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'm thrilled to be part of a new project that centers on the problem of building a Philadelphia-based new music ensemble. After a group of us had a number of minimally productive brainstorming sessions, we decided that the best way forward was to JFDI and start planning some concerts. The result is "Begin Anywhere: A Concert Series About Starting New Things," which combines great music and casual conversations with people who have started things of their own. The first event was on April 11; three more are slated for May 3, May 15, and June 5.
I will be presenting a paper on "Public Musicology and the Problem of New Music" at the conference "The Past, Present, and Future of Public Musicology," which will take place from January 30 to February 1, 2015, at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey. My paper will address the role of musicology for those involved in presenting and curating the diverse and often challenging world of contemporary (post-) classical music.
I'm excited to announce I'll be organizing a concert called "The Open Work" as part of <fidget>'s 2014 Fall Experimental Music Festival, taking place from November 7-9. The concert, scheduled for Saturday, November 8, will feature works involving various forms of indeterminacy, structural branching, and unconventional notation, from the 1950s until the present.
I'm thrilled to announce that I'll be teaching two additional courses this year, on top of my regular duties at the Curtis Institute. In the fall, I'll be teaching an upper-level course for music majors at the University of Pennsylvania called "Experimental Music in Theory and Practice," while in the spring I'll have an elective at Curtis on the history of American popular music.
Deirdre Loughridge and I just spoke about our Museum of Imaginary Musical Instruments at "Bone Flute to Auto-Tune," a conference on music and technology organized by Deirdre at the University of California, Berkeley.
We plan on developing our thoughts further and eventually publishing them in the not-too-distant future. We're also hoping to add some new entries to the museum this summer.
Meanwhile, MIMI has been getting some lovely press on the web. Check it out!
Bowerbird presented a great event this past Friday, focusing on the early electronic works for Moog synthesizer by Philadelphia composer Andrew Rudin.
The concert featured a full-length presentation of Rudin's classic 1968 electronic work Tragoedia with live visuals provided by Peter Price, as well as two earlier electronic pieces, Il Giouco and Paideia, with film by the composer. Afterword Rudin spoke about the Philadelphia musical scene in the 1960s, including his interactions with composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen and Maryanne Amacher.
Keep an ear out for a DVD re-release of Rudin's early electronic music in the near future. In the meantime, for more information and to hear an excerpt from Tragoedia, check out this post on Acousmata.
On Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013 I took part in a panel discussion of "critical organology" at the annual meeting of the American Musicological Society in Pittsburgh. The panel brought together a group of scholars working in different disciplinary and historical traditions whose research touches on the relationship between technology and aesthetics and the role of instruments in musical experience.
The panel was moderated by Emily Dolan and included Joseph Auner, Eliot Bates, J. Q. Davies, Jonathan De Souza, Bonnie Gordon, Ellen Lockheart, Deirdre Loughridge, and Roger Mosely.
Renowned historian of experimental music and sound art Douglas Kahn visited Philadelphia last weekend and took part in an event celebrating his new book Earth Sound Earth Signal at <fidget> in Kensington.
Doug has been a long-distance friend and mentor for many years now, and it was a pleasure to help organize this event and give a short talk introducing him and his work.
There was also a panel discussion with myself, Kahn, <fidget> co-director Peter Price, and University of Pennsylvania historian of science John Tresch. Adam Vidiksis (percussion and laptop) and Joo Won Park (no-input mixer) provided musical entertainment.
More information: http://www.thefidget.org/events/book-launch/#prettyPhoto
In collaboration with Deirdre Loughridge, I'm pleased to announce the opening of the Museum of Imaginary Musical Instruments. Here's a bit from our introduction:
Since the taxonomical work of Erich Moritz von Hornbostel and Curt Sachs in the early twentieth century, organologists have classified musical instruments into four major categories, each distinguished by its primary sound-producing mechanism: idiophones (vibrating body), membranophones (vibrating membrane), chordophones (vibrating strings) and aerophones (vibrating air columns). Beyond these basic divisions, scholars have proposed such logically consistent additions as electrophones (for electronic instruments) and corpophones (for the human body as a source of sound). We propose a seventh category: fictophones, for imaginary musical instruments. Existing as diagrams, drawings or written descriptions, these devices never produce a sound. Yet they are no less a part of musical culture for that. Indeed, fictophones represent an essential if hitherto unrecognized domain of musical thought and activity, and it is in order to catalog these conceptual artifacts that we have established the first institution of its kind: the Museum of Imaginary Musical Instruments.