My book Instruments for New Music has won the 2017 Lewis Lockwood Award from the American Musicological Society, which recognizes "a musicological book of exceptional merit published during the previous year in any language and in any country by a scholar in the early stages of his or her career." Thanks to the AMS for this honor and (again) to all the people who helped make this book possible.
One of my favorite composers of all time, Roland Kayn (1933-2011) has a lovely new website, and my essay about his music is prominently featured in the bibliography section. Go check it out now!
This post is long overdue, but better late than never! For the last 18 months or so, I've been working closely with Dustin Hurt, Liz Huston, and a great group of Philly musicians to launch a new ensemble dedicated to presenting experimental and "contemporary classical" music in Philadelphia.
The Arcana New Music Ensemble officially launched in June 2016 with concerts of Moondog and Morton Feldman. We are just wrapping up our first full season, which featured the music of Galina Ustvolskaya, John Cage, Julius Eastman, Steve Reich, Louis Andriessen, George Lewis, and many more, plus collaborations with local groups Prometheus Chamber Orchestra and Variant Six.
Part of the concept behind Arcana is that the musicians themselves are involved in the planning and programming of concerts, in particular through a series called "Begin Anywhere," which is organized entirely by musicians.
For more background, check out this article from last year, which gives a good introduction and includes video clips from the Moondog concert.
Thanks to everyone who came out for my four-part lecture/workshop series "Humanophone" at thefidget space in Philadelphia. Here's a brief description of the event:
HUMANOPHONE: Toward an Algorithmic Music for Humans
“I like two things, clarity and complexity, which are almost mutually exclusive.” – Christian Wolff
How can we formulate clear, elegantly stated rules that both constrain performance and allow for surprises and meaningful contingencies of form? How can we create musical frameworks that are robust and flexible with regard to the number of performers, instruments, levels of skill, and venue? How can principles such as iteration and feedback enable simple musical interactions to generate complex results?
In this series of events, we will explore the possibility of algorithmic, emergent, rule-based, and generative forms of music performable by human beings. The goal is to work toward an idiom in which the sophistication of certain post-1950 practices is fused with the social and collaborative aspects of vernacular music-making. Although we will consider such relevant historical and theoretical phenomena as cybernetics, cellular automata, change-ringing, and the American experimental music tradition, the focus will be on making music, with an eye to laying the foundation for an enduring performance collective.
Each session will consist of a mix of discussion and workshop performances of model compositions and new works contributed by group members. Participants are encouraged (but not required) to take part in both components.
I had a great time at AHEM at the Science Museum in London, where I presented my paper on organic and mechanical metaphors for musical instruments. Great group of people and a fun exchange of ideas!
This Monday at Rutgers University I'll be presenting a short paper on the Triadex Muse, an algorithmic melody generator invented in the early 1970s by Marvin Minsky and Edward Fredkin. It's part of a one-day symposium called Expressive Engines: Musical Technologies from Automata to Robots.
I'm thrilled to announce an event celebrating the release of my book Instruments for New Music this Friday at the wonderful <fidget> space in Philadelphia. The event will feature a brief set of readings from the book, live music for electronics and Disklavier by Jesse Kudler and Roger Martinez, and a cash bar and conversation to close out the evening. There will also be a raffle to win a free copy of my book!
Free admission. Please consider a donation to support the hosts.
For more info: http://www.thefidget.org/events/thomas-pattesons-book-launch-party/
UPDATE: Here are a few photos from the event, which was a huge success!
My book Instruments for New Music: Sound, Technology, and Modernism is now scheduled to appear in November! Published by the University of California Press, it will be available as both a hard copy and a free, open-access e-book.
I'll be giving a presentation entitled "The Trautonium: Electro-Music and Steel Romanticism" at the 2015 annual meeting of the American Musicological Society this November in Louisville. Centering on the early electronic instrument called the Trautonium and its role in debates about technology and music in Germany during the 1930s, the talk will be based on a chapter in my forthcoming book Instruments for New Music.