elements ~ five transfigurations for cello and computer was commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University. elements was composed for and is dedicated to cellist Tobias Werner, and explores aspects of extended techniques and performance gestures, timbre, sonic characteristics and computer processing for the cello. William Brent developed the technology for elements in close collaboration with the composer.
The blending and spatialization of sonorities in elements forms a vibrant sonic environment where evolving textures emerge from this delicate interaction between performer and computer. The result produces varying sonic combinations, and creates intense effects where the cello at times is immersed in the processed sounds, and at times the processing fades as the cello reveals its core sonic image. The initial idea behind composing elements was to create a score that blended the extended performance techniques of the cello with real-time computer processing to form a unified sonic signature. These extended techniques and computer processes unify the instrument and computer into a sound environment where they eventually become “essentially equal.” But are never really the same.
The music of American composer Steve Antosca blends instruments with computers for audio processing and spatialization. Through the realization of scores that juxtapose elements of traditional notation with indeterminacy, musicians craft a sonically rich performance environment. The Washington Post has described his concerts as “spectacular, wonderfully provocative,” “formidable” and noted that “he has brought wildly imaginative concerts … to Washington for more than a decade.” Antosca’s works have been performed throughout America and Europe, and in China and Mexico. In Washington, his work has been performed at the National Gallery, Corcoran Gallery, la maison Française, Phillips Collection, Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution and numerous universities. His works have been performed at the first New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, NYU, June in Buffalo, the Stone, the Issue Project Room, le poisson rouge, and Symphony Space. His work was presented at the first edition of the International Electroacoustic Music Festival in Rome and at subsequent EMUfest concerts.
William Brent is a computer musician and Assistant Professor of Audio Technology at American University in Washington, D.C. His creative work is spread across the areas of experimental music performance, sound art, and instrument design, and involves various combinations of human- robotic- and computer-realized sound. In collaboration with internationally recognized composers and performers, he develops and operates real-time audiovisual manipulation software for inter- media performance works, such as James Dillon’s Nine Rivers, and Philippe Manoury’s Jupiter, Pluton, and Neptune. In this capacity, he has presented work at venues such as SESC (São Paulo), Glasgow Concert Halls (Scotland), Miller Theatre (New York), and the National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C). As a programmer, Brent has developed open source software libraries for the Pure Data (Pd) programming environment that are used by an international community of artists and researchers. His current lines of research include new methods for physical control of synthesized audio, signal analysis techniques for quantifying timbre, and various aspects of human timbre perception.
Tobias Werner, cello, has performed at Garth Newel Music Center since 1999 and is a member of VERGE ensemble, ensemble-in-residence at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. He has performed at the Cape and Islands Chamber Music Festival, Villa Musica Mainz, the San Diego Chamber Music Workshop, the Vail Valley Bravo! Colorado Music Festival, the Maui Classical Music Festival, in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Strathmore Hall, the Phillips Collection, the New York Society for Ethical Culture, and at Bargemusic. Werner has appeared as soloist with orchestras in the U.S., France, Germany, and Romania, and recent performances have included the concertos of Dvorák, Elgar, Haydn, and Boccherini. He has recorded on the ECM, Darbringhaus & Grimm, Bayer Records, and Orfeo labels. Recent CD releases include Piano Quartets by Mozart, Brahms, Dvorák, and Martinu with the Garth Newel Piano Quartet, the Suites for Unaccompanied Cello by J.S. Bach, and the Sonatas for Piano and Cello by Beethoven with Victor Asuncion. Tobias studied at the Musikhochschule Freiburg in Germany, and at Boston University. His teachers have included Andrés Díaz, Christoph Henkel, and Xavier Gagnepain. He plays on an 1844 J.F. Pressenda cello.
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