Friday, August 7, 2015

Experimental Music

This evening, Rob and I went to the final performance in an "Experimental Music Week" at the University, co-sponsored by the College of Music and ATLAS (Alliance for Technology, Learning and Society). It was like nothing I have ever experienced before.

There were three men involved who are pioneers in the field of electronic music: Philippe Manoury, Eric Lindemann and Miller Smith Puckette. These were not familiar names to me, but I  suspect that to anyone familiar with this field, they are something like gods. Manoury is primarily a composer and pianist. He has been incredibly prolific in the composition of electronic music. Lindemann is a pioneer in synthesizer development and has created what is called "Synful Orchestra," a software program that you can load into your laptop and with a Midi keyboard replicate virtually all the instruments of the orchestra in an astonishingly realistic and expressive manner. He is also a fine pianist. Puckette is a software designer and musician, best known as the author of Max, "a visual programming language for music and multimedia." These three were rounded out by an incredibly versatile soprano, Juliana Snapper, who sang both conventional works like Schumann's Dichterliebe, and also interactive electronic works like Manoury's En echo. It's hard to describe this evening's experience in words, but if you are interested, go to YouTube and search Philippe Manoury and you'll get oodles of examples of what I heard tonight; or Google "Synful Orchestra," and you'll get many examples of what Eric Lindemann has created with the software he has developed. It's totally amazing.

The added feature of tonight was that Eric Lindemann and his wife, Bonnie, and daughter, Anna, (who live in Boulder), are good friends of our good friend, Mary Anderson, and were in Paris for several years, back in the late 1980's and 1990's  when Mary and her late husband, John Nissen, and their children, Erica and Mark, were living in Paris also. Anna and Mark are about the same age. The two families did a lot together and became good friends. I had heard about them but had never met them, so tonight, it was a special treat to meet them and see and hear Eric "in action," as it were.

Me with Bonnie and Anna Lindemann

Eric Lindemann, Philippe Manoury and, at far right, Miller Puckette

Philippe Manoury, Juliana Snapper and Miller Puckette taking a bow
Earlier today, Ellen and I went to Whole Foods for breakfast, and then while Ellen shopped, I went to Staples to do some printing. I printed out a draft of my Introduction to Frederick Tolles' "Unfinished Manuscript of Vol. I of the Knopf History of the United States series," so that I can edit it more easily. We came back to the house briefly and then picked up Betsey at work and we all came back to the house and hung out until Rob came home. Ellen fixed another lovely supper, and Rob and I went to the concert while Ellen and Betsey watched 3 more episodes of Downton Abbey.

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