nief-norf

contemporary chamber music [performance + composition + research]

nief-norf Research Summit

 ASTRO-BIO-GEO-PHYSICAL MUSIC

Featuring Douglas Kahn (Keynote Speaker) and Annea Lockwood (Guest Composer)

June 10-11, 2016

Writing in the early 1970s, composer Gordon Mumma identified a trend in live-electronic music, which he called “Astro-Bio-Geo-Physical” applications––a process of tapping into the earth, the cosmos, or the body and attempting to make these sources audible and musical. Since then, examples extend from Pauline Oliveros’ amplification of the body in Indefinite Integral of Psi Star Psi D Tau Equals One (1969) to John Luther Adams’ ongoing installation, The Place Where You Go to Listen (2004-), which surveys real-time data in Alaska––including seismological vibrations, moon phases, daylight and darkness, movements of the aurora borealis––and translates this into a light and sound environment. The nief-norf Research Summit will examine music that plugs into astro-, bio- or geophysical sources.

nnSF Research Summit: Astro-Bio-Geo-Physical Music (June 10-11)

Friday, June 10: Astro-Bio-Geo-Physical Music: Opening Concert
7:30pm: UT Sandra G. Powell Recital Hall: Featuring works by Tonia Ko, Matthew Burtner, Donnacha Dennehy, and John Luther Adams

Saturday, June 11
(all talks in rm. 68 and all performances in the UT Sandra G. Powell Recital Hall of the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center: 1741 Volunteer Blvd. Knoxville, TN 37996-2600)

8:30am: registration and coffee

9:00am: Introduction and Welcome  // Kerry O’Brien (Indiana University) “John Cage and Astro-Bio-Geo-Physical Music”
9:30am: Gabriel Lubell (Knox College) "Einstein’s Chirp: Gravitational Waves and the Use of Sound in Scientific Discourse"
10:00am: Jeremy Strachan (Cornell University) "The Timetrip to Big Bang and Back of Udo Kasemets: Data Sonification, the Creation of the Universe, and Other Small Matter(s)"

10:30am: coffee

10:45am: lecture-performance (recital hall)
Grace Leslie, (MIT Media Lab) "Vessels: An Ideographic Study of the Physiology of Musical Consciousness” 

11:15am: coffee

11:30am: Keynote: Douglas Kahn (National Institute for Experimental Arts) “Between Cat's Fur and Lightning: Energies and Music”

12:30pm: lunch (provided onsite for nnSF fellows and conference presenters)

1:15pm: performance (recital hall)
Tonia Ko, Real Voices and Imaginary Clatter and Matthew Burtner Iceprints 

1:45pm: Tyler Kinnear (University of British Columbia), "Ice in the Concert Hall: The Aesthetics of Climate Change in Matthew Burtner’s Iceprints (2010)"
2:15pm: Ryan Harrison, (Ohio University) "Perception and Ecocentric Performance Spaces: Environment in Matthew Burtner’s Auksalaq and John Luther Adam’s Inuksuit"

2:45pm: coffee

3:00pm: performance: works by Annea Lockwood (recital hall): Immersion and Red Mesa

3:30pm: Rebecca Lentjes, (Stony Brook University) "Annea Lockwood's Temporality of Spatiality"
4:00pm: Featured Composer: Annea Lockwood “On Wild Energy

4:30pm: Transport to Ijams Nature Center 

5:00pm - 7:30pm Annea Lockwood & Bob Bielecki’s Wild Energy at Ijams Nature Center

[dinner available for purchase from food trucks at Ijams]

8:00pm: closing concert: Iannis Xenakis’s Pleiades under the stars at Ijams Nature Center


Douglas Kahn is an historian and theorist of the arts, music and media, with emphases on sound and energies. He is Australian Research Council Fellow at the National Institute for Experimental Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney. His books include Earth Sound Earth Signal: Energies and Earth Magnitude in the Arts (UC Press, 2013), Noise, Water, Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts (MIT Press, 1999) and the collection Source: Music of the Avant-garde, 1966-1973 (UC Press, 2011), along with the forthcoming Ecological Energies and the collection Energies in the Arts

Read the introduction to Kahn's Earth Sound Earth Signal here on The Wire.


Born in New Zealand in 1939 and living in the US since 1973, Annea Lockwood is known for her explorations of the rich world of natural acoustic sounds and environments, in works ranging from sound art and installations, through text-sound and performance art to concert music. Her music has been performed in many venues and festivals including: the Possibility of Action exhibition at MACBA Barcelona, De Ijsbreker, the Other Minds Festival-San Francisco, the Walker Art Center, the American Century: 1950 - 2000 exhibition at the Whitney Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum, Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Westdeutscher Rundfunk, CNMAT Berkeley, the Asia-Pacific Festival, Donaufest 2006 Ulm, the Donau Festival Krems, the 7th Totally Huge New Music Festival Perth, Ear To The Earth Festival - New York and Sonic Acts XIII.

Her sound installation, A Sound Map of the Danube, has been presented in Germany, Austria and the USA. This is a surround 'sound map' of the entire Danube River, incorporating a wide variety of water, animal and underwater insect sounds, rocks from the riverbed and the voices of those whose lives are intimately connected to the river. Other recent projects include Ceci n'est pas un piano, for piano, video and electronics commissioned by Jennifer Hymer; Jitterbug, commissioned by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, a six channel soundscape with two improvising musicians; and In Our Name, a collaboration with Thomas Buckner based on poems by prisoners in Guantánamo. She was a recipient of the 2007 Henry Cowell Award. Her music has been issued on CD and online on the Lovely Music, Ambitus, EM, XI, Rattle, Lorelt, and Pogus labels.


The nief-norf Research Summit (nnRS) is an academic series embedded in the larger 13-day nief-norf Summer Festival. As part of the festival, dozens of performers, composers, festival faculty, and participating scholars attend the Research Summit. Past summits have featured topics such as the music of John Cage (2012), Music and Technology (2013), Music and/as Process (2014), and Music as Theater (2015).



Watch video highlights from the 2014 Research Summit on Music and/as Process: