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At the heart of eContact! 11.4 are the proceedings from the most recent Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium, TES 2009. The 2009 symposium was the most successful run of the annual event yet, with more music, more presentations and a solid turnout of EA artists, fans and teachers!

Dovetailing closely with New Adventures in Sound Art’s Sound Travels concert weekend, all TES events took place at the new Wychwood Barns Artscape building, just south of St. Clair Avenue West in midtown Toronto. The symposium was immediately preceded by a “Sound Travels Intensive” — three solid days of EA workshops — so by the final Sound Travels event on Sunday, August 9, the St. Clair West neighbourhood had been host to a continuous cavalcade of international EA presences for a full week — including Belgian composer (and TES keynote speaker) Annette Vande Gorne, as well as solid “delegations” from Montréal, Illinois and New York state.

A widening of the fields represented was apparent in this third iteration of the symposium — thanks in large measure to the volunteer efforts of an expanded international review committee both in encouraging submissions to the symposium and then in deciding what would receive valuable “stage time” at the end of August in Toronto. I think I speak (or write) for all the organizers when I say that we hope these “new” themes will expand and develop in the context of future Toronto Electroacoustic Symposia. Watch out for information about TES 2010 soon…

A growing tendency towards dialogue between electroacoustic means (narrowly conceived) and other media, traditions and communities is very audible in the symposium’s proceedings. The central theme of Annette Vande Gorne’s keynote is a turn from an oppositional stance vis à vis the European classical, concert tradition towards one wherein that tradition is engaged through the prism of spectro-morphological thinking. Freida Abtan’s contribution to the “Sound and Image” session is an extended discussion of videomusic composition paired with an analysis of her piece, the hands of the dancer. Salman Bakht’s theorizing of noise and nonsense draws on concepts from media/communication studies and literature, with the latter also a point of reference for Stephen Kilpatrick’s discussion of a number of iconic electroacoustic compositions. The first question asked by Adam Neal in his discussion of different compositional possibilities for the laptop orchestra turns on the participation of people who are not trained musicians in such ensembles — i.e. on a question of engagement with broader communities — while Arne Eigenfeldt’s presentation of his Kinetic Engine v.2 touches on questions of artificial intelligence (which provoked some particularly wide-ranging discussions the symposium itself). Viv Corringham’s Shadow-walks engage very specifically with particular sites and individuals, and her TES 2009 contribution opens the lid on the Toronto version of this project (produced for the adjacent Sound Travels festival).

From the session on Sound and Space (a perennial EA preoccupation, no doubt), we publish Ben Thipgen’s detailed examination of “Spatialization Without Panning” and an update on Carey Dodge’s experiments with live Ambisonics. The proceedings finish with John Gibson’s account of the “spectral delay” technique, with examples drawn from his own compositions — but don’t overlook Kevin Austin’s photos from this year’s edition of TES!

The Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium is a co-production of both the CEC and New Adventures in Sound Art, and thanks are due to a very large number of people for helping make it happen: to Darren Copeland, Nadene Thériault-Copeland, Hector Centeno and others at New Adventures in Sound Art; to Kevin Austin, jef chippewa, Yves Gigon and Eldad Tsabary at the CEC — and to the board of the CEC for its continued support of the symposium; to all the many members of the international review committee — and twice a thank you to those of the review committee who were able to come to Toronto for the event; to all those who volunteered to chair sessions; to Emilie LeBel and Fiona Ryan for joining and supporting the organizational committee; and last but not least to all the composers and presenters who contributed their sounds, thoughts and time to this important community initiative. See you all next year…

… this issue of eContact! does not end with the proceedings of the Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium however! A number of open submission items will no doubt also attract your interest — and indeed connect with and extend themes reflected in the TES proceedings: to wit, Bijan Zelli’s article on “Space and Computer Music,” Karen Patton’s survey results on “Current Trends in Electronic/Computer Music,” my own report on recent experiences with an open, participatory laptop orchestra, a series of highly informative accounts of electronic music activities in Melbourne, Iran and Israel, and finally an historical reprint of an article on a lost film featuring electronic music by Barry Schrader (“Death of the Red Planet”).

Enjoy — and after you have enjoyed, I invite you to support eContact! by becoming a member of the CEC!

David Ogborn, Chair of TES and President of the CEC
29 December 2009

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