(click the date above to view this concert on YouTube)
Program selected by the 2023 SCI Online National Conference Adjudication Committee
(Melissa D’Albora, Han Hitchen, Joshua Mallard, Robert McClure, TJ Milne, Selena Ryan, and Andrew Martin Smith):
Entropia/Neguentropia by Charles Halka
Reverie by Leah Reid
Tau by Richard Pressley
Aaerios II by Ryne “Todroki” Siesky
Hand Carved Names and Railroad Tracks by Dayton Kinney
A certain slant of light by Scott Lee
Intrusive Thoughts by Ethan Soledad
Western Music for Mixed Ensemble by Marcel Castro-Lima
Composer Bios and Program Notes:
Charles Halka is a Pacific Northwest-based composer whose music spans the broad space between “energetic” and “crazed”(New York Times) and “haunting” and “reflective”(Houston Press). His acoustic and electronic works for concert, dance, and opera often seek to recreate natural phenomena, human interaction and movement, or visual art and poetry, while at other times they are novel worlds born of improvisation, play, and daydreaming.
With performances and commissions from the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra led by Marin Alsop, Alarm Will Sound, Mivos Quartet, the Mexican National Symphony Orchestra, the Lviv Philharmonic, counter)induction, Callithumpian Consort, Volti, and ONIX Ensamble, among many others, Halka’s music has been heard by audiences in North America, Europe, Asia, and Brazil at venues and events such as The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, The Intimacy of Creativity, ISCM World Music Days, the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress, and Foro Internacional de Musica Nueva.
Among Halka’s recent honors are a Barlow Endowment General Commission and the Copland House Residency Award, and he was in residence with Houston’s critically acclaimed Musiqa and the Foundation for Modern Music. In addition, he completed residencies at MacDowell and the M.K. Sarbievijaus Cultural Center in Kraziai, Lithuania. Further support for his work has come from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the U.S. Fulbright program (2008-09 grantee), and the Nevada Arts Council.
Halka earned degrees in piano and composition from The Peabody Conservatory and Rice University, and is Assistant Professor of Composition and Theory at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA.
Entropia / Neguentropia (Entropy / Negentropy) was written for ONIX Ensamble and commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition. From soft, breathy murmurs and sparkling resonances to sharp stabs and explosive runs, the work alternately absorbs and releases energy on a journey through various changes of state as the music searches for equilibrium.
Leah Reid is a composer, sound artist, researcher, and educator, whose works range from opera, chamber, and vocal music, to acousmatic, electroacoustic works, and interactive sound installations.
Winner of a 2022-2023 Guggenheim Fellowship, Reid has also won the American Prize in Composition, first prize in the 8th KLANG! International Electroacoustic Composition Competition, Sound of the Year’s Composed with Sound Award, the International Alliance for Women in Music’s Pauline Oliveros Award, and prizes in the Iannis Xenakis International Electronic Music Competition and the 13th International Destellos Competition. She has received fellowships from the Guerilla Opera Company, Transient Canvas, the Hambidge Center, MacDowell, Transient Canvas, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA), the Ucross Foundation, and Yaddo.
Her compositions have been presented at festivals, conferences, and major venues throughout the world, including Aveiro_Sintese (Portugal), BEAST FEaST (England), Espacios Sonoros (Argentina), EviMus (Germany), ICMC (Ireland, Chile & USA), IRCAM’s ManiFeste (France), LA Philharmonic’s Noon to Midnight (USA), MA/IN Festival (Italy), NYCEMF (USA), OUA-EMF (Japan), Serie de Musica de Camara (Brazil), the Tilde New Music Festival (Australia), TIES (Canada), and WOCMAT (Taiwan), among many others. Her works are published with Ablaze Records, New Focus Recordings, Parma Recordings, RMN Classical, and BabelScores.
Reid received her D.M.A. and M.A. in music composition from Stanford University and her B.Mus from McGill University. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia. Additional information may be found at www.leahreid.com.
Reverie is an acousmatic composition that leads the listener through an immersive fantasy centered around deconstructed music boxes.
The work comprises eight sections that alternate between explorations of the music boxes’ gears and chimes. In the work, the music boxes’ sounds are pulled apart, exaggerated, expanded, and combined with other sounds whose timbres and textures are reminiscent of the original. As the piece unfolds, the timbres increase in spectral and textural density, and the associations become more and more fantastical. Gears are transformed into zippers, coins, chainsaws, motorcycles, and fireworks, and the chimes morph into rainstorms, all sizes of bells, pianos, and more.
Reid composed the work during residencies at the Ucross Foundation and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
The work is available in stereo and 8 channel versions.
Reverie won first prize in the 8th KLANG! International Electroacoustic Composition Competition, Sound of the Year’s Composed with Sound Award, and Second Prizes in both the Xenakis International Electronic Music Competition and the 13th International Destellos Competition.
Richard Pressley has enjoyed performances of his music at festivals and concerts in the U.S., Europe, Australia, Mexico, and Brazil, by such performers and ensembles as the JACK Quartet, the Minnesota Orchestra, Iwona Glinka, Claire Edwardes, the McCormick Percussion Group, thingNY, the Great Noise Ensemble, the Concorde Ensemble, Lisa Cella, Patrick Crossland, Ensamble Da GunÃ¡a, Karolina Rojahn, ensemble platypus, Richard Ratliff, the dissonArt ensemble, the Moran Quintet, the Definiens Project, and counter)induction among others.
He began his musical career in rock music in his early teens, playing and touring with rock and punk bands. He then attended the University of Indianapolis and Butler University for his B.M., Cambridge University for his Master’s, and the University of Minnesota for his Ph. D; also doing post-doctoral study at the Karlsruhe Musikhochschule and Darmstadt in Germany. His composition instructors include Wolfgang Rihm, Sandeep Bhagwati, Dominick Argento, Judith Lang Zaimont, Alex Lubet, Daniel Chua, and Michael Schelle. He has also participated in master classes and private sessions with many of today’s leading composers. Richard lives in Charleston, SC where he is Associate Professor of Music Theory at the Horton School of Music at Charleston Southern University. rpressley.com
(re: Tau ) Moments of uneasy repose with sustained—or repeated-note gestures that “blossom and bloom” into more eruptive figures, passages featuring an intense dialogue of frenetic gestures in counterpoint, and moments of sparser, fleeting interplay—these all interact with varying degrees of ‘density’ and varying degrees of pitched, quasi-pitched, and noise sounds, as the two parts merge and diverge, cooperate or argue, pull toward or push away from each other “abruptly meeting, or unable to” much like the energy of differing sides of magnets alternately held in proximity to each other.
Ryne “Todroki” Siesky (he/they) is a Filipino-American composer, educator, music technologist, and EID specialist. Described as “beautifully haunting” (Robert Avalon Competition), “patiently evocative” (George Lewis), and “unsettling, [yet] interesting” (Joshua Weatherspoon, Cycling ’74), Ryne’s music explores the relationships between art, community, and identity. His recent works engage with Asian American identity politics and intersectionality as idiosyncratic mechanisms for musical creation and sonic processes. His music has been performed by the Peridot Duo, Hypercube, Duo Sequenza, Deco Saxophone Quartet, Braeburn Brass Quintet, the Mississippi Valley Orchestra, Robert Black, Lindsay Garritson, Jacob Mason, and Laura Silva, among others. His music has also been featured at several festivals including the Aspen and Atlantic Music Festivals, Society of Composers, International Trumpet Guild, Diffrazioni, Festival DME, Cube Fest, NYCEMF, SEAMUS, and ICMC, among others. Their recent activity includes a fellowship with the Atlanta-based ensemble vim, a quartet for Musiqa’s Emerging Composer Commission, a violin and cello concertino for the Mississippi Valley Orchestra, and a solo piano piece for his wife.
Siesky serves as Assistant Professor of Music Technology at Johnson University where he teaches courses in computer music programming, electrical engineering for audio, digital synthesis, studio recording, and digital art. He is also virtually completing his Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition at the University of Miami, Frost School of Music. Siesky is currently the EID Director for the Millennium Composers Initiative.
Aaerios II is the second in a series of works dedicated to the postmodern YouTube persona, Sir Aaerios. After interviewing Datto, a Destiny YouTuber, about what their qualifications to be a secret agent, Aaerios asks them the following:
If the rooster does not crow in the morning, will the macaroni ever be crispy?
Dayton Kinney creates music that has won and has been recognized at numerous competitions at the international and national level. Performed in the U.S. and abroad, her music concentrates on transforming the circle into a spiral. Through this notion, Dayton explores the limits of ambiguity in thematic material, accessibility, harmony, and form with the goal of striking a balance between the certainty of a circle and the ambiguity of a spiral. Her eclectic style is inspired by juxtapositions and accessibility, exploring the concept of tonal ambiguity through patterns, sectional comparisons, and repetition.
Performers who have played her music include ICE, Nick Photinos, Juventas New Music Ensemble, Deviant Septet, The Sirius Quartet, HYPERCUBE, Frisson Duo, F-Plus, Zodiac Trio, and Space City Performing Arts Ensemble, among others. The Canary Who Sang was recorded and published on the album Music On The Edge Volume 2 in 2020 by Navona Records.
In December 2021, Dayton earned her Ph.D. in Music Composition along with a Certificate in College Teaching from Duke University. Dayton Kinney also holds a Master of Arts in Music from Duke University, a Master of Music in Composition from Carnegie Mellon University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Music cum laude with Honors in Music from Smith College. Her teachers have included John Supko, Leonardo Balada, Melinda Wagner, Salvatore Macchia, and Alla Elana Cohen. www.daytonkinney.com
Inspired by stories and the Me Too Movement, Hand Carved Names and Railroad Tracks explores the loss of innocence during childhood. This composition explores the complexities of adult situations from the understanding and eyes of a child, who turns to self-mutilation for pain, anger, ecstasy, and comfort. Through its juxtaposition of light and dark themes, ambiguous harmonic trajectories, and obsessing rhythms the piece engages with coming of age in contemporary society and the numbing experiences that twist our perspectives. Hand Carved Names and Railroad Tracks is dedicated to victims and survivors of childhood abuse.
Praised as “colorful” and “engaging” (The Philadelphia Inquirer), Scott Lee‘s music often takes inspiration from popular genres, exploring odd-meter grooves and interlocking hockets while featuring pointillistic orchestration and extended performance techniques. He marries the traditional intricacy of classical form with the more body-centered and visceral language of popular music, crafting compositions that are both “rigorously contemporary and fully accessible” (AllMusic). The Berkshire Edge described the world premiere of his Slack Tide, commissioned by the Tanglewood Music Center, as having “moments both of calm and maximum tension…we’ve never heard anything like it.”
Currently serving as the Bozeman Symphony’s first-ever Composer-in-Residence, Lee has worked with leading orchestras including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the North Carolina Symphony, the Portland Symphony Orchestra, Symphony in C as well as chamber groups such as the JACK Quartet, yMusic, the Da Capo Chamber Players, and pop artist Ben Folds. Recent commissioners include the Bozeman Symphony, Tanglewood Music Center and Aspen Music Festival. Notable honors include a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, and winner of the Symphony In C Young Composer’s Competition.
Lee is currently Assistant Professor of Composition at the University of Florida School of Music. Lee earned a PhD in Composition at Duke University, and also holds degrees from the Peabody Institute and Vanderbilt University. Learn more at scottleemusic.net.
A certain slant of light was commissioned by the Florida State Music Teachers Association, and was written for my wife, cellist Emily Austin Smith, to perform. While she has played many of my pieces and given me feedback during the composition process of many more, this was the first piece I wrote expressly for her to perform, and the process of its composition was collaborative. I’d bring her ideas or short sections of music to try out, and then she’d give me feedback, like “that bowing doesn’t work”, or “does it have to be that fast?”, or “how about an octave down?” and every once in a while, “somehow, all of that seems to work!” The result is a piece that is both true to my original conception and is difficult, but ultimately practical to perform. I actually derived the initial material for the piece from the letters of Emily’s name. Fittingly, the title comes from the poetry of another Emily, Emily Dickinson, and calls to mind visual imagery that the music evokes: glinting light off of the surface of the ocean or fireflies flitting about in the darkness.
Bold, dramatic, with an exquisite attention to detail, Ethan Soledad (b. 1999) is a Filipino-American composer whose work aims to express emotions in their most raw form. An experienced singer, he incorporates drama in his work, emphasizing the importance of silence and one’s perception of time. Ethan’s music draws from a wide palette of compositional styles and colors ranging from impressionism and neoclassicism to post-minimalism and the avant-garde. His musical style is marked by unapologetic expression, dynamic extremes, and the ability to do more with less but never shying away from doing more with more.
Festivals and programs attended include Impulse New Music Festival, the Premiere| Project Festival by Choral Arts Initiative, the TUTTI Festival at Denison University, the Etchings Festival, Charlotte New Music Festival, the Oregon Bach Festival Composer Symposium, zFest, and the Curtis Institute’s Young Artist Summer Program. His music has been performed and recognized by ensembles such as New York Youth Symphony (First Music Commission Honorable Mention), the Greater Miami Youth Symphony, Choral Arts Initiative, Fifth House Ensemble, Bent Frequency, the East Coast Contemporary Ensemble (ECCE), Fear No Music, Crossing Borders Music, True Concord Voices and Orchestra, The Choral Project, the Beo String Quartet, and the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York.
He is a teacher at the Shepherd School of Music pre-college program, teaching music theory, composition, and aural skills to advanced high school students. Additionally he is a young artist at DACAMERA Houston, engaging in outreach programs with Harris county elementary schools. He graduated with his Bachelor of Arts in Music at Florida State University 2021 and is currently pursuing his Master of Music in Composition at Rice University studying under Shih-Hui Chen and Karim Al-Zand.
His previous composition teachers include Liliya Ugay and Orlando Jacinto Garcia.
(re: Intrusive Thoughts) Original version for dectet commissioned by the Albany Symphony (NY) as part of the Orchestrating in the 21st Century Workshop. An intrusive thought is an unwelcome, involuntary thought, image, or unpleasant idea that may become an obsession, is upsetting or distressing, and can feel difficult to manage or eliminate. This is something that I’ve greatly struggled with on a regular basis when I lived back home with my family. These thoughts most always manifested in images of violent self-harm which I would fixate on for several minutes at a time, and were the result of the household I lived in and the relationship I have with my family.
Marcel Castro-Lima is a Brazilian composer and conductor based in Texas/USA. Castro-Lima’s music is deeply rooted in Brazilian popular traditions, which he incorporates seamlessly into experimental practices involving generative music, intermedia, and electronics. He holds a Ph.D. in creative processes in music from UNIRIO (Rio de Janeiro) and is currently pursuing a second Ph.D. in composition and new media at the University o North Texas. Castro-Lima’s music has been performed in Brazil and in the US by groups like Ensemble Dal Niente, Splice Ensemble, Hypercube, Dallas Symphony Orchestra Chamber Players, Rio Mönnig Fagotti, Goiás Philharmonic Orchestra, and UFRJ Symphony Orchestra. His orchestral music has been awarded prizes like the OPUS 1, promoted by Goiás Philharmonic, and the National Composition Contest, promoted by UFRJ. Dr. Castro-Lima currently teaches Music Theory, Composition, and Technology at The University of Texas at Tyler, Texas A&M Commerce, and Texas Wesleyan University.
Western Music for Mixed Ensemble, written for Hypercube as part of the 2022 Cube Lab, explores the Western idea of progress and how it relates to the tradition of Western Music. Progress in Western society is a goal-oriented attitude that presupposes destruction as a transformative force. Similarly, in Western Music, the process of fragmenting and destroying musical ideas to establish new ones is fundamental to creating an illusion that music is moving toward a goal.