CONCERT / MASTERCLASS - SARC
Sonic Arts Research Centre, Belfast
THURSDAY 3Oth of OCTOBER, 2003
VENUE: SALA DE LOS NIÑOS CANTORES, OCTOPHONIC SETUP.
CONSERVATORIO DE MORELIA, MICHOACAN. MÉXICO.
-> MASTERCLASS ON SPATIALISATION: ARQUITECHTONIC VERSUS ORGANIC SONIC DIFUSSION.
-> ACOUSMATIC CONCERT by SARC COMPOSERS (McCurdy, Anders, Brummer, Holstead,
Dixon, Delap, Wilson,) Commissioned by RICARDO CLIMENT, SARC
Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC)
The Sonic Arts Research Centre, SARC is a newly established centre of excellence
at the Queens University of Belfast dedicated to ground breaking research
and creative work in the fields of audio and music technology. SARC has brought
together expertise in the areas of musical composition, signal processing, digital
hardware and internet technology from Schools in the University and has recruited
leading researchers from institutions around the world.
Central to the research philosophy at SARC is synergy between the disciplines
of Music, Computer Science and Electrical and Electronic Engineering.Programme
1 Iain McCurdy Points of collapse for tape (*) (2002) 9:24
2 Torsten Anders With Shifting Joints for tape (**) (2003) 10:02
3 Ludger Brummer Gestalt for tape (*) (2002) 5:09
4 Rachel Holstead Enchant for tape (**) (2003) 6: 05
5 Jason Dixon Strong words, softly spoken for tape (*) (2001) 8:30
6 Gordon Delap Mercurius for tape (*) (2000) 7:58
7 Paul Wilson Genesis for tape (*) (1999) 13:16
(*) Premier in México
(**) World premier1.
McCurdy Points of collapse for tape (2002) 9:24
Points of Collapse continues, and takes to its limit, my interest in the role
and representation of kinetics in music. The functions of movement, escape,
stress, strain and often ultimately collapse are each given consideration. Individual
sound objects are subjected to a variety of pressures, often undergoing deformation
as a result. The piece in its entirety also represents a discreet entity, fragile
and barely held together by internal forces and linkages.
The sound sources used are themselves strongly suggestive of the ideas mentioned
above being, as they are, the result of various objects (timber, paper and eggshells)
being placed under strain.
My choice of short and often pointillistic source sounds highlighted a need
to imbue coherence and also to prolong or arrest the release of energy of the
original gesturing. I developed a number of techniques of fragmentation and
reconstruction in either aleatorical or structured fashion in
pursuit of this end.
Iain McCurdy graduated from Queen's University Belfast in 1998 with a
Bachelor of Music degree and again a year later with an MA in Music Technology.
Currently he is working towards a PhD in Composition under the supervision of
Prof. Michael Alcorn. His tape music and instrumental music has been performed
throughout the British Isles and Europe. Particular interests at the moment
include the incorporation of live electronics into music and the use of experimental
control devices to extend performance possibilities.
Torsten Anders With Shifting Joints for tape (2003) 10:05
In the multichannel tape piece With Shifting Joints, I composed instrumental
articulations and placed them around the listener.
I applied virtual instruments, physical models comprised of cells and their
connections. Such instruments allowed me to realize unconventional articulations
with high precision and extreme parameter changes. For example, I bowed an instrument
with such a sharp attack that it almost sounds like hitting the instrument with
a hammer. I further disturbed the decay of that attack by tremolo bow movements.
Some of the articulations are impossible to perform in the real world. For instance,
I coupled two freely vibrating strings by a spring, which results in a combined
instrument with a complex spectrum. Now, while bowing one of the strings, I
shifted the joining spring along the strings to shape spectral evolutions. This
articulation technique became such an important feature that I named the piece
The resulting sound events are rich and complex, therefore I have chosen a simple
The spatialization underlines this form. Re-occurring sound events have their
typical position or movement in a two-dimensional plane around the listener.
Highly structured sound sequences are unified by a common
With Shifting Joints was commissioned by the Komponistenverband Thüringen
e.V. It was produced in the studio of the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queen's
University Belfast (UK).
Torsten Anders was born in 1968 in , Germany. He studied musicology and
theology at the Humboldt- zu Berlin (1991--1992), switching to composition at
the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Weimar (1994--2000), where he specialized
in electro-acoustics. Anders studied composition with Wolfgang von Schweinitz
and Michael Obst, and electro-acoustic composition with Hans Tutschku, and Robin
Minard, among others. Between 2000--2001, Anders worked as a programmer in the
Music, Mind, Machine research group at the University of Nijmegen (NL). He attended
postgraduate studies in electro-acoustic composition at the Franz Liszt Academy
of Music (2000--2002). Anders is presently a PhD candidate at the Sonic Arts
Research Centre at Queen's University Belfast (UK).
Anders has composed multichannel tape pieces and sound installations, performed
at the Danish Institute of Electroacoustic Music, Centrum i Techniki mangghmodelinga
(PL), ICMC 2000, Radio MDR-Kultur
Leipzig, Electronic Music Studio of the Technische Universität Berlin,
Wilhelm Wagenfeld Haus Bremen, Internationales Design Zentrum Berlin, Imaginata
Jena City, to mention a few. He received commissions from FÖRDERBAND Kulturbüro
Berlin, Komponistenverband e.V., Deutsches Gartenbaumuseum Erfurt, Design-Zentrum
e.V., and scholarships of the Komponistenverband e.V. in 1999 and 2000.
Anders has written various software for music research and composition. Currently,
his research is situated in the area of computer aided composition.
In his current research, situated in the area of computer aided composition,
Mr. Anders looks for ways to describe music in a high-level manner. The composer
may use such descriptions for instructing his assistant, the computer, to generate
the music the composer wants.
3. Ludger Brümmer Gestalt for tape (2002) 5:09
For Francois Bayles 70th birthday
All the rhythmical objects in Gestalt are generated by physical
models. Rhythms and dynamic values as well as envelopes are not created by adding
single events to a score. Instead complete phrases containing series of rhythmical
evolutions are entirely performed by a complex model. One part of the physical
object performs like a player while the other generates the sound. A slow moving
pendulum for example would generate the rhythmical structure hitting another
physical object creating the sound. Inside of these objects the audio- and the
subaudio time ranges are united as a continuum, like in the real world, in the
world of mechanics.
The interesting aspect about this technique is the fact that such an object
acts like a sound object in the context of Musique Concréte.
But instead of just finding ready mades and recording them onto
tape the model can purposely be built and manipulated by the composers ideas.
In addition to phrase and timbre such an object generates a gesture identity,
which would be encoded inside such a pendulum. Therefore it consists
of a compositional cell, which can be transferred to other sounding objects
with different spectral properties. But instead of reproducing an identical
phrase with each of the timbre objects it would create slight variations each
time since the interaction with the plucked or hit object is bi-directional:
the timbre object influences the playing object and
The use of complex sound objects has of course consequences to the compositional
strategy. Instead of defining single events, amplitudes and rhythms entire phrases
have to be combined and modified to result in a complex musical phrase of several
Structuring music by physical techniques opens an new way to compose and generate
music with an exciting potential for the future and only a very few promising
examples are created already.
Bruemmer was born and educated in Germany. Studying psychology/sociology
in Dortmund and composition with Nicolaus A. Huber and Dirk Reith at the Institute
for Computermusic und Electronic Media [ICEM] Essen. Visiting Scholar at Centre
for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, Stanford University (1991-1993).
Lecturer at the ICEM, Folkwang Hochschule Essen (1993-2000). Research Fellow
at Kingston University (2000-2002). Composer Residence and Guest Composer at
the Centre for Art and Media, Karlsruhe (ZKM 1994-2002), Lecturer at Sonic Arts
Research Centre, Queens University Belfast (2001-2002). Currently director
of the Institute for Music and Acoustics at the Centre for Arts and Media, Karlsruhe
Commissioned by choreographer Susanne Linke, the Nederlands Dans Theater, Den
Haag, the French ministry of communication and culture, Siemens Foundation,
Academy of the Arts Berlin etc. Several performances at ICMC's in San Jose,
Tokyo, Banff and ICMA Commission for the ICMC Thessaloniki.
Awarded by the West German Radio [WDR], Folkwang Award, Busoni Award [Berlin],Golden
Nice [Prix Ars Electronica Linz], winner of the Rostrum for electronic music
[UNESCO], Grand Prix de Bourges and honourable mentions at Stockholm Electronic
Music Award and the Luigi Russolo Award.
4. Rachel Holstead Enchant for tape (2003) 6: 02
Enchant was written in three incarnations during May and June of 2003. It started
life as an idea for a work called Divas, based on samples of female voices.
When I started working, however, it took a different direction and became Slowdance,
dedicated to my partner Jason. Finally, with a new ending, it became Enchant.
It is a very simple work where I have tried to give each idea its own space
to breathe, rather than forcing it in a particular direction.
Rachel Holstead (1978) is from Co. Kerry in the south west of Ireland. She is
currently a PhD student in composition at Queens University, Belfast,
where she studies with Professor Michael Alcorn. Her music has been performed
in concerts and festivals in Europe, the US and Asia including the Sonorities
Festival and the Florida Electroacoustic Music Festival. Rachels output
includes works for instruments and for electronic media. Previous studies include
a BA (Hons.) in Music at Trinity College, Dublin, specializing in composition
under the guidance of Kevin O Connell and Donnacha Dennehy. Rachel has
attended the Dartington International Summer School in the UK and has received
several awards including the Clifford Parker Bursary (Dartington), a William
and Betty McQuitty Travel Award and awards from Arts Councils of Ireland and
Northern Ireland. Her trio, dissolving into light recently won the IMRO Composers
Competition at the Dublin Feis Ceoil.
Jason Dixon Strong words, softly spoken for tape (2001) 8:30
Words have tremendous power. Even the quietest whisper can yield devastating
effects. strong words, softly spoken explores the potential energy captured
within words and their ability to arouse different feelings in different people.
The human voice was the only source sound used in this composition, including
excerpts from James Joyce and Samuel Beckett (read by Rachel Holstead) alongside
the Haka of the New Zealand All Blacks rugby union squad.
The piece begins with a hushed, chaotic texture. As the words release some of
their power, they become increasingly audible and less confused until single
words can be heard. Finally they crash back into a chaotic state, and although
they are indistinguishable, they create a powerful and frantic climax.
strong words, softly spoken is dedicated to Rachel Holstead.
Jason Dixon (b. 1977) graduated with a BMus from the Queens University
of Belfast in 1999. After a brief period of work he returned to Queens
as a student on the MA in Music Technology course, which he has completed. He
specialises in electroacoustic composition, but is also interested in instrumental
composition, improvisation and conducting. Previous works include Morbid Anxieties
(tape), Mutant Tapeworm (ensemble and tape), Mutant Neutrino (flute and tape),
The Legend of Oscar (the life and times of a mutant oboe) (tape), Oscar the
Mutant meets a sticky end (the chronicles of a weekend night-shift worker) (two
percussion soloists and orchestra) and Not a mutant in sight (tape). Jason is
currently employed as Studio Assistant in the School of Music at Queens.
6 Gordon Delap Mercurius for tape (2000) 7:58
Mercurius was composed between autumn of 1999 and summer of 2000, realised through
use of studio facilities at City University, London.
The title of the work derives from a chart in the Elementa Chemicae, an alchemical
manuscript housed in the British Library. A diagram in four parts depicts a
mercurial serpent (mercurius) devouring and reconstructing itself in fire and
On one level, Mercurius was conceived as an exploration of destructive impulses.
The capacity and desire to give and receive pain is an integral part of the
human condition - the work partly represents an attempt to imbue sounds with
the capacity to physically effect the listener. Sounds were stripped to the
skeleton, sometimes reconstituted or welded to other sounds, while events tendency
towards collision as opposed to fluid interaction. Claustrophobic,
high-energy surges are contrasted with subdued passages which imply open spaces.
The conclusion of the work could be understood as a process of germination -
sometimes suggestive of improvisatory human activity - in which the dead materials
begin to breathe, drawing upon the energies generated through previous events.
Gordon Delap was born in 1979. He has studied electroacoustic composition
with Michael Alcorn, Simon Emmerson, and Denis Smalley. He is currently working
towards a PhD at Queens University, Belfast.
7 Paul Wilson Genesis for tape (1999) 13:16
The origin of good and evil, and the necessity for either to classify or contextualise
the other, is a theme which directed the realisation of this composition. Although
there was never a programmatic narrative during the course of the realisation,
this biblical conflict was always at the back of my mind when deliberating over
the sound world.
The sonic palette makes use of gesticulative nuances inherent in the source
sounds, in collaboration with transformed material. The result is a sound world
consisting of both recognisable and surreal elements that should be perceived
as having equal timbral significance. The composition begins with extremely
high sinusoidal waves and ends with low gritty timbres, indicative of the polar
opposites of good and evil. The placement of different frequencies in a loudspeaker
enhances the perception of the sounds at the extreme ends of the spectrum. The
composition journeys from one end of the spectrum to the other; the perception
of timbres as being at each end of the continuum is reinforced within the context
of its polar opposite.
Paul Wilson completed a PhD in composition at the Queens University
of Belfast where he is currently Lecturer in music technology. His compositions
include the use of both instrumental and electroacoustic resources, and have
been performed by Barrie Webb, Orkest de Volharding and the National Symphony
Orchestra of Ireland in Ireland, England, Europe and Central America and broadcast
from live on Radio Ulster, RTE and Cuban radio stations. Recent projects include
a collaborative installation with the artist Barbara Freeman for the Fenderski
gallery in Belfast and a commission to write a new work for the anniversary
of the S.E.E.L.B music service and a commission by Pedro Carneiro for Musica
Viva 2003, Coimbra, Portugal.