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Release: March 22, 2002

National electro-acoustic music conference will be at UI April 4-6

The University of Iowa School of Music will be host to the national conference of the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS) Thursday through Saturday, April 4-6. The conference, "Intersections in Sound," will bring together more than 250 composers, performers and scholars of music created using electronic means from across the United States and around the world for a series of public concerts as well as scholarly papers, panels, and other presentations.

The conference will include a series of 12 public concerts, featuring electro-acoustic music in a variety of formats. Works for tape, live electronics, video, instruments, voice, and dance will be presented on 16-channel surround sound systems in Clapp Recital Hall and the Mabie Theatre. These specially-designed sound systems, the largest in the Midwest, allow the composer to project sound around the listening space.

Concerts open to the public free of charge will be on Thursday, April 4, at 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. in E.C. Mabie Theatre of the UI Theatre Building, and at 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. in Clapp Recital Hall; on Friday, April 5, at 10:30 a.m. in Mabie Theatre, and at 1:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. in Clapp Recital Hall; and on Saturday, April 6, at 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. in Mabie Theatre, and at 1:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. in Clapp Recital Hall.

The program will include performances by the University Symphony, directed by William LaRue Jones; the UI Center For New Music, with director David Gompper; and UI School of Music faculty members Anthony Arnone, cello, and Patrick Jones, saxophone.

A full schedule for the conference, with complete programs for each concert as well as titles of papers and names of participants in the research sessions, may be found at on the internet at .

The conference chair is Lawrence Fritts, director of the UI Electronic Music Studios.

"This will be the largest computer music or electroacoustic music conference ever held in the United States," Fritts said. "In concerts and research sessions, the conference will explore intersections among aesthetic approaches, compositional media, historical and developing technologies, and electro-acoustic composition and performance."

Among the most innovative works on the program is Princeton composer Colby Leider's "Afflux/Reflux," whose sound will be projected by the composer with a special hand-held device. Other notable tape pieces include "Mixed Emotion" by Bebe Barron. This piece marks the return to electronic music composition by Barron, who won the 1956 Academy Award for Music with her groundbreaking electronic score for "Forbidden Planet."

Composer Larry Austin will present an eight-channel computer realization of John Cage's classic "Williams Mix," a work composed by Cage in 1952 in Barron's New York studio.

Other works to be performed during SEAMUS 2002 include pieces written for instruments and live computer interaction. These include Ohio State University composer Marc Ainger's "Singing Hills" for chamber ensemble, conducted by the Center for New Music's David Gompper using Buchla conducting controllers that interact with the computer.

Works for symphony orchestra and computer include Brandeis University composer Eric Chasalow's "Dream Songs," performed by the University Symphony Orchestra, conducted by William LaRue Jones.

Oberlin College composer Tom Lopez's "Curvatures" features a string quartet playing electric instruments interacting with computer.

Works for non-traditional instruments include Peabody Conservatory composer John Young's "Ars Didjita" for didgeridu and tape and Hsiao-Lan Wang's "Refrain" for yangchin and tape.

Works for other media include Stanford composer Mark Applebaum's "S-tog" for sound sculpture. UI doctoral composition student Tohm Judson will present his "Circuits" for tape and dancers. A video concert will feature works for computer animation and sound by Northeastern University composer Dennis Miller with Fritts and UI Art and Art History faculty member Sue Hettmansperger.

The guest composer for the conference is British composer Denis Smalley, who studied with Olivier Messiaen at the Paris Conservatoire and electroacoustic composition with the Groupe de Recherches Musicales in Paris. Smalley has a high international profile as an electroacoustic composer, and his works have won a number of international awards including the Prix Ars Electronica in 1988. He is currently professor and head of the Music Department at City University of London. His recent tape work "Base Metals" will be performed and his music will be presented and discussed in a special curated session. Smalley will also participate with several British and American composers in a panel discussion on computer music composition and analysis.

In other highlights of the conference, pioneering electronic instrument designer Don Buchla will receive the SEAMUS Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is given to individuals who have made a lasting and profound impact on the field of electroacoustic music. Buchla has made fundamental contributions to the field through his pioneering electronic synthesizer and controller designs. His first instrument, the Electric Music Box, was designed and built in 1963 in Berkeley, Cal., at virtually the same time that Robert Moog was creating his Moog synthesizer on the east coast. Buchla and Moog now share the credit for the development of the first modular electronic synthesizer.

Buchla will perform in a concert featuring early and recent works on original instruments and new controllers and will present a hands-on demonstration of new controllers that he has designed for performers to control computer sound.

SEAMUS 2002 will also include 12 sessions on a range of topics in electro-acoustic composition, research, and performance. These sessions will be open to all registered participants and, space allowing, to UI faculty, staff and students. They will be held in the South Room and Terrace Room of the Iowa Memorial Union, as well as in Clapp Recital Hall and Mabie Theatre.

Papers include topics on sound diffusion, analysis of electroacoustic music, and new electroacoustic software and instruments. Panels include topics on acoustic and electroacoustic music composition, American and European approaches to electroacoustic composition, and a discussion of the growing role of video in the field. Curated Presentations include flutist Elizabeth McNutt's discussion of the performer's interaction with technology and a special presentation by UI composition students Chris Brakel and Tohm Judson on recent activities in the UI Electronic Music Studios, featuring the work of Brakel, Judson, John Ritz, Jean-Paul Parotte, Andy Jasinski, and Karen Koch.

For details, refer to the complete schedule on the conference web site. Conference details and online registration may be found on the web at For further information, contact the UI Center for Conferences at (319) 335-4141; long distance is toll-free at 1-800-551-9029.

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

For information on UI arts events, visit on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <>.