Saturday, April 28, 2007

Dorkbot Art and Technology Forum

Hi all,

I wanted to invite all of you to attend dorkbot-atl, the Atlanta chapter of the international forum on art and technology dedicated to “people doing strange things with electricity.” Our final meeting of the year is this Thursday, May 3rd, at 7 pm in the Couch Building (room 207) at Georgia Tech.

Full details and directions are available at:

The meeting will feature a hands-on demonstration of Flock, a work in progress being developed by myself, Liubo Borissov, Frank Dellaert, Mark Godfrey, Dan Hou, Justin Berger, and Martin Robinson. Come and help create the music being performed by a live saxophone quartet, learn how everything works, and give us feedback on the experience as we continue to develop the piece.

Flock is a performance work for saxophone quartet, conceived to directly engage audiences in the composition of music by physically bringing them out of their seats and enfolding them into the creative process. During the performance, the four musicians and the audience members move freely around the performance space. A computer vision system determines the locations of the audience members and musicians, and it uses that data to generate performance instructions for the saxophonists, who view them on wireless handheld displays mounted on their instruments. The data is also artistically rendered and projected on multiple video screens to provide a visual experience of the score. More information about flock is available at:

As always, dorkbot, which is sponsored by the Georgia Tech Music Department, is free and open to the public.

Hope to see you there!! This is the final event at Georgia Tech for our academic year, but there's more exciting things to come this fall...

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Atlanta Score Study Group's New (Old) Direction

From Eddie Horst:

This is an announcement about The Atlanta Score Study Group (ASSg) regarding some changes in its focus and direction.

As you may know, ASSg, in a previous incarnation, was started by Eddie Horst, but revived and artfully managed over the past year by Jonathan Cazanave.

The original direction of the group was to be as the name implies: studying great music by listening to recordings and diligently examining and learning from the score. The ultimate aim was to increase our skills and proficiency as composers by truly understanding the means by which great music was created in works that we admired.

Many of the past meetings did indeed focus on this goal, but I came to learn that about half the attendees had various other goals (all very worthy). So to better address our various interests I would like to introduce a solution for all of us. First, I would like to return ASSg to its original course, and second, because of exciting new developments in the Atlanta composer community, I would encourage those not focused on score study to find an existing group, or even to create a new one that more suits their needs. There is plenty going on. Jonathan showed us that there are many eager composers in our midst.

Before I describe how ASSg might better operate, let me describe how our relationship to the Atlanta composers' community will be strengthened through our friend, Darren Nelsen. As many of you know, Darren is a great organizer and visionary who maintains an excellent blog at News of ASSg's meetings have been and will continue to be disseminated through his blog, along with news from other groups. So ASSg is not going away. It is simply refocusing back to its original mission and continuing to stay in touch with the community through Darren's blog. ASSg is one part of a larger thing.

ASSg Purpose: To study scores communally so as to help ourselves and each other become better composers.

Participation: If you agree to be a part of ASSg, and you show up at a monthly meeting, you must agree to commit to some listening and studying beforehand. Yeh, like homework, but the payoff might be more exciting than a mere degree. You will also be expected to give something at the meeting. Remember, this is like a musical commune: everyone gives, everyone gets. Anyone can suggest a piece for the group to study. The score and mp3 will be made available by me to everyone a month or so beforehand. The score may even come as a standard midi file which would allow easy non-transposed analysis in sequencer or notation software while synchronized with the audio.

What to Study:
Classical, Romantic or Contemporary music written for an ensemble
Classic or contemporary film scores
Our own music, as long as it is of benefit to all of us
Various other music that is a) good and b) appealing to the group

ASSg will be interesting, thought-provoking, educational, inspiring, and certainly fun. However, to be those things for everyone, it will require a commitment for each of us to listen and study intently beforehand and then actively participate in the meetings. When this works well it is actually a thrilling experience (Well, at least for me).

The analysis can touch on anything that might help us write better music including but not limited to:
compositional aspects
vertical structures
the line and horizontal aspects
tension and release
emotional effects
and on and on.

If you are interested in being an active member in the new ASSg, please send me a quick email indicating what you feel you can contribute for your own and the group’s enlightenment. Give me your thoughts on how the new ASSg will help you. Give me your thoughts on what you might want to change or add. We will try to keep the number of participants at a relatively low number so that we can stay on track with the most committed members. Incidentally, I am inviting a few very serious score study buddies who have not been to any previous meetings.

I will set up the first meeting when I hear from you. We can continue to meet monthly at Crawford on any night we choose. Jonathan will likely be involved in managing things but his duties will not be as extensive. We will all share.

Send to:

Saturday, April 21, 2007

AJC axes "classical music critic" position

The staff position of "classical music critic" has been eliminated at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, according to recent published reports by writers at Creative Loafing-Atlanta.

But the story hardly stops there. The AJC is losing a "who's who" of senior writers due to a restructuring of the daily newspaper with what some might easily call a "virtual hatchet."

Even as two of its editors were announced winners of Pulitzer Prizes for Journalism, editorial columnist Cynthia Tucker (for commentary) and managing editor Hank Klibanoff (shared the prize for history), the daily newspaper is losing some 40 senior senior staffers in an "early retirement buyout" (including the AJC's only other extant Pulitzer winner, science writer Mike Toner), a number of other specific "beats" have been eliminated, and it appears many remaining writers will be obliged to compete for remaining jobs in a "reapplication" process.

"Features" appears to have been one of the departments hit hardest, with elimination of both the "classical music critic" position [Pierre Ruhe] (leaving two other staff music writers to compete against each other for the sole remaining "pop music" job) and "visual arts critic" post [Catherine Fox], as well as two of its three film critic jobs [Eleanor Ringel Gillespie was one of the senior writers to accept "early retirement"] to rely upon wire service reviews. (Atlanta's alternative weekly, Creative Loafing, for comparison, has two local film critics.)

I have tried to contact AJC classical music critic Pierre Ruhe by e-mail for comment, even off-the-record if he wishes, but have received no response as of yet.

Although daily newspapers all around have experienced severely decreasing readership, my personal opinion is this the equivalent of the AJC dropping its pants and mooning Atlanta's arts community, particularly the classical music world. (As many of you know, I cover classical music for Creative Loafing, and won an ASCAP/Deems Taylor award in 2003 for it, but in what I must admit appears to be less-and-less frequent assignments.) And according to one member of the Atlanta Symphony, another alternative weekly, The Sunday Paper, recently published a list of "top 40" influential people in Atlanta's music scene, and not one of them was part of the "classical" world, not even Robert Spano--but I have not personally seen the list, so I cannot confirm that report, though I will ask the SP's A&E editor for a copy.

But those I have spoken with about the AJC's changes regarding "classical music," even when it was far less clear late last week exactly what was transpiring, classical music supporters in Atlanta are upset--those who know about it, that is. I'm not even sure what we know now is all that clear, as a "job reapplication process" for remaining AJC writers will not be over until June 1, according to Creative Loafing reporter Scott Freeman--see second link below.

My own best guess at this juncture is that the AJC staff posts on the chopping block will continue to exist until the "reapplication" process is over, but I have no tangible confirmation of that at this time.

The first I heard that something was going down specifically with AJC coverage of "classical music" was Friday, April 13, during intermission of an Atlanta Symphony subscription concert. Nevertheless, please read more about it here:

Fear and loathing at the AJC

by Scott Freeman [Creative Loafing "Fresh Loaf" blog, April 13, 2007]

Newsroom musical chairs at the AJC
AJC loses top talent and familiar names; many who stay will have to find new beats
by Scott Henry [Creative Loafing, online/print editions, April 18/19, 2007]

—Mark Gresham, composer/music journalist 21 Apr 2007

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Turner Classic Movies Young Film Composers Compeition, Local Composer Makes Semi-Finals

Juan Chattah of Decatur, GA made the semi-finals and that's no small feat. Is this the same person who teaches at Agnes Scott College? I would be interesting in hearing/seeing what he submitted.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Copywork and recording - shameless plug

Hi everyone,

I am posting to see if anyone needs or knows someone who needs any notation/copywork done. I am great with Sibelius, but will notate by hand or in Finale if needed. Turnaround and rates will be quite reasonable - I am just looking to make a little extra cash before I head to the UK in September.

I am also available for remote recording, as well as mixing and mastering.

Contact me here:

Example scores are available my website: Handwritten examples and recording examples available upon request (note: most of the recordings on my site are live and not engineered by me).

Please pass this along to anyone who may be interested.

Many thanks!
Adam Neal

Monday, April 16, 2007

Final neoPhonia New Music Ensemble concert of the 2006/07 season

From Dr. Nickitas J. Demos:

Just a reminder - you are cordially invited to the fourth and final neoPhonia New Music Ensemble concert of the 2006/07 season.

Whether focusing on a solo performer, a lonely subway commute or the single blossoming of a flower just before death - we take a look at the solitary life... on the next neoPhonia concert.

The concert takes place at 7:30 PM in the Kopleff Recital Hall on the campus of Georgia State University in lovely downtown Atlanta and is, of course, FREE and open to the public.


Des Cherubins Sprache inwendig by Eckart BEINKE
for solo marimba

Straphanger by GSU MM composition graduate student Adam Scott NEAL
for computer generated sounds

Bamboo Blossoms by GSU MM composition graduate student Jennifer MITCHELL
for trombone, harp and two percussion

The Laughing Monkeys of Gravity by GSU faculty member Curtis BRYANT
for soprano and piano - Text by Stephen BLUESTONE
featuring special guest artists Chery BRENDEL, soprano and Lisa LEONG, piano

The Kopleff Recital Hall is located within the Arts and Humanities Building which is on the corner of Peachtree Center Avenue and Gilmer Street in
downtown Atlanta. Street parking may be available in this area, or you may use I-Lot (Peachtree Center Ave). For more detailed directions and maps,
please check out the GSU School of Music website at

As always, you will be able to meet and greet the composers and performersafter the concert at a reception hosted by the GSU Student Chapter of the
Society of Composers, Inc. (SCI).

Friday, April 13, 2007

Politics meets RIAA meets Atlanta

I hesitate to post this, 'cause I don't want to step into a political swamp... but since the RIAA is responsible for raiding an Atlanta studio using a SWAT team and drawn machine guns to hammer out alleged copyright infringement, it's only fair that I post this...

DNC appoints RIAA shill to run Public Affairs for convention

Our country is turning into a dictatorship enough without reps from the RIAA embedded in (or in fact leading segments of) political parties.

I urge you to take action if you're so inclined by contacting the DNC to express dissatisfaction with this appointment.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Composer and Guitarist Atanas Ourkouzounov performs at Columbus State University

Monday, April 16 -- Performance by Carson McCullers Resident Composer in Guitar, Atanas Ourkouzounov. The RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, 7:30 PM. Admission is free.

I've had some communication with Atanas, mainly about his Sonatine for flute and guitar that hopefully duoATL will perform in the near future (which is an incredible piece). Flutist Mie Ogura will also be performing with Atanas. I recommend checking out his samples on his site Certainly a different perspective and influence coming from Bulgaria.

If all goes well, I will be making the trek out to Columbus.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Contributors Needed

The mission of is to cover as many aspects of local composer activity as possible. To that end, I need more contributors to share what's going on in each of your worlds. So far, we have coverage of a few groups--GSU (Adam Scott Neal), the ASSG (Jonathan Cazenave), and the upcoming Csound User Group (me and Mitch Turner).

I'd like to get more contributors from more areas, like Georgia Tech, Emory, Kennesaw, LaGrange College, and any independent groups (similar to ASSG).

What I need is one or more representatives from each group willing to post information about upcoming events and activities within their sphere. This applies to schools, ensembles, performance venues, meetup groups, journalists, critics, etc. As long as your contributions have to do with promoting music of local composers and helping this community to become more vibrant and gain more exposure.

Please let me know if you're interested in becoming a contributing blogger! ;) And spread the word. Thanks!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Steve Reich Festival

Unfortunately, I'm not going to make it to the Steve Reich/SO Percussion concert tonight at GSU. If anybody wants to post comments about their experience at the show, that would be nice.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Second Life

Is anyone here (besides me) in Second Life? Do you happen to own land or property? (I do not.) Can we put on a virtual concert there?

If there's no place currently available, would anyone be interested in going in on a group purchase of property and establishing a 24/7 streaming area of Atlanta composers' music? I think it would be fun to do as a group.

Let me know if you're interested and we'll start to pursue this.

Incognito in Public

What would happen if one of the USA's greatest, most recognized 30-something classical musicians performed for tips in a Washington, DC subway station? To find out, read this long, disturbing article (replete with video) from yesterday's Washington Post (Sunday, April 8, 2007):   [Article]

The follow-up question for all of us: What does it signify for living composers?

--Mark Gresham

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Volunteer Needed for 'Featured Composers' Column

I need a volunteer to write a monthly section of the blog called Featured Composers. Each month, Featured Composers will profile (in brief) two Atlanta-area composers, with bios and links to their sound pages/files. Very similar to Sequenza21's "Click Picks".

The Featured Composers section is a way to highlight local talent and bring direct awareness to our composers and their music. A way of saying, "Here, look at this!"

I need a contributor to do these writeups. It's fairly simple work. Just follow the links in the Atlanta Composers section, pick two composers, summarize their bios, and link to their sound pages or files. You don't need to be a music critic, you just need to do some exploring and share what you find. It'll be fun for someone who likes to do research, listen to new music, and give back to the community. You'll be helping us learn about each other.

Please let me know if you're interested by sending an email to darren (A-T) curiomusic (D-O-T) com or contact me here. Thanks!!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Csound Users Group

I'm very excited to announce the inauguration of a local Csound Users Group. Headed up by myself and Mitchell Turner, we are going to have our first meeting in May (tentatively Thurs. May 10 @ 7:30pm at Mitch's home.)

We'd like participants and volunteers to present mini-topics of 5-10 minutes each. I will demonstrate the use of 'invalues' for realtime control in MacCsound. Mitch will present 'global variables' within a reverb instrument. We need more topics and presenters, so please let us know if you're interested. ('Presenter' sounds formal--we really just need people willing to say a something about what they know how to do in Csound. It'll be a fun, informal gathering.)

Please respond to this post to show your interest and ideas/requests for topics.

More details to follow...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

ASSG Meeting Canceled.

From Jonathan:

Hi everyone,
The ASSG is officially celebrating Spring Break this year. :-)

There *Will Not* be a meeting Tomorrow, April 5th.
We should resume as normal next month.

Jonathan Cazenave
Composer for Film, TV and Multimedia

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Classical Music Looks Toward China With Hope

Interesting article in The New York Times...

Here are some excerpts...

[With the same energy, drive and sheer population weight that has made it an economic power, China has become a considerable force in Western classical music. Conservatories are bulging. Provincial cities demand orchestras and concert halls.]

[Fewer young American listeners find their way to classical music, largely because of the lack of the music education that was widespread in public schools two generations ago. As a result many orchestras and opera houses struggle to fill halls.

China, with an estimated 30 million piano students and 10 million violin students, is on an opposite trajectory. Comprehensive tests to enter the top conservatories now attract nearly 200,000 students a year, compared with a few thousand annually in the 1980s, according to the Chinese Musicians Association.]

[“Music is hot in China,” said Chen Hung-Kuan, the chairman of the piano department at the Shanghai Conservatory. “It may be fading in Western countries,” he added, but in China the talent is “unlimited.”]

Do we have any locals working in/with China? What's been your experience? Is any of your music being performed there? I imagine that with Atlanta being a hub of international renown (Hartsfield-Jackson, CNN, Coke), we might be able to have some impact in China. A market worth exploring...! Please post your comments if you have some experience here.