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Release: Feb. 2, 2001

Concert of electronic music will include recent compositions by UI students Feb. 16

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Electronic Music Studios of the University of Iowa School of Music will present a concert of new works, including compositions by UI students at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus. The performance will be free and open to the public.

The works by UI students on the program will be: "Segment-09" and "Invisible Pathways" by master’s degree student Christopher D. Brakel; "Sammic Tort" by Timothy Fischer, an undergraduate working toward an interdepartmental degree in sound production; "a well devised trap" by undergraduate John Ritz; "Crim" by graduate student Erin Gee; "Pernicious Infinities" by master’s student Matt Groves; and "Disquiet Meditation" by master’s student Michael Cash.

Also featured on the program will be "UnfoldEntwine" by Diane Thome, who is chair of the composition program in the School of Music of the University of Washington.

The composer of a wide variety of works, including solo, chamber, choral, orchestral and electronic media, Thome was the first woman to write computer-synthesized music. Her compositions have been presented in Europe, China, Australia, Israel, Canada and throughout the United States. She has been featured on French radio and served as composer-in-residence at the University of Sussex and the Bennington Chamber Music Conference and Composers Forum of the East.

Recent awards include 1994 Washington Composer of the Year, 1995-6 Solomon Katz Distinguished Professor in the Humanities, and a 1998 International Computer Music Conference Commission. Her music has been recorded on the CRI, Crystal Records, Opus One, Capstone and Centaur labels, including "Palaces of Memory," an 18-year retrospective of her electro-acoustic music on the Centaur label.

Thome wrote of "UnfoldEntwine," "Music for me is often connected with visual, spatial and kinetic experience. It was with this awareness that I began to conceive of this work as a mysterious, slowly-unfolding journey with an astonishing, even magical, destination that would appear much later in the compositional narrative.

"The single stream of sound which opens the piece ultimately devolves, after a series of briefer digressions, into a realm of multiple, concurrent tributaries. The process of unfolding, disclosing, interleaving and entwining which characterize the architecture of the work also suggest its title."

"Segment-09," a computer-generated landscape, was composed in the fall of 2000 in the
UI Electronic Music Studios (EMS). The sound material used is derived from three distinct sources: 1) a harpsichord cluster-chord; 2) water dripping; and 3) a high-pitched synthesized sound event.

"Invisible Pathways" was composed in January as an exploration of the abstract associations created in memory among different types of music. The sound material was derived from sampled music from various non-Western cultures, including improvisations on a Turkish drum and Tibetan "throat singing," Australian Aborigine music and music from Azerbaijan.

"Sammic Tort" is made up of bits and pieces of sound taken from a large variety of commercial music. The samples, ranging from blips to small loops, are arranged in a constant construction and destruction of rhythm and melody. The piece is named after the first three samples of sound that start the piece: Sammy Davis Jr., Michael Paradinas and Tortoise.

"Pernicious Infinities" was Groves’ first foray into electronic composition. The sound sources were electronically generated sounds and a single note, low C on a bass clarinet.

"Disquiet Meditation" was written in response to Mauricio Lasansky’s "Nazi Drawings."
It was performed in the UI Museum of Art last spring, on the occasion of the premiere of Lane Wyrick’s award-winning documentary film about the drawings.

The EMS have been part of the composition program at the UI School of Music for more than 30 years. By offering a traditional emphasis on the compositional aspects of electronic media, the studios have helped prepare Iowa’s graduates for composing, research and teaching careers at colleges and universities throughout the United States.

Director Lawrence Fritts has brought the latest generation of technologies to the studios. Students and faculty now have access to three multiple-platform workstations that integrate SGI, Kyma, and Macintosh digital audio technology.

Carefully maintained Moog, Arp and EMS analog synthesizers, along with other analog processing and control devices from the past 30 years, have also been integrated into the new systems to ensure that UI composers have the broadest possible range of technologies available as compositional tools.

Fritts is a leading figure in electronic and acousmatic music. His works have been performed in Chicago by the Contemporary Chamber Players, the University of Chicago New Music Ensemble, New Music De Paul and New Music Chicago. His electronic works have also been featured in a series of concerts at Columbia College and have been broadcast in the United States and Europe.
He has been interviewed on National Public Radio and the Canadian Broadcasting Company about the history of electronic music.

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts.

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