Program Notes

Study on a Monochord
For Fixed Media
Year Composed: 2017
Duration: 8’44”


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This acousmatic composition is an offshoot of the sound design for Daren Kendall's installation and performance Resonance + Relay, as it was presented in the Lightwell Gallery at the School of Visual Arts at the University of Oklahoma in 2016. The majority of the sounds hear derive from a sound sculpture loosely resembling a monochord: a steel piano string stretched on a twisted metal tube, resting vertically on a squeaky metal base, amplified by a contact mic. Other sounds came from the tools the artist used to build the installation. All sources were processed live in various degrees through GRM Tools and SoundMagic Spectral plugins by Michael Norris, producing materials that lasted for more than two hours. During the installation four loudspeakers diffused these sounds in the gallery by using weighted probabilities and Markov chains in MaxMSP. This stereo version arranged in ProTools contains a small subset of the original installation sounds.

Study on a Monochord and the sound design for the Resonance + Relay installation were partially realized with funds from the Dean's Circle, Weitzenhoffer Familiy College of Fine Arts at the University of Oklahoma.

 

On a cup of Tea
For Fixed Media
Year Composed: 2015
Duration: 2’04”


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The main inspiration and point of departure of this miniature is tea, which plays an important role in Japanese and British cultures. The form of this piece has been influenced by the three-versed structure of Haiku poems. In addition, the piece features two contrasting pictures/states of mind/moods, as haikus usually do, by moving between soundscape reality and acousmatic abstraction. All the sounds in the acousmatic section derive from porcelain cups and saucers processed in various degrees. Lastly, I would like to thank my good friend, robin Noad for lending me his beautiful voice.

On a cup of Tea is included in the SEAMUS Miniature CD Series under the title Sonic Haikus (2016).

 

Ode to Kitchen
For Fixed Media
Year Composed: 2015
Duration: 7’47”


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Ode to Kitchen is an homage to Neruda’s collection of Odes. The poet wrote 225 Odes on common everyday objects, such as bread, artichokes, his socks, etc., to celebrate life as expressed through myriads of sounds, colors, smells, and emotions. Hundreds of sounds of kitchen objects were classified according to their gestural archetypes and substances, and later processed mainly through the classic tape manipulation techniques. Complex textures were created by reading fast and randomly the contents of folders with similar sounds. The resulting thousands of sound objects were orchestrated with the intention to create a highly energetic and kaleidoscopic amalgam.

Ode to Kitchen was awarded with the 1st place at the SIME International Electroacoustic Music Competition and a Honorable Mention at the Musica Viva International Competition of Electroacoustic Composition (2016).

 

Hekate
For Bendir and live electronics
Year Composed: 2013
Duration: 12’00”


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Hekate is a Greek goddess associated with crossroads, gates, liminal places in space and time. The moon, fire, herbs and poisonous plants, magic, witchcraft, angels and ghosts are in her dominion. She rules over earth, sea and sky, and accompanies the souls of the deceased to Hades, holding torches in her hands. In late antiquity she is known as Savior who embodies the Cosmic Soul.

The piece is written for Bendir, a special type of frame drum with snares, finger cymbal, and ankle bells. The frame drum is diachronically one of the oldest and most common instruments in the world. The sound of this simple instrument creates powerful emotions associated with shamanism, mysticism, rituals, ecstasy, healing, and femininity. The Bendir originates from the countries of the Maghreb and is played almost exclusively by women.

The piece showcases nocturnal and other field recordings captured by the composer over several years in Greece. The computer tracks the attack and the dynamics of the instruments and reacts by using various live processing techniques, which include multiple delays, phase vocoding, live sampling, frequency shifting, and harmonization among others.

Hekate is commissioned by and dedicated to Patti Cudd. She recorded the piece at the University of Oklahoma in 2016 and released it in a triple-CD under the title Eos with Innova Records in 2017.

Trittico Mediterraneo
For Fixed Media
Year Composed: 2011-2012
Duration: 13’41”


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Trittico Medιterraneo is a three-movement piece inspired by summer themes.

The opening movement, Pastorale, is based on sheep and goat bell samples and related environmental recordings collected at a mountainous Greek village. The work is a personal sonic interpretation and response to the Renaissance and Baroque paintings of the same theme.

I am fascinated by old, spacious cobblestone squares, surrounded by tall buildings with swallows' nests, outdoor cafes and restaurants, ideal places for people to enjoy the sense of community and for children to play. Most of the sounds used in Constitution Square at Evening are field recordings from a summer evening at the Constitution Square in Nafplion, Greece.

The closing movement, Violins of Summer, was inspired by a short poem by Yannis Ritsos (my translation):

     “Cicadas are thousands of little violins with wings
     they make wooden sounds for they miss their bow
     the summer knocks their belly with its finger.
     These knocks are later translated –
     little hammers pounding on a soft void.”

The piece was made possible with partial support from the Research Council of the University of Oklahoma.

Dionysus
For Solo Multi-percussion instruments and live electronics
Year composed: 2009
Duration: 11’30"

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 Volatile, transformative, brutal, benevolent, chased and menacing, dismembered and resurrected, ceremonious, clamorous, mystic, inspirational, ecstatic, patron of tragedy and comedy. Dionysus is the god who embodies primitive instinctual forces of life, irresistible, inexorable, ever triumphing.

The piece is written in MaxMSP. The software tracks the percussionist’s attacks, amplitude, rhythm and density. This information is used to trigger various real-time sound transformation routines and pre-recorded materials. The whispered texts are from Euripides Bacchae. Many thanks to Dr. Ricardo Souza for commissioning this work and for his enhancing suggestions. Dionysus was also made possible with the partial support of funds from the Research Council of University of Oklahoma.

 

Pollock’s Dreams: Liquefied Sounds
For Fixed Media
Year composed: 2007
Duration: 9’59”


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The title refers to Jackson Pollock’s paintings using his dripping technique, which became the source of inspiration for this piece. Volatile environmental sounds captured around the University of Oklahoma, Norman campus underwent a condensation process through Max/MSP (including phase vocoding, and/or granular synthesis “freeze”, filtering, envelope shaping, pitch shifting, among others) to be transformed in to liquid pigments. The liquefied sounds were then arranged in to the canvas (Pro Tools) and balanced dynamically through spontaneous real-time processes. This piece was made possible with the support of funds from the Research Council of University of Oklahoma.

Obscuritas Luminosa, Lux Obscura
For Flute, Clarinet, Viola, Cello, Piano, Percussion, and prerecorded electronics
Year composed: 2005
Duration: 18’30”

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This piece is about light.
Light as flux of photons.
Light as flux of energy.
Frequencies as colored light.
Light enveloped in darkness.
Matter as condensed light.
Light that cannot be seen.

The following excerpt from an old Greek text of the 7th century AD encapsulates the central idea of the piece: …And as all things come from the One, from the mediation of the One, so all things are born from this One by adaptation. … There is one pitch (B), which as a single ultra-concentrated beam of light penetrates the vacuum, the silence. The instruments and the electronics act like lenses and prisms that slowly change the color of this single B and magnify it to the neighboring pitch areas. Since this process is gradual, like wine fermentation, special attention is given to various subtle changes, in the micro-intervals and their beatings, attacks and dynamics, colors and textures. Once the magnifications of the single pitch expand to its partials, the fermentation process is accelerated and new dimensions open up that at some point incorporate even chance.

 

De Ligno Chalybeque
For Fixed Media
Year composed: 2003
Duration: 9’40”

Here are the ingredients necessary for the recipe of the piece:

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Steel Wood Hair
Fire Sulfur Quicksilver
Mercury
Dionysus Mars Sisyphus
Initiation Sacred Dance Sparks
Caltinatio
Trance Chaos Catharsis
Night Crickets Stars…

All the sounds used in the piece were derived from a cello, processed by custom-made algorithms in Max/MSP, and finally mastered in ProTools. The composer wishes to thank ASCAP and SEAMUS for commissioning this work. The piece has been awarded with the Residence Prize of the 30th International Competition of Electroacoustic Music and Sonic Art, Bourges, France and the Special Prize for Young Composer of the Musica Nova International Electroacoustic Music Competition, Prague, Czech Republic.

 

Allegoriae Sonantes
For Fixed Media
Year composed: 2001
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Duration: 8’13”

From the first moment, when I was recording the sound material for the piece, I had the feeling that there was something allegoric about it, something beyond its sonic nature. After reading Umberto Eco's "Art and Beauty in the Middle Ages", I realized that my sense of the possible allegoric existences was remotely related to the medieval belief that everything in nature carries an allegoric meaning beyond its materiality.
The piece is based on sounds derived from a grand piano excited by a small copper bar. The sounds are used both in an unprocessed and processed state, manipulated by custom-made algorithms in Max/MSP, and finally mastered in ProTools. Allegoriae Sonantes has received the first prize in the SEAMUS/ASCAP Student Commission Competition and it is released by ICMA CD series (vol. ICMC2003).

 

Piece for Flute and Electronics
Year composed: 2000
Duration: 5’30”


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The Piece for flute and electronics marks two personal firsts for me: it is the first piece I composed since my arrival in the New World and it is also my fist interactive work designed entirely for MAX/MSP, a real-time interactive computer music programming environment for the Macintosh. The computer is programmed to follow the flute’s pitches, envelopes and dynamics and its responses are related to the performer’s input. The rhythmic and melodic patterns of the flute, enriched by the sounds and the texture of the computer, create small sections of progressive climaxes. The Piece for Flute and Electronics has been awarded with the Residence Prize of the 27th International Competition of Electroacoustic Music and Sonic Art at Bourges (2000).

 

Earlier Pieces

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Piece for Clarinet and Electronics
Year composed: 1999


Three Piano Pieces
Year composed: 1998

Two Pieces for Piano, Clarinet & Cello
Year composed: 1998


Etude de Bruit
For Fixed Media
Year composed: 1995

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