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Real-time composer-performer collaboration as explored in Wilderness, a dance and audio installation

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From fall 2010 to spring 2011, the author was the pianist in twenty public performances of Wilderness, a site-adaptable dance and audio installation by choreographer Yanira Castro and composer Stephan Moore. Wilderness's music was generated as the result of an

From fall 2010 to spring 2011, the author was the pianist in twenty public performances of Wilderness, a site-adaptable dance and audio installation by choreographer Yanira Castro and composer Stephan Moore. Wilderness's music was generated as the result of an algorithmic treatment of data collected from the movements of both dancers and audience members within the performance space. The immediacy of using movement to instantaneously generate sounds resulted in the need for a real-time notational environment inhabited by a sight-reading musician. Wilderness provided the author the opportunity to extensively explore an extreme sight-reading environment, as well as the experience of playing guided improvisations over existing materials while incorporating lateral thinking strategies, resulting from a real-time collaboration between composer and performer during the course of a live performance. This paper describes Wilderness in detail with particular attention focused on aspects of the work that most directly affect the pianist: the work's real-time notational system, live interaction between composer and performer, and the freedoms and limitations of guided improvisation. There is a significant amount of multi-media documentation of Wilderness available online, and the reader is directed toward this online content in the paper's appendix.

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2012

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The Soul Unto Itself: A Collaboration Between a Performer and a Composer Creating a New Song Cycle

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"The Soul Unto Itself," a chamber music song cycle, was commissioned by the author, Rosa LoGiudice, and composed by William Clay, a doctoral candidate in composition at Arizona State University. The cycle was

ABSTRACT

"The Soul Unto Itself," a chamber music song cycle, was commissioned by the author, Rosa LoGiudice, and composed by William Clay, a doctoral candidate in composition at Arizona State University. The cycle was conceived and composed in the summer and fall of 2019. The chamber ensemble was a sextet comprised of Megan Law, mezzo-soprano, Kristi Hanno, clarinet, Emilio Vazquez, violin, Rittika Gambhir, bassoon, Nathaniel De la Cruz, double bass, and Rosa LoGiudice, piano, all based in Tempe, Arizona. The song cycle was premiered in a lecture recital on December 8, 2019 at Hammer and Strings Conservatory in Gilbert, AZ.

"The Soul Unto Itself" is a cycle of six songs based on poems of Emily Dickinson. The poems all have common themes of personal transformation achieved through the introspective observations of the poet. An unusual chamber ensemble was chosen to include instruments not commonly used in vocal chamber music in order to create a greater variety of musical colors and timbres. This project included the creation of the musical score, a live performance that was video recorded, and the research paper. This document discusses the process of working with the composer, rehearsing the music as it was being composed, and negotiating revisions necessary to make the music more effective in performance. Each song is discussed in detail, especially the connection between the music and poetry, the overall form of the song, revisions discussed and implemented, and important motivic relationships between the songs that unify the cycle. In summary, the process of collaborating with a composer is a rewarding experience for both the performers and the composer, as everyone is challenged to improve their craft and overcome obstacles to achieve a successful performance.

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2020