Electronic and computer music, no matter how attractively intricate and fascinating, presents a performance problem. It can be communicated privately from CD or internet connection to a small number of listeners, but for computer-music, “performance” is a kind of contradiction. The sense of shared occasion that draws audiences to concerts is hard to capture and maintain. Light shows, and other theatrical measures, can be attractive, but they tend to interfere with listeners who seek the auditory, somewhat abstract, pleasures of music for music’s sake.
This evening’s concert offers an alternative: a program of computer music presented with “live” performances from the solo-violin pieces of J.S. Bach. Slawson’s Mixed Doubles and the Bach pieces are both strongly sectional, suggesting their presentation more-or-less in alternation throughout the concert. Thus the program itself is “composed,” and to enhance the effects of this, we ask that the audience hold their applause until intermission.
Dan Stepner’s career is marked by unusual ideas and fresh approaches to a wide variety of music, new and old. His recordings include the Ives Violin and Piano Sonatas, with John Kirkpatrick; the late quartets of Beethoven, with the Lydian Quartet; and the J. S. Bach pieces for solo violin.
Wayne Slawson is an Emeritus Professor of Music at UC Davis. His book, Sound Color, was awarded the first Outstanding Publication Award of the Society for Music Theory. His computer-synthesized works of “color music” are organized on the basis of equivalent treatment of pitch class and vowel-like sound color.
Ensemble Mise-En is a New York-based contemporary music collective led by composer Moon Young Ha. Comprised of talented young musicians, Mise-en strives to bring a repertoire of challenging new sounds to diverse audiences, wishing to impart an experience that is simultaneously multi-cultural, intellectually stimulating, and aesthetically pleasing. As a collective, the diverse musicians have coalesced around an aesthetic agenda, crystallized in the name mise-en: “mee”, in Korean, means “beauty”, and “zahn”, “to decorate”, and the group unabashedly promotes “beautiful” artwork to increasingly diverse audiences of contemporary sounds.
Ensemble mise-en has premiered dozens of works by lesser known or underperformed composers alongside reigning powers of the contemporary scene. This has included portrait concerts of composers Bent Sørensen, Wolfgang Mitterer, Hans Abrahamsen, Sofia Gubaidulina, Lukas Ligeti and others.