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Black Box Concert to celebrate electro-acoustic and computer music

By PATRICIA DONOVAN

Published March 21, 2013

Patti Cudd

Percussionist Patti Cudd

The Hiller Computer Music Studios of the Department of Music will present its annual spring "Black Box" concert of electro-acoustic and computer music at 7:30 p.m. March 27 in the Black Box Theater in the Center for the Arts, North Campus.

This year’s performance, which is free of charge and open to the public, will be presented with support from the Department of Music and UB’s Robert and Carol Morris Center for 21 Century Music.

The concert will feature works for percussion and electronics—some of them new—performed by internationally recognized percussion soloist and chamber musician Patti Cudd, a member of the new music ensemble Zeitgeist.

Cudd has given concerts and master classes throughout the United States, Korea, Thailand, China, Mexico and Europe, and has worked closely with some of the most innovative composers of our time, among them Brian Ferneyhough, Morton Feldman, Roger Reynolds, Pauline Oliveros, John Zorn and Frederic Rzewski.

A senior lecturer in music and professor of music at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Cudd received her Master of Music degree from UB, where she studied with the distinguished percussionist Jan Williams before receiving her doctorate from the University of California, San Diego.

She has premiered more than 150 new works, and this year's Black Box concert will feature five works composed especially for her, among them compositions by Richard Dudas and Ethan Hayden, which will receive their premiere performances that evening.

The concert will feature work by composers who are current and former faculty members, students and alumni. 

They include:

  • “Duo for Cajón and Computer” by Cort Lippe, associate professor of music at UB. It was composed for the cojón, an Afro-Peruvian box-shaped drum on which the performer sits and plays by striking the box's front face with his or her hands. 
  • “Wahrheit sass ein buckliger Zwerg darin,” composed for the kalimba by Ethan Hayden, a doctoral student in music at UB. The kalimba is a hand-held thumb piano from sub-Saharan Africa. 
  • A composition by former UB visiting professor Richard Dudas, which will feature, among other instruments, the West African djembe, a rope-tuned, skin-covered goblet drum played with bare hands.
  • Work by composers Jeff Herriott and Brett Masteller, both UB alumni, which take two very different approaches to the expansion of the repertoire for bass drum and electronics.
  • “Snare Alchemy,” by alumnus Barry Moon, which explores and expands the timbres of the solo snare drum. 
  • An electroacoustic piece, “Trittico Mediterraneo,” by UB alumnus Kostas Karathanasis, an electroacoustic composer who draws inspiration from modern poetry, art cinema, abstract painting, mysticism, mythology and the depth psychology of Jung.

Dudas, who writes for acoustic instruments, has been involved with computer music since the late 1980s. He is currently an assistant professor of music at Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea.

Herriott, an associate professor of music at the University of Wisconsin, White Water, studied under Lippe and holds a PhD in composition from UB. His work has been performed and commissioned by a number ensembles and players, including Michael Lowenstern, Guido Arbonelli and Arraymusic.

Masteller, also a former student of Lippe, holds a BA and MA from UB, and is a doctoral candidate in music composition at Northwestern University. His work, which includes compositions for acoustic, electro-acoustic and interactive computer, has been performed in the U.S., Europe and Australia.

Moon holds a PhD in music composition from UB. He works in sound/video production, real-time audio and video processing utilizing Max/MSP/Jitter, and interface design for performance and installation environments. He is an associate professor of humanities, arts and cultural studies at the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, Arizona State University. His installations have been presented in many venues here and abroad.

Karathanasis is an assistant professor of composition and music technology at the University of Oklahoma.