3/23–3/24/2021 CompFest 2021

Page 1



This virtual concert is presented by the Department of Music at Emory University. music.emory.edu

Photographs and Recordings Digital capture or recording of this concert is not permitted. Cover Photo By Mark Teague



Emory CompFest 2021 Co-Authorship in Electro-Acoustic Music Live performances from Atlanta, Brooklyn, and Huddersfield, UK, streaming via Twitch from Experimental Sound Studio, Chicago Tuesday, March 23 and Wednesday, March 24 Co-produced by the Department of Music at Emory University and Experimental Sound Studio, Chicago

Tuesday, March 23, 8:00 p.m. Fake Radiolab

Adam Mirza (b. 1978) Akiva Zamcheck (b. 1989)

Program Note Fake Radiolab is the name of an ongoing performance project in which we irreverently adopt the mannerisms and mania of radiophonic personalities and media genres (e.g., YouTube rants, ASMR sessions, self-help narrations, dream sequences, radio plays, podcasts, nature documentaries) to playfully/seriously jar the clarity and authority imparted to “content” by contemporary audio production. Acting as (unreliable) hosts of a live podcast, we present a kind of musicalized speech performance that juxtaposes multiple modes of audio narration against live synths, violin, and sampled audio fragments. Before the pandemic, we had presented Fake Radiolab in New York City and Miami as a live performance act: a (purported) live radio podcast taking place during an experimental music concert. This past fall, we shifted our focus to the recording studio, and in December 2020 (along with Adam’s wife, Rimona, as guest vocalist) we recorded new material towards an eventual album release. Recording the act further amplified already existing de-synchronizations between live and pre-recorded that infused all aspects of the “sonic matter” of the original project. From the get-go, the musical material of the title track was a clash of two domains: we live-improvised over a backing track of pre-recorded audio creating an audio mish-mash, a sound collage of our own voiceover alongside other audio fragments. Operating remotely in preparation for CompFest 2021 introduced a new layer of audio production to our signal chain, and along with it, the possibility for further interventions, ambiguities, and manipulations. The Zoom era has established a curious free-floating sense of being with others, privately public and connected through our disconnectedness. Split by monitor screens and widely tolerated unreliability of latency, software, and individual setups, no one will experience a concert-session in the same way. This is true even for the two performers who perform “together” separated by 865 miles of highway and the minimum theoretical latency of 4.6 milliseconds accrued by the digital data traveling at the speed of light. In practical terms, the audio streaming plugin Listento by Audiomovers (suggested for these concerts by Katie Young: see boundarymind, CompFest Day 2) allows us to broadcast our audio to each other as well as to our host re-streamer, the Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago, at a latency no lower than 100ms, which is about the time it takes to get from the end 4

of one word to the beginning of the next . . . unless, of course, you think about it too much, in which case it begins to affect your performance by introducing a thought-latency, which itself can induce innumerable other forms of feedback-related issues, difficult to diagnose or treat. (Is there space-time enough in the Grove entry to describe chamber music version 2.0?) With further internal system latency and additional multi-camera video feeds sent separately through OBS into a separate Skype session, the only thing we can be sure of is that no one will hear or see the same thing as anyone else. As we sit in our living rooms/offices/kitchens/cars listening to a concert while cooking/cleaning/taking care of our kids/pets/selves, we may find each other here/there/around trying to answer the question that echoes through the mic channel someone mistakenly left on, unmuted in some other open Zoom session (you can have two open at once), a question that may occupy our minds and prompt us in turn to question the sound of the voice/s coming out over our laptop’s tinny speakers even as the sound of the voice/s inside our heads simmers softly into the sounds of the internet itself humming sweetly along perhaps alone blissfully uncaring and triumphant: just how meta you wanna getta? — Program note by Adam Mirza and Akiva Zamcheck.


About the Artists Akiva Zamcheck is a PhD candidate in the Department of Music at New York University (NYU), where he researches the relationship between sound and the law, in the context of new forms of urban development. In nonpandemic times, he is active as a guitarist on Broadway and as an adjunct professor at NYU. He is co-founder of ensemble mise-en, a contemporary music ensemble and performance space in Brooklyn. He tours frequently with Woodpainting, a live film-based multimedia ensemble. Akiva’s work in electronic media interrogates the manipulative, sensual affects of digital production. He is thrilled to be working and performing with Emory students and faculty this spring. Adam Mirza is a composer and sound artist working in acoustic, electronic, and multimedia contexts. His music has been presented at the Zurich New Music Days, the DiMenna Center in New York City, the Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Center in Kiev, the New York Electroacoustic Music Festival, and other venues in the United States and abroad. Currently he is at work on a solo album of acoustic chamber music that will be released by New Focus Recordings and a series of audio-video poems titled Naegleria Fowleri based on texts by his wife Rimona Afana. Previous collaborators have included the International Contemporary Ensemble, JACK Quartet, Argento Ensemble, New Thread Quartet, and the Ekmeles Vocal Ensemble. An exponent of DIY and collective music-making, he has collaborated with young composers and musicians in the more than 40 concerts he has produced or co-produced through the new music organization Amp, a new music festival, and an NEA funded series “Pairings” at the Tank in New York City. As an assistant professor of composition at Emory University, Mirza teaches courses involving composition for acoustic instruments, recording, acousmatic music, and live electronic music.

Wednesday, March 24, 3:00 p.m. Please join us on Zoom for a webinar discussion on Co-Authorship and Creativity moderated by Emory Dance faculty George Staib. Participants from Emory CompFest 2021 will include Katherine Young, Linda Jankowksa, Adam Mirza, and Akiva Zamcheck.


Wednesday, March 24, 8:00 p.m. Untitled Work-In-Progress

Rachel Ofotokun (b. 2000)

Emilio Zurita Ontiveros, choreographer

Program Note This collaboration focuses on the underappreciated aspects of nature and sound as explored through ambient sounds and dance. Emilio’s choreography explores ideas of decomposition, particularly the cycling of nutrients that sustains the ecosystem, yet often goes unnoticed. Similarly, the music for this collaboration is derived from the often-unnoticed sounds produced from body movements, through dance and other daily activities. Together, we hope these overlooked details of nature and life will work toward interesting connections. —Program note by Rachel Ofotokun and Emilio Zurita Ontiveros.

About the Artists Rachel Ofotokun is a third-year undergraduate at Emory University from Lilburn, Georgia. She studies music composition and African studies. Her interest in music began at a young age with piano lessons which blossomed into an interest in composition. She draws inspiration from many things but generally nature, cinematic scenes, and body movement motivate her musical pursuits. Emilio Zurita Ontiveros was born in Mexico City, Mexico, in 1999. He is a junior majoring in dance and movement studies, with a double major in biology. Before coming to Emory, he studied in Mexico City and began dancing at age 16 after taking a musical theater summer class with his older sister. He danced at Flash Dance Studio, a competition dance school in Mexico City, until August 2018. Upon graduating high school, he moved to Atlanta for college. He has been a part of the Emory Dance Company as a dancer since fall 2018 and is currently creating original work as a choreographer for the spring 2021 Emory Dance Company showcase. He has also created and performed in original work for AHANA Dance, the largest student-run dance group on campus, and is currently serving on the executive board of AHANA Dance. As a biology major, he finds a lot of his inspiration in nature, and he is interested in finding the artistic expression that can come from scientific concepts.


Ventures Across the Hellstar Phaunos

Ann Felicia Sinsuan (b. 2000)

John Huynh, artist

Program Note This work-in-progress is a collaboration between two artists bringing to life the re-imagined world of Little Red Riding Hood. A crew known as “The Little Red” scours the hellish forest planet, Phaunos, in search of the Grandmother crew. In this expedition, the crew travels throughout otherworldly terrain, each with unique environments and creatures. Join the Little Red on their journey in search of what was lost. This collaboration features art by John Huynh and music by Ann Felicia Sinsuan. In the making of this work, John sent mood boards and concept sketches to Ann, who then created music samples that fit the art. This process of sending visual and audio sketches back and forth was a key factor in creating this piece. We hope you enjoy this experience! ­—Program note by John Huynh and Ann Felicia Sinsuan.

About the Artists John Huynh is an illustration major at SCAD on the concept art track. He draws and paints with a passion, but in his downtime, he enjoys playing video games and attempting to impress others with his signature curry dishes. Ann Felicia Sinsuan is a third-year student at Emory double majoring in chemistry and music. She hopes to use music and art to communicate stories and messages filled with vivid emotion. In her free time, she enjoys drawing, taking naps, and not burning the house down while baking confections.

Untitled Work-In-Progress

Sawyer Gray (b. 1999)

Hayden Hubner, choreographer; Calvin Bruno, drummer; Xavier Bell, dancer, Emilio Zurita Ontiveros, dancer

Program Note Our currently untitled project is a duet dance accompanied by drums, electric guitar, and recorded music. I started my search for a collaborator by trolling Facebook and Instagram for artists and found Hayden on the Facebook page for Emory Filmmakers. We began trading ideas back and 8

forth, sharing choreography and music. Once they got into the rehearsal spaces, Hayden began working with the dancers to see what music worked, and we formed an initial idea of what the piece would become. I thought Calvin, whom I knew from playing at parties on campus and with the jazz program, would be a great musical collaborator. Between drum kit and guitar, I have a large sound palette, but not a daunting one. At this stage in the project, we are exploring the musical devices at our disposal (motif, mimesis, and silence) and how they aid in developing a theme within the piece. We’ve also mapped out the piece in a three-act narrative form. I’ve recorded free improvisations with Calvin and am using that as well as recordings from the dancers’ rehearsal to compose the music for the piece. —Program note by Sawyer Gray (music), Hayden Hubner (choreography),

About the Artists Sawyer Gray is a junior majoring in music composition. In his work, he explores intersections of jazz, electronic, and pop music. He has played guitar in two Emory Jazz Combos and the Emory Tango Ensemble. Gray was first drawn to the stage after attending various blues festivals across the delta with his family. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, he hasn’t been on any stages recently. Instead, he has been spending most of his creative time between Ableton Live, Sibelius, Zoom, and .pdf textbooks, and, of course, listening to everything he can find. Hayden Hubner is a photographer and choreographer born in Nashville, now based in Atlanta. Hubner’s work stems from an interest in the ways dance and images function to communicate empirical truths about the human experience as no other inquiries do. By joining emotional inquiry and historical knowledge, she seeks to convey personal, social, and political experience. By combining personal memory with an imagined future, this artistic research is an attempt to embody and understand emotional stories that are woven into experiences, memories, and dreams. Hayden transferred to Emory in fall 2019 and is now a senior majoring in dance and integrated visual arts.



Linda Jankowska (b. 1984) Katherine Young (b. 1980)

Program Note boundarymind is a long-distance sonic art project in which objects, memories, personal histories, acts of tenderness and sharing, and experiences of (dis)location sonically constellate into expansive and layered musical/ performative structures. Together we have built boundarymind’s soundworld using objects with sentimental meaning and memory-evoking power. The evening-length electroacoustic sound piece and aggregating installation has been created with the collaboration and support of filmmaker Kera MacKenzie, sculptor Molly Roth, Experimental Sound Studio, and 6018North. The entire multi-movement performance piece and installation were set to open/premiere in June 2020. Due to Covid-19, these events have been postponed. For tonight’s streaming concert, we will present two fixed-media audio pieces. The first will be accompanied by rehearsal and development footage, bringing audiences into our working process. The second features a video by Kera MacKenzie. The presentation will conclude with a livestreamed improvisation with us performing together (apart) from Huddersfield, UK (Linda), and Atlanta (Katherine). —Program note by Linda Jankowska and Katherine Young.


About the Artists Linda Jankowska, Poland/UK, is a musician whose artistic practice orbits around long-term collaborations and multifaceted modes of working with sound that stretch her limitations. Primarily a violinist, she works at an intersection of contemporary extended instrumental performance, sound art, improvisation, and composition. She is also an active concert producer, contemporary performance researcher, and educator. Linda is a founding member and co-artistic director of Distractfold Ensemble. Distractfold received the Kranichstein Music Prize for Interpretation from Internationales Musikinstitute Darmstadt in 2014. Together with Distractfold she held residencies at Harvard, Stanford and Columbia Universities. In 2017 she also curated and co- produced Cut & Splice Festival in collaboration with Sound and Music and BBC Radio 3. She performed internationally at festivals such as KLANG, rainy days, Kalv Festival, International Summer Courses Darmstadt, Le Bruit de la Musique, Nordic Music Days, Bludenzer Tage Zeitgemäßer Musik and at Kammer Klang (London) and Outer Ear (ESS Chicago) concert series, among others. She recorded for Kairos and Another Timbre. She has also performed in largescale dance productions with Sadler’s Wells, New Movement Collective and Nagelhus Schia Dance Company. Katherine Young makes electroacoustic music and sonic art using expressive noises, curious timbres, and kinetic structures to explore the dramatic physicality of sound, shifting interpersonal dynamics, and tensions between the familiar and the strange. Collaboration is central to her practice. The LAPhil, Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW, Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt, Third Coast Percussion, Ensemble Dal Niente, Bludenzer Tage zeitgemäßer Musik, and others have commissioned her music. She has worked closely with Wet Ink, Ensemble Nikel, WasteLAnd, Distractfold Ensemble’s Linda Jankowska, and Yarn/Wire. Her installation work has been commissioned by the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art. As a bassoonist and improviser, Katherine amplifies her instrument and employs a flexible electronics setup. She performs often as a soloist, and her debut solo album garnered praise in the Wire (“Bassoon colossus”) and Downbeat (“seriously bold leaps for the bassoon”). She has documented her work on numerous recordings, including her debut with Sam Scranton as Beautifulish (out December 2020 on Shinkoyo) and a duo with Anthony Braxton. Katherine teaches composition, improvisation, and electronic music at Emory University.


Music at Emory Music at Emory brings together students, faculty, and world-class artists to create an exciting and innovative season of performances and events. In a typical year, Music at Emory presents more than 150 events across multiple Emory venues; however, in this challenging season, we are committed to coming together virtually for a variety of musical offerings. For spring 2021 concerts, we remain steadfast in our mission and continue to present events virtually based on guidance from Emory University and public health officials. Please visit music.emory.edu for the most up-to-date schedule and announcements.