northern English town, with an industrial past, but little to recommend it today. At the age of 12 he moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, his father - a classicaly trained pianist - having got a job as a high school music teacher. Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is an attractive but rather conservative place, except during the month of August when it becomes home to the world's largest arts festival. At the age of 25 he moved from Edinburgh to Glasgow to take up a place at Glasgow University, where he subsequently received a Bachelor of Music degree. Glasgow at that time was riding high on its status as European City of Culture (1990). It is a charming bustling city with a lot of character. In 1992 he moved from Glasgow to London to continue musical studies, subsequently receiving an MA from City University. London is such a congested city that the average speed of traffic is actually slower than it was 100 years ago in the era of the horse and cart. A word of advice: don't go there unless you have to! In 1993 Nicky Hind came to Stanford, California in order to pursue his interests in composition and computer music. He has recently graduated with a DMA in composition. Enjoying the multi-cultural ambience of the Bay Area, as well as the diverse and beautiful landscapes of California and beyond, he has decided to stay, at least for the time being. Nicky Hind will be actively pursuing a career as a composer/performer while supporting himself as a technical writer with a top Silicon Valley company.