Electroacoustic Concert at UB Will Open Listeners' Ears And Minds

Works by international star and UB students, faculty and alumni will be on the unusual program

By Patricia Donovan

Release Date: March 13, 2012

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The award winning and internationally recognized composer, Tomas Henriques, assistant professor of music at Buffalo State College, will be among the performers taking part in the 13th annual Spring Black Box Concert presented by the University at Buffalo's Lejaren Hiller Computer Music Studios in the Department of Music.

The showcase of electroacoustic music will take place March 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the Black Box Theater, Center for the Arts, UB North Campus and is free of charge and open to the public.

The program will feature works by UB students, faculty and alumni, including the acclaimed composer David Durant, DM.

"This is an opportunity for people to hear musical elements stretched, layered and combined in fascinating ways," says Ethan Hayden, concert coordinator, and a graduate student of music at UB.

Henriques, a UB alumnus, will perform works using a self-designed instrument inspired by the trombone, called a "Double Slide Controller."

"Think of a slide trombone, but with two slides able to work simultaneously," says Hayden. He says the slides work in combination with the fingers on each of the player's hands, allowing for new streams of exploration, putting the ensemble complexities of a small group into the focused expression of a single performer.

Electroacoustic music combines electronic and computer technology as part of the compositional process in order to manipulate sound beyond its fundamental acoustic limits. It is part of an evolution of possibility moving from simple amplification to abstract articulation.

"So many of the concepts showcased here will let the audience hear music from a new and different aesthetic point of view," Hayden says.

Some of the night's scheduled pieces are fixed media compositions which employ basic sounds previously recorded by the artist, then genetically deconstructed, spliced and reassembled.

"Andrew Babcock, a UB graduate whose work will be featured in the program, did this with the sound of a cello" says Hayden, adding that Babcock says it evokes images of Lego and Fraggle Rock.

It is during these fixed media pieces that the lights in the Black Box Theater will be dimmed to encourage a form of sensory concentration.

"We want to remove any visual stimulation during this part of the evening," says Hayden, "because by doing so, the music becomes entirely about what is heard, nothing else, which helps listeners get inside the piece."

According to Hayden, the elecroacoustic music is an avenue for listeners to appreciate the evocative qualities of a single sound and the infinite possibilities represented by that sound.

"Take something simple, a spoken syllable, and alter it so that you bring attention to details that often go unnoticed," he says.

"Once you experience that," he says, "you begin to understand how special a sound can be."

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.