New Music + Technology Festival
December 5-7, 2022
Institute of Creativity, Arts and Technology, School of Performing Arts, and Creativity + Innovation present
Virginia Tech New Music + Technology Festival
Cube, Moss Arts Center
All events are free and open to the public. Seating is limited. Click on a date above to make your free reservation.
Monday, Dec 5, 6pm, Cube
Unseen, Unbodièd, Unknown: The William Blake Cycle (World Premiere) by Tiffany M. Skidmore
The Book of Ahania for bass flute and baritone saxophone
The Night of Enitharmon’s Joy for tenor saxophone, flute, and electronics
Vala/Luvah for saxophone trio and electronics
Tharmas the Father/Enion the Mother for solo sopranino saxophone
The Specter of Urthona for two soprano saxophones, cello, piano, percussion, and electronics
The Book of Ahania for bass flute and baritone saxophone
The Book of Urizen for alto saxophone and piano
Soloist Kyle Hutchins, saxophone
Dalia Chin, flute
Rebeccah Parker Downs, cello
Sheldon Johnston, saxophone
Derek Shapiro, conductor
Jeffrey Siegfried, saxophone
Annie Stevens, percussion
Shannon Wettstein, piano
Ted Moore, technical director
Amanda Nelson, director
About Unseen, Unbodièd, Unknown: The William Blake Cycle:
Since 2015, composer Tiffany M. Skidmore and saxophonist Kyle Hutchins have been collaborating on a cycle of electroacoustic instrumental chamber pieces centered around the saxophone that considers text and characters created by William Blake. Each movement explores relationships between mythological characters in the Blake universe, nonbinary gender identity, sexual politics, and gender stereotypes.
The Book of Ahania acts as a refrain throughout the cycle. Ahania, the female emanation of Urizen, is his soul. Urizen becomes jealous and ashamed of his own feminine emanation–he sees her as “sinful” and hides her away until she becomes an unembodied shadow that wanders the earth, becoming “the mother of Pestilence.”
The focus of Blake’s characterization of the first female, Enitharmon, represents “female domination and sexual restraints that limit the artistic imagination.” The Night of Enitharmon’s Joy reinterprets Blake’s poem, conceiving of it as a commentary on sexual oppression/suppression using restrictive pitch/rhythmic materials. Musically, the foundational vocal melody can never develop. Live instrumental lines begin to sprout from above and below the foundation, always forced to loop back due to musical constraints. Electronic snippets of a romantic underlying melody and poetic text emerge periodically from the textures, while a prolonged electronic whisper eventually envelops all other musical elements.
In Vala/Luvah, Vala and Luvah are feminine and masculine emanations of a single entity. Vala/Luvah loves and hates him/her/themself with a fiery, apocalyptic intensity.
Tharmas the father/Enion the mother explores Tharmas’s masculine persona at multiple simultaneous “ages” — he is both a bearded old man and a young man with wings. At the same time, the ecstatic, wailing music of Enion, this being’s feminine persona, gradually fades away, disappearing over the course of the piece.
The Spectre of Urthona depicts the erotic encounter that gives birth to a world full of lush flowers and poisonous fruit.
The Book of Urizen is focused on the character Urizen, who features prominently in Blake’s Europe: A Prophecy. In Blake’s universe, Urizen represents the first living entity. He is intensely destructive, yet simultaneously “the embodiment of conventional reason and law." This piece explores Urizen’s multifaceted character and story through a complex, wordless setting of passages from Blake’s poem.
Tiffany Skidmore bio
Tiffany M. Skidmore (b. 1980) is an American composer and performer based in Minneapolis. Her chamber, choral, and orchestral work has been interpreted by acclaimed experimental music specialists throughout the United States and Europe. She is a Schubert Club Award Winner, a 2018 McKnight Composer Fellow, and the 2018-19 Zeitgeist New Music Ensemble Composer-in-Residence. She is Co-Founder, Executive Director, and Co-Artistic Director of the Twin Cities-based 113 Composers Collective, an organization that produces concerts, festivals, and guest artist residencies throughout the world.
Soprano Nina Dante writes that “Tiffany Skidmore’s music brings to mind Sciarrino’s description of his own music: hearing it is like watching a volcano erupt from afar. While Skidmore’s music burns it’s own path outside of Sciarrino’s aesthetic, the description holds true. Her music often features slow moving textures dotted with energetic events (imagine a constellation moving across the sky over the course of the year, and interjecting shooting stars), a starry sound world, coldly emotional content, and a mix of musical abstraction with direct theatrical/conceptual content. For these reasons, like reading a myth of ancient times, we experience the drama of her works from a distance.”
As a performer, Skidmore has sung professionally with the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene Opera companies, Spokane Symphony Chorale, the Minnesota Chorale, the Contemporary Music Workshop, Hymnos Vocal Ensemble, the Gregorian Singers, the 113 Composers Collective, and as a free-lance soloist throughout Washington and Minnesota, primarily performing early and experimental music. She holds degrees in Music Composition and Vocal Performance from Gonzaga University, Eastern Washington University, and the University of Minnesota.
Kyle Hutchins bio
Hailed as “epic” (Jazz Times), "formidable" (The Saxophone Symposium), and "gripping" (Star Tribune), Kyle Hutchins is an internationally acclaimed saxophonist, improviser, and educator. He has appeared across five continents at major festival and venues in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, the Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Scotland, South Korea, and across the United States including Carnegie Hall, National Sawdust, The Walker Art Center, World Saxophone Congress, Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt, International Computer Music Conference, among many others. He has recorded over two dozen albums on labels Carrier, Noise Pelican, Klavier, GIA, farpoint, Avid Sound, and Emeritus, and his work has been recognized by awards and grants from DOWNBEAT, New Music USA, American Protégé International Competition, Music Teachers National Association, Mu Phi Epsilon Foundation, and others.
Kyle has presented over 200 premiere performances of new works by emerging and established composers and sound artists. He is a founding member of 113 (One Thirteen), a collective of composers and performers of experimental new music who curate concerts, educational programs, festivals, seminars, and masterclasses around the world. He is one half of Binary Canary, a woodwind-laptop improvisation duo alongside electronicist Ted Moore.
Kyle has served as Artist/Teacher of Saxophone at Virginia Tech since 2016 where he teaches classical and jazz saxophone, directs the Jazz Lab Band and New Music Ensemble, and is the Artistic Director of the Spatial Music Workshop and New Music + Technology Festival at the Institute of Creativity, Arts, and Technology.
Kyle has a Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degree from the University of Minnesota, and Bachelors of Music in performance and Bachelors of Music Education degrees from the University of North Texas. His teachers include Eugene Rousseau, Eric Nestler, Marcus Weiss, and James Dillon.
Kyle is a Yamaha, Légère, and E. Rousseau Mouthpiece Performing Artist.
Tuesday, Dec 6, 6pm, Cube
New Work by L2Ork, performed by L2Ork (World Premiere)
still motion by Ted Moore, performed by Ted Moore
A Man With a Gun Lives Here by Steven Snowden, performed by VT Percussion Ensemble
Grief by Juhi Bansal, performed by VT Faculty Chamber Players (World Premiere)
*Grief was commissioned through the Jessie S. Yee Memorial Prize
Wednesday, Dec 7, 6pm, Cube
Soloist Sarah Plum, violin
Personal Noise by Eric Lyon
LUNE by Sidney Richardson
Flowering Dandelion by Kyong Mee Choi
New Work by Randall West
Il Prete Rosso by Charles Nichols
Two Birds by Eric Lyon
New Work by Joo Won Park
Full Moon by Mari Takano
Sarah Plum bio
Praised as “both an intrepid new music champion and a violin virtuoso” (textura music magazine), Sarah Plum has had a prolific career advocating for new music, commissioning composers and bringing contemporary music to a wider audience. Personal Noise, Plum’s recent CD release of new music for violin and electronics, has been lauded as “a fantastic new release - a must have for everyone who loves meaningful sonic adventures” (Whole Note Magazine) and as “beguilingly imaginative with an engagingly adventurous sensibility” (Gramophone Magazine) As a soloist Plum’s "consistently stunning” playing (Third Coast Digest) has been featured at festivals and venues worldwide, including Ankunft:Neue Musik Festival at the Berlin Hauptbahnhof, Quiet Cue Intermedia in Berlin, Center for New Music San Francisco, Spectrum NYC, Unruly Music at the Marcus Center (Milwaukee), Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics as well as at residencies at Universities such as UC Davis, Duke, University of Iowa, Cal State Fullerton, James Madison University and others and as the featured guest soloist at conferences such as Third Practice and Electronic Music Midwest. Recent concerts include a solo CD release concert on Constellation’s Frequency Series in Chicago, solo performances at the Ear Taxi Festival in Chicago, SEAMUS (Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the US), Chimefest at the University of Chicago, New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival and chamber music performances with the Fulcrum Point Ensemble, Zodiac Festival Ensemble in France and at the University of Oklahoma’s String Academy. Sarah’s performance of Kyong Mee Choi’s Flowering Dandelion, a piece that was written for her, was chosen by popular vote for the SEAMUS archival recording of 2022. Sarah Plum moved to Chicago in 2018 and since then has been active in local new music, playing with groups such as Dal Niente Ensemble, Fulcrum Point Ensemble and Access Contemporary Music as well as collaborations with numerous Chicago composers and performers. She is on the faculty at both the Music Institute of Chicago and their elite Academy program. Plum was Professor of Violin and Viola at Drake University from 2007-2018. Sarah Plum earned a DMA at SUNY Stony Brook, after graduate and undergraduate studies at Juilliard. Her gold medal at the International Stulberg Competition in 1983 launched her performance career.
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