Sonambient Sculptures at Museum of Arts and Design!

Ralph Bertoia No1

After such a lovely experience at WGXC’s Wave Farm, I went down to Manhattan to record the replica Bertoia Sonambient sculptures (made by Harry Bertoia’s son Val) at the Museum of Arts and Design as part of its Atmosphere for Enjoyment: Studio Sessions. Each month the exhibit is up different artists get a chance to record with the sculptures.

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It’s neat that MAD continues its tradition of participatory exhibits: while the exhibit was shut down in some ways (all other audio turned off) so I could record without interference, MAD also offers times for the public to come try out the sculptures throughout the week.

Playing Bertoia’s sculptures was a strange experience: handling them felt foolproof but still full of sonic mystery. It was less how I activated the sculptures, and more that I (or someone did). That requisite (human?) touch and the resulting wandering, shimmering or vagrant reverberations were fascinating. More to follow once I have thought on this more.

Thanks for a great summer, WGXC and MAD!

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(photo credits: Leila Zogby)

Premiere Broadcast of Penelope’s Endless Book of Magic!

Today is the start of something for me and the people involved in this radio serial opera, and I am so happy to be sharing it with you. We’ve talked about, worried about it, laughed about it, and dreamed about a confluence of an engaging if silly narrative structure and emotional electroacoustic music. Something that aspires to live on radio, be transmitted and readily enjoyed. Something with some bitey teeth and silly smirks. This is the first episode and there are more on the way.

Tune in today from 4 – 6 pm EST on WGXC 90.7-FM or stream on www.wavefarm.org for Saturday Afternoon Show host Tom Roe and I discuss and play Penelope’s Endless Book of Magic, what’s in store for it, and play and discuss other music and transmission works I have been doing.

Two especially enormous thank you’s are required:

To Galen and Tom at Wave Farm for being excited by the idea behind this work and encouraging its creation with an artist residency. I have had such a wonderful time here and feel so encouraged!

To the MAGNIFICENT Alfred Shaw (The real Alfred the Great) who has taken the lead role to new heights of fun and awesomeness and has been such a generous, animated collaborator.

(Update: Episode 1 and future episodes can be heard here!)

First Full Broadcast of Drive to the Edge Tonight on WGXC!

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How does your visible world intersect with and affect the invisible signals your radio (or smart device) receive?

Tune in tonight (12:05 am EST) on WGXC 90.7-FM and at www.wgxc.org and explore it with Drive to the Edge. As part of your exploration, please record the transmission from Wave Farm and share it with us so we can air these variations of receivers and places on Saturday.

(Email them to ralphlewis.music@gmail.com)

Fresh Inc Festival / Wave Farm Residency – This Summer!

Coolbanner.jpgAfter a wonderful first year at University of Illinois with so many great times, new friends, and the opportunities to explore new ideas, I’m about to start a really fun summer.

In June, I’ll be attending the Fresh Inc Festival at University of Wisconsin-Parkside where some great musicians I’m just beginning to get to know will premiere social pressures on the moon for flute, oboe, bass clarinet, soprano sax, and trombone.

In July, I’ll be heading to New York to do an artist residency at Wave Farm, WGXC 90.7-FM and will be broadcasting the premiere of Penelope’s Endless Book of Magic, a radio serial opera I am working on.

If you haven’t had a chance yet, check out this series I did for Wave Farm early this year! It’s called Drive to the Edge.

Celestial in the Dusk premiere

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Under a grey sky, Celestial in the Dusk, my lumbering carillon piece, premiered on University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s McFarland Carillon as part of a concert Dong Ryul Lee organized today.Thanks Dong Ryul!

While I had imagined the last gasp of a sunlight as the setting of it (because we are not allowed to play carillon before 5 pm) this worked too.

Other composers on the concert were M.O. Abbott, Byungjin Kim, Ming-ching Chiu, Kyle Shaw, and Stephen Taylor. I really liked what I heard–some very clever solutions for dealing with this quirky, beautiful instrument. I hope we can do another one of these concerts in the Fall.

 

Great Times with ensemble mise-en!

About a week ago, I had the pleasure of getting to meet ensemble mise-en. What an exciting experience. In this photo, they were reading my new piece critical band-aid.

Working with ensemble mise-en was one of the highlights of the decade for me. Being in the room with them that Friday felt transcendent. Besides being prepared to engage with me as a composer and with the piece I had shared, they created this aerodynamic, frictionless feeling in the room as they played and discussed critical band-aid that suprised and delighted me. What a compelling working environment. Thank you ensemble mise-en!

I also want to give big thank yous to Steve Taylor and Kyle Shaw for curating this opportunity to work with this wonderful group and to my composition professor Erik Lund (seen in the background of the photo) for being a great sounding board at each step of the process of this piece.