Pisaro's Harmony Series revolve around the process of translating poetic works into text scores, which are then analyzed to find change in the implicit sound of the text, and developed into graphic scores for the performers; here presenting 9 of 34 pieces from the series.
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Label: Edition Wandelweiser Records
Catalog ID: EWR 0710
Squidco Product Code: 21819
Packaging: Cardstock 3 page foldover
Recorded at Los Angeles/San Diego, 2006/2007.
Michael Pisaro-composer, guitar, sine tones
Kathryn Pisaro-oboe, english horn
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1. 16a Where There Is 3:49
2. 11a Zwei Finger Im Abgrund 2:21
3. 12a Is 20:11
4. 13 The Shipwreck Of The Singular 5:03
5. 14 A Single Charm Is Doubtful 13:54
6. 15 No Longer Wild 6:08
7. 12d The Best Thing 16:14
8. 11c Sonnenfern 2:33
9. 16b Tomorrow 4:29
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"any tone, any tuning
The world of Michael Pisaro's Harmony Series revolves around the process of translation. In this collection of thirty-four pieces (nine of which are presented here) the composer translates a wide variety of poems into text scores. The first step is to literally trace each poem, as if one were making a stencil. A five-line poem might become a five-minute piece through this procedure. This kind of action is direct and purposely simple and it will provide a stable space from which each piece will develop. Call this architecture.
In the second step the composer seeks out the internal forces of the text. For example, a text suggesting proliferation is read as a shift from a barely to a clearly audible, multi-faceted sound. As the poem is already in motion, the composer seeks to harness energy rather than block flow. Evocative readings are eschewed in favor of direct transmutation. Asymptotes are drawn to the poem, resulting is an extremely fine mist of possibilities for the performers to tune (and detune) in performance. Call this material.
A piece is set in motion when the mist is sprayed - always lightly - through the stencil (think pathway, pinprick, or filter). This action creates a dynamic situation. As performers our ears focus as a version begins to take shape - it is unmistakable when this happens. A small flutter appears in the fabric of the piece. We notice sounds that cannot be traced back to any of the individual performers. Drawn in by the fluttering, one starts to know (or sense) what sounds are correct to play, even when there are no explicit rules for how they are to be chosen. The piece is thinking. Call this the point of contact.
To the performers the distance between score and realization will often seem impossibly large. To travel this distance is the defining experience of this music. Along the way, each realization establishes its own kind of weather system wherein complex relationships are created not only between (and within) the sounds but also the performers. On the other side of the stencil we are in unknown world - sun-distant, alive - immersed in a gently spinning mixture of tone, noise and silence, the radio having been tuned to a previously unheard channel. Call this harmony."-Greg Stuart
• Show Bio for Michael Pisaro
"Michael Pisaro was born in Buffalo in 1961. He is a composer and guitarist, a member of the Wandelweiser Composers Ensemble and founder and director of the Experimental Music Workshop, Calarts. His work is frequently performed in the U.S. and in Europe, in music festivals and in many smaller venues. It has been selected twice by the ISCM jury for performance at World Music Days festivals (Copenhagen,1996; Manchester, 1998) and has also been part of festivals in Hong Kong (ICMC, 1998), Vienna (Wien Modern,1997), Aspen (1991), London (Cutting Edge, 2007), Glasgow (INSTAL 2009), Huddersfield (2009), Chicago (New Music Chicago, 1990, 1991) and elsewhere.
He has had extended composer residencies in Germany (Künstlerhof Schreyahn, Dortmund University), Switzerland (Forumclaque/Baden), Israel (Miskenot Sha'ananmim), Greece (EarTalk) and in the U.S. (Birch Creek Music Festival, Wisconsin). Concert length portraits of his music have been given in Munich, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, Vienna, Merano (Italy), Brussels, New York, Curitiba (Brazil), Amsterdam, London, Tokyo, Austin, Berlin, Chicago, Düsseldorf, Zürich, Cologne, Aarau (Switzerland), and elsewhere.
He is a Foundation for Contemporary Arts, 2005 and 2006 Grant Recipient. Much of his music of the last several years is published by Edition Wandelweiser (Germany). Several CDs of his work have been released by such labels as Edition Wandelweiser Records, Compost and Height, confront, Another Timbre, Cathnor, Nine Winds and others, including most recently "transparent city, volumes 1-4", "an unrhymed chord", "hearing metal 1", "A Wave and Waves" and "harmony series (11-16)".
His translation of poetry by Oswald Egger ("Room of Rumor") was published in 2004 by Green Integer. He is Co-Chair of Music Composition at the California Institute of the Arts near Los Angeles. He has performed many of his own works and those of close associates Antoine Beuger, Kunsu Shim, Jürg Frey and Manfred Werder, and works from the experimental tradition, especially John Cage, Christian Wolff, James Tenney and George Brecht."-Edition Wandelweiser (http://www.wandelweiser.de/michael-pisaro.html)
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• Show Bio for Johnny Chang
"Berlin-based composer-performer Johnny Chang engages in extended explorations surrounding the relationships of sound/silence and the in-between areas of improvisation, composition, performance and listening. Current collaborations/projects include: Antoine Beuger, Alessandro Bossetti, Lucio Capece, Olivier Di Placido, JŸrg Frey, Chris Heenan, Christian Kesten, Annette Krebs, Luke Munn, Koen Nutters, Michael Pisaro, Derek Shirley."-Johnny Chang Website (https://johnnychchang.wordpress.com/)
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• Show Bio for Marc Sabat
"Canadian composer of Ukrainian descent Marc Sabat (*1965) has been based in Berlin since 1999. He makes pieces for concert and installation settings, drawing inspiration from investigations of the sounding and perception of Just Intonation and of various music traditions - folk, experimental and classical. He is a frequent collaborator, seeking fruitful interactions with other musicians and artists of visual and literary modes to find points of shared exploration and dialogue between various forms of experience. Sabat studied composition, violin and mathematics at the University of Toronto, at the Juilliard School in New York, and at McGill University, as well as working privately with Malcolm Goldstein, James Tenney and Walter Zimmermann. Together with Wolfgang von Schweinitz he has developed the Extended Helmholtz-Ellis JI Pitch Notation and is a pioneer of music written and performed in microtonal Just Intonation. He teaches composition and the theory and practice of intonation at the Universität der Künste Berlin. Scores and artist editions are available under a creative commons share-alike non-commercial license through Plainsound Music Edition."-Marc Sabat Website (http://www.marcsabat.com/MSbio.html)
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• Show Bio for Greg Stuart
"Greg Stuart is a percussionist whose work draws upon a mixture of music from the experimental tradition, Wandelweiser, improvisation, and electronics. His performances have been described as "a ghostly, gorgeous lesson in how close, concentrated listening can alter and enhance perception" (The New York Times). Since 2006, he has collaborated extensively with the composer Michael Pisaro, producing a large body of music comprised of pieces that focus on the magnification of small sounds through recording and layering, often in combination with field recordings and/or electronic sound. His role as an interpreter of Pisaro's compositions has been called "a David Tudor to Pisaro's Cage" (The Boston Globe). Stuart's most recent collaboration with the composer, Continuum Unbound, a three-disc box set on Gravity Wave, grew out of the pair's field recording work in Congaree National Park and was selected by The Wire as one of the best albums of 2014.
Stuart currently performs with fellow percussionists Tim Feeney and Sarah Hennies in the percussion trio, Meridian, and with computer musician Joe Panzner. Other recent collaborations include projects with Ryoko Akama, Erik Carlson, Antoine Beuger, Jürg Frey, Manfred Werder, Kunsu Shim, Phillip Bush, Nomi Epstein, and Speak Percussion. He has appeared as a featured performer at numerous festivals and notable venues presenting experimental music including MaerzMusik (Berlin), the Melbourne Festival, Café Oto (London), Arnolfini Centre for Contemporary Arts (Bristol), Gallery Kapelica (Ljubljana), Cha'ak'ab Paaxil (Mérida), Issue Project Room (New York), REDCAT (Los Angeles), Dreamland (Louisville), Elastic Arts Foundation (Chicago), New Music Co-Op (Austin), Philadelphia Sound Forum, and Non-Event (Boston) among others. He has recorded for numerous labels, including Edition Wandelweiser, Gravity Wave, Erstwhile, Cathnor, New World Records, Accidie, L'innomable, caduc, Lengua de Lava, Crisis, and Senufo Editions.
An enthusiastic educator, Stuart has given lectures, workshops, and performances at the University of Huddersfield, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Victorian College of Arts, Oberlin Conservatory, the University of Louisville, the New England Conservatory of Music, Harvard University, Florida State University, Georgia State University, and Tulane University. Stuart holds a D.M.A. and M.A. from the University of California, San Diego, and a BMus from Northwestern University. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of South Carolina School of Music in Columbia, SC where he teaches experimental music, music history, and runs the Experimental Music Workshop."-University of South Carolina, School of Music (https://www.sc.edu/study/colleges_schools/music/faculty-staff/Stuart.php)
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