contemporary chamber music [performance + composition + research]

nief-norf Research Summit


June 10-11, 2016

Keynote Speaker: Douglas Kahn

Featured Composer: Annea Lockwood


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: Astro-Bio-Geo-Physical Music will feature discussions of music that engages with astrophysical, biophysical, or geophysical sources. Potential topics might include, but are not limited to: biofeedback experiments, histories of transduction, ecomusicologies, music and landscapes, brainwave music, and relevant works by composers such as Alvin Lucier, Pauline Oliveros, David Rosenboom, Annea Lockwood, R. Murray Schafer, Gordon Mumma, Maryanne Amacher, Gérard Grisey, John Cage, Maggi Payne, John Luther Adams, and others.

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: