CEC 25th Anniversary Tour in Winnipeg
Desautels Faculty of Music (University of Manitoba) + Studio FLAT
Thursday, 24 November 2011
The Desautels Faculty of Music of the University of Manitoba and Studio FLAT hosted the seventh of ten events on the CEC’s cross-Canada 25th Anniversary Tour.
The morning opened up with a masterclass given by Kevin Austin in Studio FLAT, the department’s electroaoustic studio. The rest of the morning was filled with Kevin Austin’s seminar “Some Recent Trends and Practices in Electroacoustic Studies across Canada: The CEC at 25,” which was prepared especially for the Anniversary Tour. In the second part of the seminar, invited guests Örjan Sandred and Gordon Fitzell gave talks about their own work. Recent works by young and emerging composers were featured in the JTTP 2011 concert and live and fixed media works were presented by the interdisciplinary group XIE (eXperimental Improvisation Ensemble) and Studio FLAT in the second evening concert. CEC members and the general public alike were also invited to come out and meet people from the CEC and JTTP in an informal Meet & Greet between the concerts.
For the prairies leg of the CEC’s 25th Anniversary Tour, events were held in University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Music (seminar) and Studio Flat (masterclass), as well as in the Education (JTTP concert) and CAST buildings (meet and final concert).
09:00–10:00 Masterclass: Kevin Austin on EA Studio Composition
10:00–11:15 Seminar: Kevin Austin — Recent Practices in EA: The CEC@25
11:30–12:30 Seminar Guests: Gordon Fitzell, Örjan Sandred
18:00–19:15 Concert 1: JTTP 2011 — Prize-Winning Works
19:30–20:00 CEC Meet & Greet
20:00–21:00 Concert 2: XIE and Studio Flat
Biographies for individual participants, guests, associations and institutions can be found below.
Kevin Austin met with music students to look at a number of issues related to electroacoustic composition in the studio, notably working with and understanding sound and sound transformations and control of monitoring levels. Informed by such fields of study as acoustics, psychoacoustics and physiology, composers working in the electroacoustic studio will be able to attain a higher quality in sound output as well as a heightened level of precision in communicating their sonic, artistic and musical ideas. These principles are relevant not only to the acousmatic composer, but also to anyone working in related fields, such as broadcast journalism, video game music creation and more.
Kevin Austin — Some Recent Trends and Practices in Electroacoustic Studies across Canada: The CEC at 25
Everything old is new again. Kevin Austin’s presentation (at ten venues in nine cities) considered historical precedents and provided a useable map of the background and context of recent trends within the larger discipline of electroacoustics. Among the trending topics in EA these days are “live EA” and “visual music”; as discussed in the first part of the seminar, current and exploding technologies have allowed these areas of EA to develop very rapidly and proliferate widely.
With more than 40 years of history in EA, Austin looked back at the historical path and presented detailed views of some of the newer manifestations of EA. Some of the historical perspective was provided by his own experiences with live EA, which started in 1971 (MetaMusic, later CECG/GEC), and his use of visual elements as of about 1975.
In the second part of the seminar, invited local artists — active in the 1970s through today — contributed their own perspectives on regional activities to help articulate the unique flavour of EA practice in the various distinct areas that together form the diverse electroacoustic community in Canada, from Victoria to St. John’s.
At the University of Manitoba’s Desautels Faculty of Music, Austin presented a collaborative work for t-stick and two laptop orchestras, and Örjan Sandred and Gordon Fitzell talked about their own experiences and works using live electronics.
Kevin Austin — On the “Concerto for T-Stick and Two Laptop Orchestras” (2011), performed by CLOrk, the Cybernetic Orchestra and D. Andrew Stewart
In addition to the main part of his seminar, in Calgary and Winnipeg Kevin Austin gave a presentation about this piece, co-composed by Eldad Tsabary (director of the Concordia Laptop Orchestra, CLOrk), D. Andrew Stewart (t-stick) and David Ogborn (founder of McMaster University’s Cybernetic Orchestra). Created primarily as a collaboration of Stewart, the Cybernetic Orchestra and CLOrk, the “score” for the piece was largely structural, a comprovisation which Eldad Tsabary directed in the live performance using Sound Painting gestures. The piece makes use of and showcases the broad range of interests and approaches to sonic creation that characterize this expanded orchestra: live coding, electroacoustic transformations, video control interfaces and instrumental performance and more.
Gordon Fitzell — Flexible Approaches to Live Electronics
Gordon Fitzell has experimented with a variety of approaches to the use of live electronics, in his own compositions as well as in projects mounted with the XIE (eXperimental Improv Ensemble), based at the University of Manitoba’s Desautels Faculty of Music. The ways in which the live electronics are used, as well as the presence or absence of improvised elements, reflect the unique situation of each piece, whether it is a work for chamber ensemble and electronics, a sound installation using helium balloons or a “smart table” into which users can “plug” their own individual sounds.
Örjan Sandred — Score Following and Live Electronics
The problem of synchronization is an ongoing issue in works for instrument and live electronics. In earlier works, Örjan Sandred explored an “event-driven approach” to score following and detection used to inform the computer about the live instrumental part; this naturally impacted how the pieces would be structured at the compositional phase. More recently, he has been using different approaches that allow for an advanced degree of interaction between the performer and computer, but being careful to “Never let the computer do something the human is better at” (Marco Stroppa).
The CEC’s annual Jeu de temps / Times Play (JTTP) project is comprised of: a competition for young and emerging sound artists from (or living in) Canada, with cash and prizes awarded to the top five placing composers, as selected by an international jury; a focus issue of eContact! featuring all submissions to the project; a CD compilation (Cache) of the top works; and international radio and concert play of the top works.
Each stop on the tour featured a concert of the winning works from the 12th edition of Jeu de temps / Times Play. Those curious to know what the next generation of electroacoustic composers in Canada “sounds like” came out and joined us for performances of works by David Arango-Valencia, Guillaume Barrette, Guillaume Campion, Maxime Corbeil-Perron, Jullian Hoff and Marc-André Perron.
For each of the JTTP concerts at least one JTTP 2011 winning composer was present as an invited guest, and these guests diffused their own works as well as the works of their colleagues. David Arango-Valencia was with us on the mid-tour, mid-Canada stop in Winnipeg.
Programme (in alphabetical order):
- David Arango-Valencia — Canción de Otraparte / « Chanson d’ailleurs » (2011 / 12:04)
- Guillaume Barrette — Parasite (2011 / 10:00)
- Guillaume Campion — Neige cendre (2011 / 11:22)
- Maxime Corbeil-Perron — Fragments (2011 / 10:00)
- Jullian Hoff — Scratch (2011 / 12:06)
- Marc-André Perron — Effervescence / Somnolence (2010 / 10:24)
Visit the JTTP 2011 page in this issue of eContact! for video montages of performances of each of the works, as well as biographies of the composers.
The tour also provided members of the CEC Board, CEC administrators and JTTP 2011 guests with some time to meet and chat with the local communities of composers, performers and friends of electroacoustic practices. It was a great opportunity to not only reconnect with old acquaintances, but also to meet and hang out with new acquaintances! CEC Admin and Board members and JTTP guests had the chance to experience first hand the incredible diversity of electroacoustic practice across the country, from Victoria to St. John’s.
Two facets of the Music Department were showcased together in this collaborative concert. The concert opened up with works composed in recent years in Studio FLAT, the department’s production studio for new music involving computer technologies, directed by Örjan Sandred.
Closing off the evening was a performance / installation by the interdisciplinary group XIE (eXperimental Improv Ensemble, dir. Gordon Fitzell), known for its breadth of interests and projects, ranging from improv to media art to live soundtrack performance.