Composers Workshop
Concerts III & IV

Composers' Workshop & Tour

Sunday, November 1, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
Riverside Recital Hall (map)

Saturday, November 7, 2015
The Midwest Composers Symposium
School of Music, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Note: Works chosen to represent UI are indicated with asterisks
Download the full two-day five-session program
 PDF iconMidwestComposer'sSymposium2015.pdf


Gong-Gan ***
Joungmin LEE [BIO]
The Korean word “Gong-Gan,”refers to empty space. In this work, the sounds of wind, foot stomping & stamping to impact, and human voice constitute a message, which in turn blends in with the sound of the flute to fill the space before vanishing slowly. In this piece, the flute struggles to remain relevant, with two melodies and rhymes. The flute, under-toned by traditional Korean folk music, eventually reverts to what it effectively is, writhes and vanishes into new emptiness.
Toward ***
II. Devour
III. Scatter
IV. Shift
Moving toward new positions, plates collide. That which pollutes becomes nourishing. Fragments scatter into new forms. Monoliths crumble. Roots take. Toward is a five-movement cycle of destruction and rebirth. Through spectral distortion, material is collided, collapsed, expanded, shifted, convolved, and manipulated. Toward was created in collaboration with painter Dana O’Malley.
Gustavo Do Carmo, piano
My brother came into this world with developmental delays and similar cognitive issues. When he was a toddler, my parents brought him to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital to have him tested for autism, but we found out, surprisingly, that he barely skirted diagnosis on the autism spectrum. Thus, we have had to experience his journey as one without a road map. As his older brother, I have had the joy of witnessing his growth over the years, and it is apparent to me that his condition is by no means a setback but instead an opportunity. Ḁis is a testimony to the beautiful relationship I have with my brother.
Esotera I ***
Alexandros SPYROU [BIO]
Allison Offerman, oboe
John Cummins, saxophone
Wannapha Yannavut, vibraphone
Nick Bowes, double bass
Hisham Groover, conductor
Esotera I focuses on issues of multi-temporality, non-linear narrative and material transformation. Rotations and metamorphoses of three archetypical spatial patterns are used to construct higher-level structures. The emergence or saturation as well as the temporal placement of these patterns creates constant structural alterations in density, shape and flux.
Esotera is a cycle of works which deal with the dispositions of psyche.
Bleached ***
According to Schwarzel Mulluer in "Dynamic Memory Networks", people often think that memory operates like recording equipment, however it is not the case. Memories can be constructed by encoding them when they are being recalled.
Bleached is illustrating the process of memorization. Two contrasted musical ideas referring to two psychological statuses are being transformed through time. After a certain point distorted and dissolved concepts are being transformed into a neutral stage in order to accomplish a consolidation. To meet the aforementioned criteria, technically the piece contains unstable timbral quality, which is also referring to some eastern musical elements, aesthetically and aurally. This is all amplified by unique ornamentation and pitch material throughout the piece.
Bernard SHORT [BIO]
10 Channel Fixed Media
Phase is a 10 Channel Fixed Media Piece, inspired by Steve Reich’s Violin Phase. The work plays with the slight but steady shifting of ideas over time. These ideas are achieved through different techniques using Sci-Fi to process sound, and Pitch ‘n Time to create temporal shifts. The sounds used for this piece were mined from a collection of recordings done in the anechoic chamber at the University of Iowa, with sound distortions created in the Electronic Music Studios, as well as a 24 oz. thermos filled with water.
Momentary Mirror ***
Leonardo Perez, violin
Matthew Laughlin, violoncello
Korak Lertpibulchai, piano
Hisham Groover, conductor
Momentary Mirror primarily functions as a multidimensional exploration of concepts in symmetry. All pitch content in this piece is derived, directly or indirectly, from a symmetrical row; the selection of pitch collections and the permutations of pitches therein are developed through an intricate web of symmetrical patterns. Furthermore, the concept of abstract symmetry is investigated through form, in which various degrees of symmetrical perfection and imperfection occur in a symmetrical pattern over time. The conceptual center of the piece contains a measure of ideal symmetry occurring horizontally, vertically, and diagonally across staves, which serves as a point of reflection by which the content on either side is mirrored for some time. These concepts in symmetry guide numerous aspects of music throughout the work, including pitch, rhythm, texture, timbre, register, and the degree of ensemble unity.
Wood Metal Hair ***
Blake Shaw, double bass
The title refers to the source materials used to create this piece; all of the fixed sounds except for one 4.7-second region was obtained from a double bass using various standard (e.g. pizzicato, ricochet, sul ponticello) and non-standard (e.g. bowing the side of the instrument, bowing the tuning pegs, moving a hand quickly between the instrument’s neck and body) techniques. The 4.7 seconds of sound outside of this double bass-derived environment came from crushing a dried red pepper. Unfortunately, its 4.7 second contribution was not enough to earn the red pepper a place in the title.
Arcs Dividing
Jeiran Hasan, flute
Allison Offerman, oboe
Paul Duffy, piano
Jonathan Wilson, conductor
Arcs Dividing comprehensively explores the transformative states of pitch and time, using multiple intersecting structural layers as the vehicle for their expression. All pitch material is derived from a single introductory tetrachord, which is repeated, rotated, and refracted, to the point of its complete disintegration, replacement, and reconstruction. Rhythmically, a complex series of interactions in time occur at the local level, within temporally contiguous moments, and also in non-linear temporal sequences.
The Vulture
Lisa Neher, mezzo-soprano
The Vulture was selected as a winner of the One Voice Project organized by Lisa Neher in 2015. The piece considers the idea that nothing really disappears, things only transform into something new. The vulture in the text even anticipates this transformation, not only searching for a meal, but relishing her participation in this process.
The Vulture
I am a vulture/gazing among the trees
I am, vulture/patient for you
Patient, for your tiny morsels/gazing for you
Once inside me,/returned.
—Jonah Elrod
Ives in a Glass House
Andrew Gentzsch, violin
Alice Chang, piano
Ives in a Glass House grew out of research into David Huron’s theories of expectation and surprise undertaken for a post tonal class. Originally a three-minute work blending isometric rhythms with minimalism, the work has since evolved into a larger worker combining the original nucleus with octatonic systems and a larger “aba” formal structure.
Rotations II. 720
Jonathan WILSON [BIO]
Jonathan Wilson, voice, percussion
ARP 2600 Sequencer, and live electronics (8 channels)
Rotations II. 720, the second movement of "Rotations" continues where the first movement left off. Unlike the first movement, which investigated entrainment to spatiality in combination with smooth timbral modulations through 8-channel fixed media, these ideas are now explored through live electronics with the performer. In this movement the performer attempts to continue smooth timbral modulation while adding a new kind of rotation, a rotation from substance to artificiality, where substance corresponds to the body and artificiality to a machine. Thus, rotation in itself no longer concerns specifically sonic phenomena produced by a machine, but the sonic relationships between the body and machine. The various instruments chosen for this performance represent the different stages from body to machine. The voice represents the body. Percussion represents an intermediary stage between the body and machine, and the ARP 2600 is representative of the machine.
Alexander TOTH [BIO]
Alice Chang, piano
Puzzles derived from the idea that one object or idea often consists of many objects and ideas. I thought about this concept when I considered what a puzzle was. A puzzle is one object that can be viewed as a whole and thought to be aesthetically pleasing, but each piece of this puzzle can be considered unique and artistic in itself in addition to being essential to the puzzle as a whole. To convey this idea, I crafted four pitch collections that form both the introductory sequence of this piece (the puzzle) and the basic sets for each of the four main divisions of this piece (the puzzle pieces). There are sections in which the different basic sets stand alone and where they work together with other sets to produce a more holistic view of an environment interacting with itself.
Justin Comer, saxophone
Chris Sande, percussion
Carlos Cotallo Solares, guitar
Lead is a piece that can be arranged for different ensembles. Various ways of leading and queuing (both within the ensemble and between the composer and the performers) are explored throughout the work. Although the rhythmic and pitch material can vary from performance to performance, the form stays constant.