May 21, 2022 (12:30 EDT)
“Friday, May 18 at a distance”
Workshop given by Stephen Lilly and Michael Boyd
In the vein of John Cage’s Lecture on Nothing, Friday, May 18 at a distance takes the Zoom-based workshop presentation and turns it into an interactive art work. Friday, May 18 at a distance is a real-time, albeit virtual, composition comprised of electro-acoustic sound, simultaneous performances, visual art, and audience participation. It is an absurdist take on video conferencing and mediated communication in general. The text based score directs participants in abstracted interactions and reactions, creating a shifting videographic landscape with performers veering from the self-indulgent monologues to heated disagreements. (45 min)
Stephen Lilly is a DC-based composer, performer, audio engineer, and amateur poet. His music ranges from “dark,” and “demanding,” (The Retriever) to “‘performance art’…the sort of thing you are glad to have experienced without wanting to revisit,”(The Washington Post). He can be microtonally abstract or theatrically satiric; he composes chamber music for friends and friends of friends as well as fixed media works for nobody in particular. Publications: Computer Music Journal, ink&coda, Organised Sound, Performance Research, and Perspectives of New Music. Scores: BabelScores. Recordings: SEAMUS Miniatures, SCI CD Series, and C7 Music.
Michael Boyd is a composer, scholar, and experimental improvisor. Currently Associate Professor of Music at Chatham University, he holds graduate degrees from the University of Maryland (DMA, composition) and SUNY Stony Brook (MA, music theory). Boyd’s music embraces experimental practices such as installation, multimedia, and performance art, and has been performed in a variety of venues throughout the United States and abroad. Boyd has published articles in Perspectives of New Music, Tempo, and Notes, as well as review essays in Computer Music Journal, Popular Music & Society, and American Music.
“Aaron Cassidy’s Second String Quartet: Resilient Structures, Indeterminate Localities, and Performance Practice”
Presentation given by Ralph Lewis
When JACK Quartet premiered Aaron Cassidy’s Second String Quartet in 2010, the work was hailed as a significant next step in his ongoing experimentation with choreographic compositional practices. While this work and others by Cassidy have had an impact on younger composers in the last fifteen years, his music is often mistakenly read using outdated or static definitions of Experimentalism and New Complexity. In applying new scholarship, including Jennie Gottschalk’s “Experimental Music Since 1970,” as well as my field research and interviews with Cassidy and JACK Quartet members, Cassidy’s compositional and performance practices can be more accurately communicated. This more expansive and contemporary understanding of experimental practices frames a discussion and analysis of the creation and interplay of Second String Quartet’s provocative, resilient structures and the indeterminate localities placed within them. Similarly, they inform the preparation and performance practices by longtime Cassidy collaborators that will be shared throughout the presentation. Through this, the consistent methodologies and specific inquiries Cassidy employs in Second String Quartet ideally give audience members clearer paths towards listening to, performing, or studying his work whether in this work or what he envisions next. (30 min)
Ralph Lewis is a composer whose works seek meeting points between sonorous music and arresting noise, alternative tunings and timbre, and the roles of performer and audience. He recently completed his doctorate in music composition at UIUC. His dissertation research, “Aaron Cassidy’s Second String Quartet: Resilient Structures, Indeterminate Localities, and Performance Practice,” has been presented at several conferences and had its on-site research in the United Kingdom funded by one of ten nationally-awarded Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Research Grants. Previous and recent honors he has received include serving as Composer-in-Residence for Oberlin Arts and Sciences Orchestra 2020–2021, Artist Residencies at Wave Farm and Westben, and Best Student Paper from College Music Society Northwest for his research about the music of Rebecca Saunders. His music has been performed at conferences and festivals including SEAMUS, College Music Society, Boston Microtonal Society, the International Conference on Technologies for Music Notation and Representation (TENOR), Thirsty Ears Festival, SCI National Conference, Electronic Music Midwest, and the Music for People and Thingamajigs Festival. He also leads All Score Urbana, a community engagement music composition workshop program he founded in 2016, that offers free events open to all kinds of creative musicians to collaborate with local performers.
Workshop given by Victor Zheng
Project Nadia is named for Nadia Boulanger (1887–1979), a hugely influential music teacher of the 20th century. This project seeks to record the history as well as future of music in a unique way that highlights the role of the teacher, by constructing a genealogy of composers arranged by student-teacher relationships. One can then search this genealogy to discover close relatives of any given composer, or perhaps find the shortest path between two seemingly distant composers. With over 6600 composers in the database, the possibilities are enormous. Project Nadia is and will forever be a work in progress. Any and all composers are invited to submit information on their educational background to contribute to this growing project, and in doing so perhaps gain a different perspective of their own place in the music world. There are no specific requirements on the nature of one’s education with any given teacher to be included. If you consider yourself a student of someone, no matter the setting or timeframe, then they should be included. (45 min)
Victor Zheng was born in Beijing, China in 1994 and was raised in Portland, Oregon. He previously studied at the Oberlin Conservatory (BM ’16) and University of Massachusetts Amherst (MM ’18), and is presently pursuing a DMA at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Victor’s notable performances have included collaborations with the Opus One Chamber Orchestra, TaiHei Ensemble, Composers of Oregon Chamber Orchestra, Valencia International Contemporary Ensemble, New Music Mosaic, and most recently SEAMUS and Electronic Music Midwest. His work has also been featured in publications including Oregon Arts Watch, Willamette Week, and Art on My Sleeve. Victor taught music theory and aural skills as a graduate teaching assistant while at UMass, and subsequently served on the faculty at Ethos Music Center in Portland, Oregon, and at the Shedd Institute for the Arts in Eugene, Oregon. He now teaches composition and music theory at the University of Illinois.