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 1996 Conference
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1996 Conference, Concert 3

Saturday, March 16, 1996, 10:00 a.m, Fine Arts Recital Hall, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Uncertain Principle of Optics (1996) Hal Rammel
Hal Rammel, percussion
Steve Nelson-Raney, saxophones
Things Like That Happen for cello and tape (1994) Gabriela Ortiz
David Cowley, cello
Child of Tree (1975) John Cage
David Revill, plant materials percussion
Rondo (1978) Christopher Frye
Joanne Hassler, violin
Milton Peckarsky, piano
Fo(u)r Percussionist(s) (1992) Jon Welstead
Jon Welstead, electronic percussion
Jason Rodon, percussion and electronic percussion

Hal Rammel is an experimental multi-instrumentalist, visual artist and historian. He has been designing, building and writing about musical instruments since the mid 1970s. He is frequent contributor to the journal Experimental Music Instruments and teaches musical instrument invention and construction at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The collections of his electroacoustic and acoustic music have been released on CD by Penumbra Music.

Uncertain Principle of Optics surveys the territory of improvisations and conversations with saxophonist Steve Nelson-Raney over the course of a friendship and collaboration. Charged with mutual interest in the synesthesia of sound (music) and seeing (photography), this performance celebrates the intersection of affinities within the dense fabric of musical improvisation.

Gabriela Ortiz was born in Mexico City in 1964. She studied composition with Mario Lavista at the National Conservatory of Music and with Frederico Ibarra at the National University of Mexico. With a British Council Fellowship she continued to study in London with Robert Saxton. She is completing Ph.D. studies in electroacoustic music at the City University of London. She won many awards and scholarships. Her music was represented on international festivals such as Bourges, ISCM World Music Days in 1991, 1993 and 1994. A compact disc of her music has been recorded by Cenedim(Mexico). Her music encompasses works for percussion and orchestra, steel drum and tape, and other chamber combinations.

"Things like that happen" for cello and tape is described by the composer as follows: "In the summer of 1992 I attended an electroacoustic composition course directed by Jonathan Harvey at the Dartington International Summer School, where I had to write a piece for cello and tape in collaboration with students from the Frances Maria Uitti cello course. As it is often the case, in order to get sound material for the tape part we recorded Frances Maria Uitti playing different examples of new cello techniques. When the time came to work on these cello samples, I realized that Frances' voice was present in the recordings all the time, overlapping each musical example. It was then I came upon the solution of integrating her voice into the piece, by choosing specific phrases as part of the compositional material.A few months latter the opportunity arose to write a new piece using the same sound material plus some other cello sounds that I recorded from my friend Ina Velasco. "Things like that happen" is the result of my compositional experience in Dartington. The expressive potential of the cello is interacting with the tape part in many different and unexpected ways. The tape emerges from the same musical material as the cello and acts as an extension of the it. This piece, which takes its name from one of the original cello samples, is dedicated to Judith Mitchell whose advice regarding new cello techniques proved to be invaluable during the composition process and remains an appropriate souvenir of my experiences at Dartington. The piece was realized in the City University Electroacoustic Music Studio.

John Cage's Child of Tree is a solo using amplified plant materials as sound sources. It is also one in a series of the composer's ecologically conscious pieces. To distance the percussionist from his own (too) predictable musical memory and taste, the performer-improviser is presented a problem to solve as he plays the piece. The eight-minute duration of the work is divided in sections according to an I-Ching operation and the instruments are partitioned by the same principle.

Christopher Frye, a theory and composition professor at UW-La Crosse, received degrees in composition from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio and The College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati where his teachers included Scott Huston and Jonathan Kramer. His music has been performed throughout the country by ensembles such as the Milwaukee Symphony, The Cincinnati Choral Society, The Music Fix of Madison and at national and regional festivals sponsored by organizations like the Society of Composers, Inc., The Minnesota Composers Forum, Cincinnati Composer's Guild, The Wisconsin Alliance for Composers, The Cleveland Composer's Guild, and the Memphis State University New Music Festival. Frye writes the following.

"Rondo for violin and piano is in a standard five-part Rondo form. I wrote it with the intentions of using it as a final movement for a violin sonata that I wrote in 1978. As it turned out, the Rondo is considerably longer and more involved than the rest of the sonata and stands as a complete piece in itself. The introduction , which is where the principle thematic material is stated, is followed by the refrain section incorporating several contrasting ideas. The first episode involves somewhat rhapsodic violin writing with double stops, while the second episode involves staccato and col legno violin with much rhythmic activity and syncopation."

Jon Welstead is Director of The Electro-Acoustic Music Center at UWM. His works include compositions for traditional instruments as well as electronic and computer music. He composed for dance, film and for over 25 theatrical presentations that played nationally and internationally. Musical award include the CINE Golden Eagle, INTERCOM Film Festivals Awards of Excellence, Bourges Electronic Music Festival and others. His music was heard on New Music L.A. Festival, New Music America '90 and '92 and a number of SEAMUS festivals. He is Vice President for Programs of the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States.

Fo(u)r Percussionist(s) was created for multiple performance situations. It can be performed on "real" percussion instruments only, or by a combination of "real" and "virtual" instruments interfaced by a computer. The current version employs the latter controlled by the Kat family of percussion controllers. The advantage of using technology translates into expanded musical possibilities not available otherwise to the player: a single strike producing entire chains of chords and a wealth orchestral timbres. Since the number of control pads on the Drum-Kat is ten, the piece is based on this number determining the musical outcome in terms of pitch, time and event structure.

1996 Conference
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