I was saddened this past April when I heard that Max Mathews died. As the SEAMUS Newsletter editor from 2005-2008, I had an opportunity to interview him shortly after his 80th birthday celebration at CCRMA.  He was deeply involved with perfecting an instrument conceived by Henry Cowell called the Rhythmicon and had just presented a realtime performance of Cowell’s work, Rhythmicana, for Rhythmicon and Orchestra.  It was really impressive hearing him talk about all of the things he still wanted to accomplish in his early 80’s.  If I ever reach that age, I hope to be as engaged with life as he was.  Below is a link to the Mathews interview.  I also included a couple of other interviews that may be of interest (one with Miller Puckette, and the other with Joel Chadabe).

In the April 2006 issue of the SEAMUS Newsletter, I interviewed Tom Welsh about this book long before its publication.  At that time, Tom was constructing a detailed timeline to include in the book.

The San Francisco Tape Music Center,

1960’s Counterculture and the Avant Garde.

I met Tom in Houston while he was managing a Stefano Scodanibbio tour.  In 2009, I finally had a chance to review as a followup in the SEAMUS Newsletter and found it a truly fun read...highly recommended...

Click here to read my review.

For two years (2008-2009), I served as Composer In Residence at Sharpstown High School for the Houston Symphony Education and Outreach Program.  This was part of a national music education program sponsored by the Fidelity FutureStage program.  This short clip gives an overview of what my aims were in the composition program.  The clip was produced by Fidelity FutureStage and directed/produced by Thomas Yaroschuk.  A feature article about this residency also appeared in the Houston Chronicle.

...a few things from the recent past...

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Recent awards, commissions, residencies:

2012: Fulbright Senior Scholar Grant to live in Taipei, Taiwan

2012: Duncan Award for Academic Excellence, Rice University

2012, 2010, 2006: Residency at Acadia Summer Arts Program

2010: Brown Teaching Grant, Rice University

2009: Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters

2009: Commission from Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program

2009: Commission from Art of Elan series in San Diego

2008: John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for Music Composition

2006: Commission from Meet the Composer Commissioning Music USA

2005: Commission from Fromm Music Foundation

2005: Commission from Houston Arts Alliance

Composer In Residence

This artist’s rendition shows James Turrell’s new Skyspace currently under construction at Rice University.  I am involved with specifying a 14-discrete-channel sound system for this structure, the first time a Turrell Skyspace will have an integrated audio system included in its design.  The speakers will be embedded into the walls of the space making the sound sources invisible to observers. 

I am working on a new piece entitled Ten Directions to celebrate the unveiling of this structure in Winter 2011.  The ten directions are the four cardinal points (N, S, E, W), the four half-cardinal points (NW, SW, NE, SE) and the nadir and zenith.  Many of the world’s most ancient cultures have rituals in connection with the 10 directions that go back thousands of years.  To me, the concept of “ten directions” connects sky and earth, a very elemental idea which resonates with my perception of Turrell’s work.

Last summer, I lived in Taipei, Taiwan with my family.  In addition to attending several cultural events (see NOTES), learning about the education system (my daughter is enrolled in 3rd grade at a Taipei public school), and practicing my elementary Mandarin, I enjoyed the incredible food this city offers.  CNNGo recently associated Taipei with the mortal sin of gluttony.  This caused some outrage there, but judging from how often I was tempted towards gluttonous behavior, I understand the connection!

Chicago saxophone virtuoso Steve Duke and I are collaborating on a new interactive electroacoustic work for Spring 2011.  After years of performing on alto, Steve is switching back to tenor, the horn he started on.  He recently purchased a new Rampone tenor sax and our project will be the first piece he will premiere on his new horn.  The excerpt below, “Gaggle of Tenors,” is a tiny snippet from the work-in-progress...this may or may not find its way into the final version.

photo credit: jacques.c@www.e7go.tw