The Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States: Music from SEAMUS, vol. 32


SEAMUS releases Volume 32 of its ongoing series featuring electro-acoustic works from its 2022 annual festival at Western Michigan University. This volume includes pieces by Kristopher Bendrick, Kyong Mee Choi, Adam Mirza, Lisa Renée Coons, Robert McClure, Carolyn Borcherding, and Eli Stine.


Kristopher Bendrick’s progressively smaller TVs is based on the poem “Arrested Saturday Night” by Stephen Dobyns, which is an absurd narrative poem in which a daisy chain of people are watching each other through various forms of screens (windows, wind-shields, TV-screens, etc.). The piece contains rapid tonal shifts, much like the poem, in which it plays with the comedy and seriousness as well as the all around absurdism of the poem. The electronics heighten the intensity and emotion of the piece, while also playing with the idea of progressively smaller TVs by filtering the voice to make it sound like it’s coming from various low-quality TVs.

Kyong Mee Choi’s Flowering Dandelion for violin paraphrases an intriguing part of J.S. Bach’s Violin Sonata in B minor, Adagio, and showcases the evolution of musical expression incorporating timbral and textural evolution. The gestures of musical ideas portray the images of a flowering dandelion.

Adam Mirza’s Snared, Wired, Crashed situates a solo percussionist as a kind of cyborg musician within an unwieldy interactive system. The work is built around a hybrid acoustic-electronic-digital instrument that uses contact mics and transducer drivers on the snare and crash cymbal (with an additional pair of drivers on a kick drum and thunder sheet) to create feedback pathways between the instruments. The percussionist acts simultaneously as instrumentalist and live sound engineer, using foot pedals to control live processing presets and feedback levels, attempting to mediate the intensities of the different, but interconnected, sound sources.

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Lisa Renée Coons’ Chimera’s Garden is a song of social isolation and feminine transformation, situating a protagonist-performer within a narrative environment of projection and sonic textures. It was created with flutist Shanna Pranaitis as part of Coons’s Narrative Environment series. In NE works, Coons develops two-dimensional creations of vellum, ink, text and found objects into multimedia compositions.

Robert McClure’s bloom, for piano and electronics was commissioned by and written for pianist Justin Snyder. The title references several images that contributed to the compositional process. It’s the tangled, rising bloom of jellyfish. It’s the soft, hazy blue glow emanating from fish and invertebrates from the ocean depths and bioluminescent algae shimmering on the surface. It is the vision of light surrounding, but not touching.

Carolyn Borcherding’s Life is was inspired by a particularly tumultuous time for the composer. It posits that meaning is built from small, day-to-day occurrences, rather than large events. Grand events are assembled by a series of smaller events that were by no means any less important. The piece is built on an ascending major seventh motive, which transforms and grows as it attempts to find resolution. Thus, reiterations and developments of this single motive knit together an experience far larger than itself.

Eli Stine’s Where Water Meets Memory is the byproduct of work the composer did at the Anheuser-Busch Coastal Research Center (Oyster, Virginia), recording sounds including oyster reefs. It examines our relationship to water and the rising of our oceans as a function of global warming. The work uses a higher-order ambisonic workflow, incorporates recorded or sampled instruments in each section, and works in a number of different electroacoustic styles. The resulting work is for full 3D fifth-order higher order ambisonics, presented here as an ambisonic UHJ render.

– Dan Lippel

Produced by SEAMUS

Mastered by Scott L. Miller

Graphic design by Alison Wilder

Sarah Plum

Sarah Plum began her performing career by winning the gold medal at the International Stulberg Competition in 1983. Since then she has carved out a distinctive role as a serious interpreter of a wide range of repertoire both old and new.

Soon after receiving her DMA at SUNY Stony Brook, Plum moved to Europe where she was a leading player with world-class orchestras such as the West German Radio Orchestra (WDR) and the London Philharmonic and a performer in new music ensembles such as Ensemble Moderne, Musik Fabrik and Nieuw Ensemble Amsterdam. Plum had the good fortune to take part in historic concerts of new music at the Luzerne Festival, the Festival Automne (Paris), and Ars Musica (Brussels) among others.

Plum has been touring with an evolving solo program of new music since she celebrated the release of her 2011 solo CD Absconditus (BGR 235) with a critically acclaimed performance at the Ankunft:Neue Musik Festival at the Berlin Hauptbahnhof. These concerts have brought her to festivals and venues worldwide such as Quiet Cue Intermedia (Berlin), the Center for New Music San Francisco, Spectrum New York, Unruly Music at the Marcus Center (Milwaukee), Stanford University’s CCRMA (center for computer research in music and acoustics) and the Cube at Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity among others.

In 2015 Plum released two CDs on the Bluegriffin label. Bela Bartok Works For Violin Volume 1 (BGR 373), is the first of a projected two CD set with her longtime duo partner Timothy Lovelace. Music for a New Century (BGR 371) features performances of two 21st century concertos: Yaël, a violin concerto from composer Sidney Corbett in a live recording from its American premiere and the Violin Concerto of Christopher Adler, which was commissioned by Plum. Whole Note Magazine wrote about this CD: "I can’t think of a better flag bearer than Sarah Plum who is quite brilliant here, or better performances or interpretations. This is an important addition to the contemporary violin concerto discography."

Recent concerts include appearances with 5th House Ensemble at Kalamazoo’s Festival of Sacred Music, the Harris Center in Folsom, California and the King Auditorium in Denver as well as their premiere of Daron Hagen’s Opera Orson Rehearsed, at the Studebaker Theatre in Chicago. In November she was a featured guest at the 3rd Practice Festival in Richmond Virginia where she performed music of Eric Moe, Joo Won Park and Ben Broening.

In the last 7 years alone Plum has commissioned more than 15 works. Currently, Mari Takano is writing a two violin concerto for Plum and noted Japanese soloist Michi Suguira and Berlin based composer Laurie Schwartz is creating a music theater piece for Plum inspired by the New York Dada figure, the Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven.

Plum has a CD in production which will contain world premiere recordings of new music for violin alone and with electronics, most of which was written for her by Eric Lyon, Jeff Herriot, Charles Nichols (a piece that was premiered at 3rd practice in 2014) Ben Broening, Mari Takano, Eric Moe and Mari Kimura. The projected release for this is Spring/Summer of 2019 on the Bluegriffin label.

Josh Perry

Acclaimed by the New York Times as a "creative percussionist," Josh Perry is a passionate advocate for contemporary music and interdisciplinary performance mediums. Perry, who is based in New York City, is a member of Iktus Percussion, ensemble mise-en, and Hotel Elefant.

Shanna Pranaitis

The radically traditional flutist Shanna Pranaitis fearlessly explores the growth edges of sonic possibility and creates profoundly moving immersive concert experiences by integrating new and historically re-imagined works with theater, movement, lighting and storytelling. Close collaborations with colleagues around the world have led to recitals and performances on five of the seven continents and include performances at such festivals as the Gaudeamus Muziekweek (NL) and Darmstädter Ferienkurse (DE),and in such hallowed halls as Carnegie Hall and the Tonhalle Zürich. Shanna is Co-Founder and ArtisticDirec- tor of Flute eXpansions, the first comprehensive e-learning platform of its kind with resources for the frontier of contemporary flute performance and composition. As an arts entrepreneurship coach, she specializes in strategic transformation for artists to live creatively fulfilled and financially empowered while powerfully anchored in their own authenticity. She performs on a Burkart flute and piccolo and Kingma bass and alto flutes.

Justin Snyder

An advocate of multidisciplinary collaboration, Justin Snyder has partnered with artists from an array of diverse backgrounds including choreographers, visual artists, perfumers, poets, performance artists, fashion designers, and laser artists. He has performed at venues such as The Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall, the U.S. Supreme Court, the Barbican Centre, the TEDx conference stage, Harvard University, the Marigny Opera House, The Horse Hospital (London), Sadler's Wells (with Pina Bausch Tanztheater Wuppertal), the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, the Mexican Cultural Institute (D.C.), Teatro del Lago (Chile), the Shanghai Concert Hall, and the Guangzhou Opera House.

Justin Massey

Canadian saxophonist Justin Massey is an interpreter of contemporary music based in Toronto, Canada. With an obsession of creating new sonorities and textures through the saxophone, Justin searches for obscure and unexplored sounds offered by the instrument and its unparalleled potential to create visceral and emotional music.

Kyong Mee Choi

Kyong Mee Choi, composer, organist, painter, poet, and visual artist, received several presti- gious awards and grants including John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, Robert Helps Prize, Aaron Copland Award, John Donald Robb Musical Trust Fund Commission, Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, First prize of ASCAP/SEAMUS Award, Second prize at VI Concurso Internacional de Música Eletroacústica de São Paulo among others. Her music was published at CIMESP (São Paulo, Brazil), SCI, EMS, ERM media, SEAMUS, and Détonants Voyages (Studio Forum, France). She is the Head of Music Composition at Roosevelt University in Chicago where she teaches composition and electro-acoustic music.

Adam Mirza

Adam Mirza is a composer and sound artist whose work involves the re-configuration and abstraction of bodily gestures and politically charged or otherwise culturally resonant sonic media. Mirza teaches composition and electronic music at Emory University.

Lisa Renée Coons

Lisa Renée Coons is a composer and sound artist with a special affinity to noise composition and experimentation. She is attracted to the sound palettes inherent in simple materials and creates welded sculptural instruments from found and salvaged objects. Her portfolio includes music for acoustic and electronic instruments, turntables, traditional ensembles and welded percussion sculptures.

Robert McClure

Robert McClure’s music attempts to discover beauty in unconventional places using non-traditional means. His work has been featured at festivals including NYCEMF, Beijing Modern Music Festival, ISCM, TIES, SEAMUS, and ICMC. His works may be found through ADJ•ective New Music, Resolute Music Publications, and Tapspace Publications as well as on SEAMUS Records, ABLAZE, and Albany labels. Robert has previously held positions at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and Soochow University in Suzhou, China. He currently serves as Assistant Professor of Composition/Theory and Director of Graduate Studies at Ohio University.

Carolyn Borcherding

Carolyn Borcherding is a composer and sound artist predominantly interested in building sounding and visual worlds within which performing bodies and audio gestures can exist together in fluid relationships. Her works have increasingly explored narrative constructs related to historical, cultural, and psychological topics.

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