Sunday, November 28, 2010

Philippe Leroux lecture at Georgia Tech

In addition to coming to Tuesday night's free Sonic Generator concert at Woodruff Arts Center, I encourage you all to come see Philippe Leroux's lecture at Georgia Tech tomorrow (Monday), where he'll discuss his piece Voi(Rex) that is on Tuesday evening's program.

GA Tech's "C3: Creativity, Cognition and Computation" series and the Center for Music Technology Seminar Series present:

Philippe Leroux, University of Montreal and IRCAM

Voi(Rex) the model of the model

Monday, November 29, 2010
TSRB Auditorium: directions and parking info at
reception at 1:30 pm
lecture at 2:00 pm

See you tomorrow (and Tuesday)!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Student Composer Concert

You are cordially invited to come by and enjoy a FREE concert given by the Georgia State University Student Chapter of the Society of Composers, Inc. (SCI)

Date: Friday, November 19 
Time: 12 PM 
Location: Kopleff Recital Hall


Taylor HELMS / Modal Dances for woodwind quintet - [premiere]

John PAPASPYROU / Eight Little Sketches for Viola - [premiere]

Chris OWENBY / Wondrous Love for soprano & piano trio 

John PAPASPYROU / Epitaphios for tenor sax. & cello - [premiere]

Taylor J. GLANTON / Latin Bridge Suite for piano trio - [premiere]

For directions and more information, please visit We hope to see some of you there!

Sonic Generator Concert with Philippe Leroux

Georgia Tech’s chamber music ensemble-in-residence, Sonic Generator, will feature the music of guest composer Philippe Leroux in a free performance in partnership with the Woodruff Arts Center and France-Atlanta 2010. The concert also features guest soprano Donatienne Michel-Dansac and compositions by Kaija Saariaho and Pierre Jodlowski.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 at 8 p.m.
Rich Theatre, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree Street
free admission, reception to follow

Full details at:

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Eddie Horst's Passing

I am sorry to share the news that Eddie Horst died on Thursday. He took his own life after struggling with clinical depression. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Many of you remember Eddie from the monthly composer meetups he hosted at Crawford Communications a few years back. Others of you probably know him in others ways too. He had far reaching connections in the music industry and touched many people's lives. He was very supportive of the Atlanta Composers mission to network local composers.

If there is a public memorial, I (or one the blog authors) will post details when they become available.

If you would like to share your positive remembrances of Eddie, please do so in the comments.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Albert Einstein and Rabindranath Tagore

After a few words about order and causality, a meeting of minds on music.

Below is an excerpt from a conversation between poet Rabindranath Tagore and physicist Albert Einstein, which took place in a meeting arranged by a mutual friend ("Dr. Mendel") on August 19, 1930. Fascinating that a considerable portion of their exchange is about music. It is taken from "Three conversations: Tagore Talks with Einstein, with Rolland, and Wells" (Asia Magazine, March 1931). This was a second meeting and conversation between Einstein and Tagore. The photo by Martin Vos was taken during their first encounter on July 14 of the same year. [Image source: Wikimedia Commons]

TAGORE: I was discussing with Dr. Mendel today the new mathematical discoveries which tell us that in the realm of infinitesimal atoms chance has its play; the drama of existence is not absolutely predestined in character.

EINSTEIN: The facts that make science tend toward this view do not say good-bye to causality.

TAGORE: Maybe not, yet it appears that the idea of causality is not in the elements, but that some other force builds up with them an organized universe.

One tries to understand in the higher plane how the order is. The order is there, where the big elements combine and guide existence, but in the minute elements this order is not perceptible.

TAGORE: Thus duality is in the depths of existence, the contradiction of free impulse and the directive will which works upon it and evolves an orderly scheme of things.

EINSTEIN: Modern physics would not say they are contradictory. Clouds look as one from a distance, but if you see them nearby, they show themselves as disorderly drops of water.

TAGORE: I find a parallel in human psychology. Our passions and desires are unruly, but our character subdues these elements into a harmonious whole. Does something similar to this happen in the physical world? Are the elements rebellious, dynamic with individual impulse? And is there a principle in the physical world which dominates them and puts them into an orderly organization?

EINSTEIN: Even the elements are not without statistical order; elements of radium will always maintain their specific order, now and ever onward, just as they have done all along. There is, then, a statistical order in the elements.

TAGORE: Otherwise, the drama of existence would be too desultory. It is the constant harmony of chance and determination which makes it eternally new and living.

EINSTEIN: I believe that whatever we do or live for has its causality; it is good, however, that we cannot see through to it.

TAGORE: There is in human affairs an element of elasticity also, some freedom within a small range which is for the expression of our personality. It is like the musical system in India, which is not so rigidly fixed as western music. Our composers give a certain definite outline, a system of melody and rhythmic arrangement, and within a certain limit the player can improvise upon it. He must be one with the law of that particular melody, and then he can give spontaneous expression to his musical feeling within the prescribed regulation. We praise the composer for his genius in creating a foundation along with a superstructure of melodies, but we expect from the player his own skill in the creation of variations of melodic flourish and ornamentation. In creation we follow the central law of existence, but if we do not cut ourselves adrift from it, we can have sufficient freedom within the limits of our personality for the fullest self-expression.

EINSTEIN: That is possible only when there is a strong artistic tradition in music to guide the people's mind. In Europe, music has come too far away from popular art and popular feeling and has become something like a secret art with conventions and traditions of its own.

TAGORE: You have to be absolutely obedient to this too complicated music. In India, the measure of a singer's freedom is in his own creative personality. He can sing the composer's song as his own, if he has the power creatively to assert himself in his interpretation of the general law of the melody which he is given to interpret.

EINSTEIN: It requires a very high standard of art to realize fully the great idea in the original music, so that one can make variations upon it. In our country, the variations are often prescribed.

TAGORE: If in our conduct we can follow the law of goodness, we can have real liberty of self-expression. The principle of conduct is there, but the character which makes it true and individual is our own creation. In our music there is a duality of freedom and prescribed order.

EINSTEIN: Are the words of a song also free? I mean to say, is the singer at liberty to add his own words to the song which he is singing?

TAGORE: Yes. In Bengal we have a kind of song-kirtan, we call it-which gives freedom to the singer to introduce parenthetical comments, phrases not in the original song. This occasions great enthusiasm, since the audience is constantly thrilled by some beautiful, spontaneous sentiment added by the singer.

EINSTEIN: Is the metrical form quite severe?

TAGORE: Yes, quite. You cannot exceed the limits of versification; the singer in all his variations must keep the rhythm and the time, which is fixed. In European music you have a comparative liberty with time, but not with melody.

EINSTEIN: Can the Indian music be sung without words? Can one understand a song without words?

TAGORE: Yes, we have songs with unmeaning words, sounds which just help to act as carriers of the notes. In North India, music is an independent art, not the interpretation of words and thoughts, as in Bengal. The music is very intricate and subtle and is a complete world of melody by itself.

EINSTEIN: Is it not polyphonic?

TAGORE: Instruments are used, not for harmony, but for keeping time and adding to the volume and depth. Has melody suffered in your music by the imposition of harmony?

EINSTEIN: Sometimes it does suffer very much. Sometimes the harmony swallows up the melody altogether.

TAGORE: Melody and harmony are like lines and colors in pictures. A simple linear picture may be completely beautiful; the introduction of color may make it vague and insignificant. Yet color may, by combination with lines, create great pictures, so long as it does not smother and destroy their value.

EINSTEIN: It is a beautiful comparison; line is also much older than color. It seems that your melody is much richer in structure than ours. Japanese music also seems to be so.

TAGORE: It is difficult to analyze the effect of eastern and western music on our minds. I am deeply moved by the western music; I feel that it is great, that it is vast in its structure and grand in its composition. Our own music touches me more deeply by its fundamental lyrical appeal. European music is epic in character; it has a broad background and is Gothic in its structure.

EINSTEIN: This is a question we Europeans cannot properly answer, we are so used to our own music. We want to know whether our own music is a conventional or a fundamental human feeling, whether to feel consonance and dissonance is natural, or a convention which we accept.

Somehow the piano confounds me. The violin pleases me much more.

EINSTEIN: It would be interesting to study the effects of European music on an Indian who had never heard it when he was young.

Once I asked an English musician to analyze for me some classical music, and explain to me what elements make for the beauty of the piece.

The difficulty is that the really good music, whether of the East or of the West, cannot be analyzed.

TAGORE: Yes, and what deeply affects the hearer is beyond himself.

EINSTEIN: The same uncertainty will always be there about everything fundamental in our experience, in our reaction to art, whether in Europe or in Asia. Even the red flower I see before me on your table may not be the same to you and me.

And yet there is always going on the process of reconciliation between them, the individual taste conforming to the universal standard.

# # #

Footnote for composers: 1930 was the year in which Nicholas Slonimsky premiered Charles Ives's "Three Places in New England," a year which also saw the premieres of such disparate works as Howard Hanson's "Symphony No. 2," Anton Webern's "Quartet, Op. 22," and Kurt Weill's "The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny." It was also the year when the Marx Brothers' film "Animal Crackers" was released. --mg

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Will Eyedrum Go Out with a Bang?

Financially troubled arts-alternative Eyedrum will close its current location, as its lease expires Dec. 31 and will not be renewed. Read the article by Chad Radford in this week's Creative Loafing (online now, on the street soon):

Monday, November 08, 2010

24 Hour Opera Project

We had a blast this weekend making operas in 24 hours with the Atlanta Opera! Here's a link of the beginning of the competition in case any of you may be curious about applying next time:

If you have a facebook account you can view all three operas here:

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

November 7th: Bent Frequency and Ballet Preljocaj

On Sunday, November 7th at 4:00pm in the lobby of the Rialto, the Atlanta-based new music group Bent Frequency will be collaborating with the innovative Ballet Preljocaj and the Rialto for this event by sharing their expertise on the music of John Cage for this performance. Founding member and percussionist Stuart Gerber will be giving a brief introduction to Cage and his work at the beginning of the program. For a more in-depth look at Cage’s music, Bent Frequency will present a few short pieces from various points in Cage’s career at the reception in the Rialto lobby before the Ballet Preljocaj performance of Empty Moves. We will explore Cage’s sound world through works for saxophone, trumpet, percussion, amplified cacti, and conch shells!

The program includes:

Inlets (1977) for 12 conch shells
Variations I (1958) (a duo version for saxophone and trumpet)
Composed Improvisation for Snare Drum (1975)
Water Walk (1959)

It promises to be an adventurous evening!

Ballet Preljocaj’s performance begins at 5pm in the Rialto Center for the Arts. Information about tickets can be found here.

Bent Frequency presents the New York-based Amp New Music Ensemble - TWICE!

Hi all -

You have TWO chances to catch some innovative saxophone and electronic music this weekend:

Friday, November 5 · 7:30pm - 9:30pm
Kopleff Recital Hall Georgia State University

Amp New Music will be presenting “Amplified: Saxophone and Electronics” with Saxophonist Michael Ibrahim. This program will include music by Grisey, Chion, Mirza, and Stockhausen.

Saturday, November 6th, 8PM
Eyedrum (290 MLK Dr. SE)

We will be miking the big drum out front! It will be played before and after the main program. Double-header of new/experimental classical music by Atlanta locals Bent Frequency hosting New York-based Amp.

Bent Frequency

Bent Frequency brings the avant-garde music tradition to life in Atlanta through adventurous programming, the promotion of New Music, and a creative synthesis of music and media. Our vision is to redefine the traditional music experience - ushering it from the strict formality of the concert hall into the fresh air of contemporary artistic expression and experimentation.


Amp is a new music group based in New York City that grapples with experimental, electroacoustic, gestural, or situational compositional trends in the context (for the perspective) of a broader musical modernism. Without fixed ensemble, we draw from the rich new music scene in New York to organically develop a few concerts each year, each usually featuring a particular composer or nexus of compositions. More info at

Please try to make it out to one or both! And don't miss some brand new opera this weekend as well (see below).

Here is Amp at the NYC venue The Tank last year:

Monday, November 01, 2010

Concert for 24 Hour Opera Project by Atlanta Opera

The concert for Atlanta Opera's 24 Hour Concert will be this Sunday (11/7) at 7:30pm at Georgia State University's Kopleff Recital Hall. The concert is free and open to the public.

Composers will begin work on Saturday (11/6) at 5pm, working with the librettist, stage director, singers, and pianists. The teams are formed by the Atlanta Opera at 5pm on Saturday. The Atlanta Opera will also reveal some other items to be included in the new operas.

Should be a fun ride!