Saturday, October 30, 2010

neoPhonia New Music Ensemble: November 9, 2010

Date: Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Time: 7:30 PM
Location: Kopleff Recital Hall

Join us for Rites of Passage, the second concert of the 2010/11 season! We are honored to feature special guest performers Ken LONG (clarinet) and Brandt FREDRIKSEN (piano) in a program of clarinet music written by Donald ERB, Nickitas DEMOS and Paul OSTERFIELD. The concert is FREE and there will be, as usual, a reception following! Hope to see many of you there!


OSTERFIELD / Six Vignettes for solo clarinet

ERB / Changes for clarinet & keyboards

DEMOS / Tonoi III for solo clarinet

ERB / Woody for solo clarinet

DEMOS / Rites of Passage (premiere) for clarinet (tripling on bass clarinet, Eb clarinet) & piano

Friday, October 29, 2010

Bent Frequency TONIGHT (10/29)

Sorry we neglected to post this VERY IMPORTANT show - hopefully you've been checking the GSU calendar and/or facebook invites! This was snowed out TWICE last year, so please make a good showing for BF!

Mauricio Kagel: Film Music, Music Performance, Performance Film
Featuring Bent Frequency
Friday, October 29, 2010 - 7:30 PM
Kopleff Recital Hall, GSU

Mauricio Kagel, the German-Argentine composer who died in 2008, is most noted for his theatrical contributions to classical music performance. The evening will offer two of Kagel's short films, Unter Strom and Antithese, and performances of Kagel's Schattenklange for bass clarinet and Match for Two Cellos and Percussion. Match is a dialogue for two celli with a percussionist serving as the umpire. It is not only a match in sounds, but also in physical reactions, keeping the umpire busy! Sponsored by the Center for Collaborative and International Arts (CENCIA), which brings together creative writers, visual arts, composers, musicians, actors and playwrights, filmmakers and scholars engaged in arts-related research at Georgia State.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Press Release: Composer Brian Skutle Goes "Beyond the Infinite" for his Fourth Album

A decade after its first conception, and 42 years after the film that inspired it, Atlanta-area filmmaker-composer Brian Skutle is proud to release his fourth album, "Beyond the Infinite: A Musical Odyssey".

In 1999, Skutle was a student at Georgia State University when he composed "Beyond the Infinite," a 3 1/2 minute work inspired by the music of Gyorgy Ligeti and the cinema of Stanley Kubrick as it collided in the landmark 1968 film "2001: A Space Odyssey", and the musical seed that would grow into the album of the same name. Adapted from the short story "The Sentinel" by Arthur C. Clarke, "2001" was an ambitious film that tracked man's evolution in intelligence and technology back from the "dawn of man" to the early 21st Century, when the crew of Discovery One is sent to explore a mysterious signal that was directed towards Jupiter from an artifact on the moon. With Oscar-winning visual effects and limitless imagination, Kubrick's iconoclastic sci-fi film has confounded and enthralled audiences ever since its first release during the "space race" of the late '60s.

Skutle was one of those both confounded and enthralled by the film. As he wrote in his 2002 review, "But like the finest cinematic mind-benders, the more times you watch, the more the underlying meaning and form of Kubrick’s film reveals itself...whether you see it as a spiritual epic or pretentious bore, '2001' is a landmark of special effects and sound design." It wasn't just the sights that engaged him: Kubrick's use of classical music to score the action also imprinted itself on Skutle; that and the knowledge of an unused score by Alex North gave him the idea for "Beyond the Infinite."

As he writes in the liner notes for the album, "Conceived in part as an 'alternative soundtrack' to '2001' as much as it is a tone poem, 'Beyond the Infinite' takes its cues, on a musical level, as much from Alex North's elegant, unusued score for '2001' as much as it does the collection of Ligeti, J. Strauss, R. Strauss, and Khachaturian Kubrick used in his epic. The goal was to meld the tonal continuity of North's music with the experimental amalgam of Kubrick's chosen selections...So you have waltz-like works performed by synthesized sounds instead of strings, motifs performed in both chamber and electronic configurations, and pieces that carry a more traditional music structure programmed next to ones of a more avant garde nature."

In the spirit of his conception of "Beyond the Infinite" as an alternative soundtrack to the film, Brian Skutle has chosen an original approach to releasing the album. In addition to being available for purchase at online retailers such as CDBaby and iTunes (along with his other three albums- "Creative Beginnings", "Dark Experiments", and "Sonic Visions of a New Old West"), Skutle has created a special commentary for "2001: A Space Odyssey" which places the pieces of "Beyond the Infinite" in context of the moments in the film they were inspired by, along with newly-recorded commentary that goes in depth onto not only his thoughts on the film itself, but also the creation of "Beyond the Infinite: A Musical Odyssey." Downloadable from, the track allows for a new experience in watching the film, as well as gives voice to an artist and critic with a lot to say as both about this singular work of art.

Thanks for listening,

Brian Skutle
Sonic Cinema Shop
"Creative Beginnings" at CDBaby
"Dark Experiments" at CDBaby
"Sonic Visions of a New Old West" at CDBaby
"Beyond the Infinite: A Musical Odyssey" at CDBaby

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cerberus Percussion Group @ Red Light Cafe 11/19/10

Hi everyone -

Cerberus Percussion Group is playing the Red Light Cafe at 9PM on Friday, 11/19/10. Alt-country/folk acts EB Reece (GSU student!) and Adam Klein open at 7:30 and 8:00, respectively.

On the program:
Catfish - Mark Applebaum
Pachamama - Adam Scott Neal
The Frame Problem - James Romig
Attica - Frederic Rzewski

Admission is $7, but supporting contemporary music is priceless.

Feel free to RSVP via facebook here.

Program Notes:

Catfish (2003) - Intense, but always with a sick Californian sense of humor, Catfish is a vexing and delightful listening experience. -John Zorn

Pachamama (2009) is a piece for percussion trio. Each player has a 'melodic' instrument (conch shell, ocarina, melodica), some kind of drum (up to them), another 'rhythmic' percussion instrument (shaker, stones, log drum) and an 'atmospheric' instrument (frog guiro, box of pebbles, paper and plastic bags).The form is based on a 9x9 magic square. The number in each square determined the number of measures (in 4/4) that each instrument, dynamic, or rhythmic pattern would last. It will sound a lot less arbitrary than that description. What to listen for, in a nutshell - different instruments will come and go. They will gradually fall into a groove, the groove may become less apparent, then appear again. If you listen closely, you may notice that each player is actually in his own meter. -Adam Scott Neal

The Frame Problem (2003) The title refers to a primary difficulty in designing robots and computer programs with "artificial intelligence." Human brains have a remarkable ability to "frame" information: in an instant, we are able to observe and organize an enormous amount of data, sorting and categorizing what is relevant and what is not. When listening to music, one of the primary hierarchical "frames" we create is that of meter. In this percussion trio, multiple distinct meters occur concurrently—in different lines, at constantly shifting dynamic levels, and in different timbral aggregations—providing human listeners with the opportunity to resolve multiple overlapping “frames” simultaneously. Robots in the audience will probably just be confused. -James Romig

Attica (1972), the earliest work on tonight’s program, is also one of Rzewski’s earliest compositions to feature an overtly political message. A lush repetitive tonal sequence is punctuated by a narrator’s intoned text, gradually expanding one word at a time; the sequenced is derived from a statement made by Richard X. Clark, one of the organizers of the 1971 Attica prison uprising, upon his release in February 1972: “Attica is in front of me.” Although Attica is being presented on its own this evening, it was originally conceived as a companion piece to the more visceral Coming Together, whose narration is based on the words of a less fortunate Attica inmate, radical antiwar activist Sam Melville (“Mad Bomber” Melville), who was killed by police during the uprising. -Kyle Gann

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

neoPhonia concert review

Review of neoPhonia New Music Ensemble: October 19, 2010

I hesitate to call this a review because I'm not a professional journalist and I'm only going to say a few words of my impressions of the evening. For a critic's review, please see Pierre Ruhe's write-up on

This concert, which began the 16th season of neoPhonia, was an evening of three Atlanta native composers--Charles Knox, Mark Gresham, and Brent Milam. Charles Knox, born 1929, is our 'founding father', the oldest and most mature composer living and working in the Atlanta area. This concert was largely in honor of Mr. Knox. The evening was framed by his works, both the first and last pieces written by him. And a few words were said in his honor by Dwight Coleman, who spoke of working with Knox on an opera [could someone who knows more please provide details] and of Knox's 45-year relationship with the School of Music.

All composers were in attendance. It was greet to meet and chat with them before and after the show.

Following is the program with some of my notes...

KNOX / Song & Double (1984) for oboe & piano
All I wrote for this one was "beautiful". ;)

GRESHAM / Vagabond Drumming, Book IV (2010 - premiere) for percussion duo
Excellent and perhaps my favorite of the pieces in Gresham's Vegabond Drumming series.
Made use of blocks, bongos, snare, tamborine, cymbals and chimes. The blocks started together and then the percussion combined in different ways. The third movement was polyrhythmic, the fourth seemed Asian inspired with the pentatonic pitched blocks, the fifth got louder with snare, bongos, and blocks. I think Mark was very pleased with this performance, as he should be, it was great.

MILAM / Between The Walls (2010 - premiere) for flute, Bb clarinet, cello & piano
Great work. The first movement started off softly dissonant, but stayed light and went into jazzy playfulness. The second movement was soft and gentle. The third and most memorable to me started playfully pizzicato and pointillistic and gradually got more intense, melodic, and dense, a disintegration process in reverse. Very cool!

GRESHAM / Genshi (2010 - premiere) for Bb clarinet & viola
This was a beaufiful piece with much counterpoint, sometimes chasing, sometimes opposing. The clarinet and viola were in continual play with one another. I heard some intonation issues in the viola in several parts. I don't think the microtones were intended ;), but it did not take away from the beauty and delightfulness of the piece.

KNOX / The Framing Of This Circle (1999) for horn, violin & piano
WOW! This was the powerhouse of the evening. I don't have words to describe it. You just have to find a recording of it (if there is one; I hope there is!) and hear it for yourself. Swept me up, heart and soul. This was a fitting finale and brought the whole concert (which was already great to begin with) to a grand conclusion. This was absolutely the most mature piece on the program, which is not surprising given that Knox has decades on us in composing experience. : ) The instrumentation was a perfect union. The writing was in perfect relationship. Amazing piece!

Btw, here's the #neophonia Twitter feed with what I tweeted from the show (in between pieces, of course!)

Anyone else who was there, please feel free to add your comments.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

iPad Concert idea

I'm thinking of putting together an iPad concert where each participant composes and performs a work in an app of their choosing.

There are many apps to choose from.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Beatwave
  • JamPad
  • A Noise Machine HD
  • PatternMusic
  • PolyRhythms
  • Reactable
  • Tiction AV
  • Zen Sound

    Would anyone like to join me in composing iPad pieces and putting on a show?
  • Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    Curtis Bryant - Atlanta Faith Partners Concert - October 17

    October 17, 2010 – Sunday, 4:00 PM, FAITH PARTNERS FINAL CONCERT. A joint performance of all programs from Curtis Bryant's Atlanta Faith Partners Residency sponsored by the American Composers Forum will be held at First Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, Georgia. Choirs and instrumentalists from three Atlanta congregations, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Cathedral of Christ the King, and First Presbyterian Church will participate in the concert. Featured works include the complete "Redeemer Evening Prayer – A Lenten Vespers," including the "Prelude and Postlude: Fugue and Toccata on FA-SOL-LA RE" for organ solo, "I Lift My Eyes" (Psalm 121), "Canticle of Mary" and "Canticle of Simeon," and two Glorias. Two additional psalm settings for choir and organ, "How Long, O God" and "I Sing of Light," as well as the "Hymn of Wisdom" for choir with brass quintet, organ and percussion will be featured. The vocal works on the program include original lyrics by four different poets with ties to Atlanta: William Allen, Stephen Bluestone, Doug Cumming and Marcia King. The St. Cecilia Consort will also give a repeat performance of Bryant's "Fantasy on Divinum Mysterium" for orchestra. ADMISSION IS FREE!

    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    GSU Bands with world premiere by Tim Jansa - October 21, 2010

    Big new music week at GSU - neoPhonia on Tuesday and this concert on Thursday:

    During the inaugural concert of the 2010/2011 season, Robert J. Ambrose will lead internationally renowned euphonium soloist Adam Frey and the Georgia State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble in the world premiere performance of "Concierto Ibérico" for solo euphonium and concert band by local German-American composer Tim Jansa. This is a large-scale symphonic work of almost 28 minutes in length and built around 3 major festivals of Spain: The Festival of San Fermin in Pamplona, the Semana Santa, and the Fallas of Valencia.

    This work was named a finalist for the 2010 Harvey G. Phillips Award for Compositional Excellence.

    The performance will take place on Thursday, October 21, at 7:30 pm at the Rialto Center for the Arts. Admission is free.

    The Symphonic Wind Ensemble will also present works by McAllister, Stravinsky and Bach. The Wind Orchestra will perform works by Whitacre, Grainger, Persichetti and Goldman.

    Robert J. Ambrose & Chester Phillips, conductors
    Tim Ellison, graduate assistant conductor
    Adam Frey, euphonium

    More info can be found at and at

    Friday, October 08, 2010

    neoPhonia New Music Ensemble: October 19, 2010

    When: Tuesday, October 19, 2010 - 7:30 PM
    Where: Kopleff Recital Hall - Free Admission

    Join us as we begin our 16th Season with a concert entitled Red Clay Connections. The evening will feature music by Atlanta based composers Mark GRESHAM, Charles KNOX & Brent MILAM. Please also plan on meeting the composers and performers after the performance at a reception sponsored by the GSU Student Chapter of the Society of Composers, Inc.


    KNOX / Song & Double for oboe & piano
    GRESHAM / Vagabond Drumming, Book IV (premiere) for percussion duo
    MILAM / Between The Walls (premiere) for flute, Bb clarinet, cello & piano
    GRESHAM / Genshi (premiere) for Bb clarinet & viola
    KNOX / The Framing Of This Circle for horn, violin & piano