News and Media
TIMARA Launches SAW 2015
March 19, 2015From June 14-21 this summer the TIMARA Department will host its annual Sonic Arts Workshop (SAW). Dedicated to high school students ages 15 years and older, the program provides broad exposure to the world of electroacoustic music and offers a variety of technical and creative resources. Topics will include field recording, real-time techniques, audio processing, and discussion of electronic music repertoire. The program is great for students headed towards conservatory studies, as well as those interested in experimenting with electronic and computer music. You can find more information, including the application, here (financial aid is available).
When I attended as a high-school student the program provided gave me a direction and a passion. I couldn't recommend anything else if you are interested in exploring sound as a medium of creation. - WJ
Playfest: March 13th and 14th
March 12, 2015What are the ways in which play enters into our everyday lives? To play with can be both joyous and sinister - from which perspective do we enter into the play of games, of music, of art? And, what are the ways in which we play, the ways we begin to change and shift our engagement with the world around us?
Play Festival is an interdisciplinary two day symposium at Oberlin that incorporates film screenings, concerts, gallery events, talks, panels, papers, and audio walks that focus on the tactics and strategies of play. All events are free and open to the public.
Featuring: Brian House, Jordan Bartee, Brenda Hutchinson, and Peter Bussigel
Brian House is a media artist whose work traverses alternative geographies, experimental music, and a critical data practice. He is interested in the contingent qualities of information and how we experience time in network culture. By constructing embodied, participatory systems, he negotiates between algorithms and the rhythms of everyday life. Brian's work has been exhibited in museums and galleries including MoMA (NYC), MOCA (LA), Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, Eyebeam Art & Technology Center, and performed at venues such as Issue Project Room, Monkeytown, The Stone and many more.
Jordan Bartee is an experimental designer, philosopher, and engineer. As founder of Special Stage Systems, he designs and manufactures avant-garde modular electronics. His voltage controlled video game console Ming Mecca has received international attention and been featured in articles by Kotaku, Joystiq, and Engadget. He currently lives and works in Seattle, WA. He will be discussing his work with Ming Mecca and will provide a workshop session where participants can get hands on experience with the console.
Brenda Hutchinson was born in Trenton, New Jersey and is a composer and sound artist whose work is based on the cultivation and encouragement of openness in her own life and in those she works with. Through her work with large-scale experiments in socially based improvisations and encounters, Brenda has developed a body of work based on a perspective about interacting with the public and non-artists through personal, reciprocal engagement with listening and sounding. She will be presenting "What Can You Do?" a celebration and reclamation of public space through direct interaction among strangers.
Peter Bussigel is a composer and artist based in Providence, RI. He makes unpredictable sound systems for concerts, installations, recordings, and video. He also performs on brass instruments and electronics and teaches at Brown University, where he is artist-in-residence at the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts.
Also featuring intermedia artists, composers, dancers and more from Oberlin and around the world:
Joo Won Park
For the full schedule click here. -GJ
TIMARA with female:pressure
March 10, 2015female:pressure is an international network of over 1300 female artists from 64 countries in the wider fields of electronic music. The blog was inspired by Bjork's Pitchfork article in January 2015 where she notes the lack of photographic documentation of women at work in the studio.
This photo shows (left to right) Lyn Goeringer (faculty) and students Sarah Snider, Margaret McCarthy, and Judy Jackson working in Studio 4 on various analog synths (Buchla Easel, ARP 2600, and Buchla 100/200). Additional female TIMARA majors include Christy Rose, Kaeli Mogg, and Jackie Milestone.
Sam Fisher Composes for Cleveland Public Theater
February 12, 2015I spoke with Samuel Fisher, recent TIMARA grad ('14) who is already making waves in the world of theater through his work with the Cleveland Public Theatre. He composed an original score for the new performance, Fire on the Water, inspired by the infamous 1969 burning of the Cuyahoga River. It is the final production in CPT's Elements Cycle, a series devoted to issues of sustainability and environmentalism.
GJ: How did you get involved in composing for theater?
SF: My involvement in theater as a composer and sound designer began within the arts community at Oberlin. Throughout high school and during my transitional year at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music I spent a lot of time writing music in isolation- not just physical isolation but intellectual, creative isolation. I grew up in a quaint Georgia suburb where there were not a lot of established resources or communities for sharing and collaboration in the arts, especially when it came to doing something aesthetically or conceptually challenging. First stepping into the Oberlin's artistic landscape left me reeling. I was surrounded by this community of creative, talented, ambitious, and intelligent visual artists, film makers, musicians of all stripes, dancers, computer programmers, theater makers and more. I couldn't walk more than ten feet without meeting someone I'd like to have an evening-length conversation with. Seeing the curiosity and artistic awareness that was alive in my peers and teachers made me eager to collaborate. I knew, in some way, that my best growth would come from engaging with the open exchange of content and ideas through a variety of modes of expression that can allow a group of individuals to become a composite thinking, feeling supra-human mechanism. This is the thing that lead me into theater as well as the thing that holds me there. The TIMARA Program did wonders to help me realize this desire to collaborate. The intersection of technology and music, an interdisciplinary study in it's own right, is viewed in TIMARA as a foundational skill-set for exploring how a student's creative input might fit within a variety of contexts. My creative path through school included experimentation with film, installation works, and software design but landed squarely, given time, within the practice of creating auditory worlds for theater and dance pieces.
GJ: How did your relationship with CPT start?
SF: I was introduced to Cleveland Public Theater, not so coincidentally, in a semester long arts intensive built around the study of artistic collaboration. This program, created in part by our own Tom Lopez, was called OASIS. It was designed to give a selected group of students from a variety of artistic disciplines the opportunity to work in a focused, close collaborative environment within Oberlin without the distraction of other classes or extracurricular obligations. Throughout the course of the program we worked with Raymond Bobgan and Chris Seibert from Cleveland Public Theater to develop our creations into material for the devised theater work Water Ways. Water Ways was the first play in Raymond's element series. Fire on The Water, through sheer poetic justice, happens to be the last. During my senior year, one year after closing Water Ways, Raymond put out a call for applications for CPT's inaugural Kulas Composer Fellowships - positions for early career composers to gain experience in the theater. I was eager to apply, seeing this as an ideal continuation of a professional pathway into designing for theater. During the 2013-14 season I was one of three composer fellows, each of whom designed one show. The fellowship I am engaged in this year is a restructured take on this, with only one fellow who effectively absorbs the time commitment and budget of the other two positions. My current fellowship consists of designing original scores for three shows, operating and designing for a big holiday show, producing an album of Raymond's music from previous shows, and creating a installation piece for Pandemonium (CPT's annual party/fundraiser/happening.) It has been a tremendous opportunity to grow in the art-form. The unique challenges of each production have enabled me to grow leaps and bounds as a designer.
GJ: Awesome. What was the process of composing for Fire on the Water like?
SF: Creating Fire on the Water was a fearless and rapid process, full of twists and turns for all involved. I am overjoyed that I was able to bring back the Vaudevillian trio that Rachel Iba, Lisa Yanofsky and I started in OASIS with the addition of Brian Bacon on percussion. Our awkward little ensemble of violin, keyboard, multi-percussion, and vocals aplenty performs an eclectic host of incidental music and a few of own big musical numbers. I began creating the music by watching the many self-contained scenes of the play and rapidly scribbling down the ways that music might interact with the scene. With no script and only a tentative sense of the play's arrangement, there was little room to develop most of the musical material beyond it's outline during the rehearsal process. Once Rachel arrived from Boston we had a triumphant series of band rehearsals full of discovery and invention that fed straight into the first day of tech, when all of the show's music was integrated with the action.
GJ: What is in the works for you next at CPT?
SF: My next design for CPT is a world premiere of a new play called In A Word, directed by Beth Wood. It is a beautiful, clever, and surprising script about coping mechanisms and the constant attempt to repair one's emotional self in the aftermath of a traumatic loss. The sound design, like the play, will offer a challenge to the delineation between objective and imagined reality. It will be an exploration of how naturalistic sounds can give voice to the hidden world of one's deepest emotional self and how the music of this emotional world sometimes chooses to speak through us even when we are not listening.
Fire on the Water is up at the Cleveland Public Theatre until February 14th. Learn more and purchase tickets here. -GJ
Making waves on the air with Paulus Van Horne
February 3, 2015I recently talked to Paulus Van Horne ('16) about his radio show, Organized Noise, on WOBC last semester.
GJ: How did you come up with the idea for your show?
PVH: I started planning Organized Noise when I was interning at Q2 Music on the Meet The Composer podcast (part of WQXR/WNYC) with TIMARA alum, Alex Overington ('11). The production and format of that show are heavily indebted to Radiolab and it is no coincidence because both shows are produced on the same floor! I accidentally almost knocked Jad over one time. It was glorious. He does not know who I am am... but no matter! After 2 months worth of long days editing interview tape for MTC, I decided to make my own interview-based music program. I sent out 5-10 emails to composers I admired and received one reply... Since then my ratio has improved as I get in contact with composers through more stable means, like alumni connections or social networks.
GJ: What are you trying to achieve through these interviews?
PVH: The abbreviated description of the show is "a show about hearing, perception and understanding in new and experimental music." I guess that covers a lot of ground but basically I am interested in illuminating how composers of electronic music experience and think about sound. The end goal is to give the uninterested and/or uninitiated ways of approaching these new and often strange soundworlds. As a conservatory student and TIMARA major, I think I often forget my training, that I have had years of music education to condition me to "understand" or "appreciate" (for lack of better words) sounds and soundworlds that may otherwise not be considered worthy of attention or of the definition: "music." So Organized Noise hopefully, through interviews and heavy sound design, makes some of this music more graspable.
GJ: Will you continue the show this semester?
PVH: I think the beauty of WOBC shows are that they allow us all to experiment. I will find something different but equally as rewarding. I have been really inspired by the work of surrealist radio-poet Joe Frank (his show airs on WNYC the hour preceding my show!) and radio drama podcast, The Truth. I think I will do a more story-based program next time around and hope to include more voices from the community and college. Radio is about reflecting and sometimes even creating community, so including residents of Oberlin is really important. ...Ideas are still in the works...
Paulus has featured the following composers on Organized Noise. (*denotes a TIMARA alum)
Paulus Dolden, Christopher DeLaurenti, Peter Swendsen*, Elainie Lillios, Bernie Krause, Maggi Payne, Tom Erbe (author of soundhack), Asha Tamirisa*, Francisco Lopez, Mario Diaz de Leon*
Joo Won Park joins the TIMARA Faculty
December 11, 2014TIMARA proudly welcomes Visiting Professor Joo Won Park to the faculty! Joo Won is an electroacoustic composer who wants to make everyday sound beautiful and strange so that everyday becomes beautiful and strange. He performs live with toys, consumer electronics, kitchenware, vegetables, and other non-musical objects by digitally processing their sounds. He also makes pieces with field recordings, sine waves, and any other sources that he can record or synthesize. Joo Won draws inspirations from Florida swamps, Philadelphia skyscrapers, his two sons, and other soundscapes surrounding him. He has studied at Berklee College of Music and the University of Florida and has taught at the University of Florida, Temple University, and Community College of Philadelphia. - GJ
Check out Joo Won's recent project 100 strange sounds and more of his music on his youtube page and his website!
Mitchell Herrmann ('16) attends Atlantic Center Residency
November 20, 2014This year, TIMARA student Mitchell Herrmann (back row, second from left) was selected to participate in the Atlantic Center for the Arts' Master Artist in Residence program with composer Jonty Harrison. Mitchell was chosen by Mr. Harrison from a group of artist applicants from around the world, made up of university professors, post-graduate students, and professionals. The other arts were represented by full-time writers, dancers, and painters. During his stay, Mitchell got to work closely with Mr. Harrison every day as well as workshop with the other composers in residence.
"Studying with Jonty was a great experience. We had several excellent conversations about compositional strategies that I feel have really benefitted my music. The other composers in residence were quite helpful as well, and our group listening sessions helped me to hone in on the areas of my music which were in need of improvement." - Mitchell Herrmann
Jonty Harrison is a noted electroacoustic composer currently teaching at the University of Birmingham. In 1982, he founded the Birmingham ElectroAcoustic Sound Theatre (BEAST), a sound diffusion system with over 100 individual speakers that has toured around the world. His students have included Hans Tutschku (now director of the Harvard electroacoustic music studios), and Natasha Barrett. - GJ
Reed Hays ('90) returns to share successful career
October 14, 2014TIMARA would like to thank Reed Hays, (class of '90) who visited the studios to speak with students about scoring music for television, staying financially afloat in today's turbulent music world, and the merits of a liberal arts education.
Reed moved to New York to write music for television after graduating from Oberlin Conservatory with degrees in TIMARA and Cello Performance. In 1994 he joined forces with Phil Garrod to write the NFL on Fox theme which now brands all Fox Sports' broadcast, cable and internet. In 2002 Reed and Mr. Garrod formed OSI Music and created themes for thousands of titles on numerous sports and news networks, reality programs, and commercials, which have earned him several BMI awards and Emmy nominations.
"After the lecture a couple students and I walked up Professor Street to continue the discussion. When I looked down and realized that one of them was barefoot it became clear that not much had changed in 25 years." - Mr. Hays
Lyn Goeringer participates in the Ingenuity Festival
October 3, 2014This year, TIMARA professor Lyn Goeringer built an installation that was included in the Cleveland IngenuityFest. In her own words, "the project incorporates 3 large sculptures of trees that have a single fluorescent light on each tree that I use have 'tuned' to make three different pitches. These pitches are then sent into custom built cymetic sound basins, which causes the water to vibrate and illustrate the frequency spectrum of the pitches the lights are making. The sound itself comes from the lightbulb itself, not from the light spectrum it emits.
In addition to the three large tree sculptures, there are six smaller sculptures that are primarily aesthetic. They were placed in the connector hallway, to extend the forest from the primary atrium room within the connector hallway at the Great Lakes Science Center to the STEM school. In addition to the sculptures, four bells were being rung using an automated system that was driven by Arduino micro controllers. These bells took advantage of the highly resonant space of the hallway. In addition to the bells, the hallway featured the hum of two of the smaller fluorescent lights, which were not tuned and represented the default sound signature of a standard fluorescent bulb."
For this project, Lyn worked with a large team of Oberlin students and Alumni, including:
Will Johnson (Apprentice)
John Burnett (Apprentice)
Regina Larre Campuzano (Intern)
Cynthia Taylor (programmer)
Charlie Spears (Installer)
Elise Moltz (build team)
Judith Jackson (build team)
Yu Zheng (build team)
The project was sponsored by Oberlin College and Ingenuity Fest. - GJ
Students Attend Threshold Festival
September 26, 2014This year, the annual Threshold Student Festival of Electronic Music was held at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana on September 19th and 20th. TIMARA students Elise Moltz, Sage Jenson, Devin Frenze, Evan Zierk, Paulus Van Horne, and Mitchell Herrman presented electronic works alongside fellow student composers from Ball State University, Bowling Green State University, and Miami University of Ohio. Accompanying them was TIMARA Visiting Assistant Professor Joo Won Park. - GJ
George Lewis, composer-in-residence, returns
April 30, 2014Continuing his year long residency, Oberlin is excited to welcome George Lewis to campus for another week, from May 1st to the 7th. As a preeminent composer and improvisor, Lewis has held teaching positions at the Art Institute of Chicago, Mills College, and UC San Diego, received a MacArthur Fellowship and USA Walker Fellow award, and had works 3resented by Ensemble Erik Satie and IRCAM. He currently teaches at Columbia University.
While here, George will give lectures, participate on a panel discussion, lead master classes, work with students privately, and play with OINC - look here for his schedule. Wednesday night, May 7th, Oberlin's Contemporary Music Ensemble will play his piece Anthem, for chamber ensemble and electronics at 8pm in Warner Concert Hall, don't miss it! - WJ