[-empyre-] Duration: Thanks to Week 3 Guests and Heading into Week 4

Kevin Ernste kevinernste at cornell.edu
Thu Nov 29 06:23:22 AEDT 2018

Thank you for the kind introduction, Tim.

As my bio suggests, I am primarily a composer but have, for the last 6 or 7
years, also engaged music as a performer and improvisor, bridging
experimental media and sound art practices into my more traditional writing
for instruments and ensembles with live electronics.

My project for the CCA Biennial featured visiting artist and composer
Luciano Chessa with his reconstructed Orchestra of Futurist Noise Intoners
(intonarumori), including several visits to Cornell to deliver, unpack,
calibrate, and demonstrate the instruments for a planned performance at the
Johnson Museum on October 20th. The performance date was connected with
several other CCA Biennial events, including the one featured last week
with composer Annie Lewandowski, whose work was featured the previous
evening following Chessa's museum lecture.

Annie, Chris Miller, and I perform regularly as CAGE, a collective of
musicians committed to the realization and enactment of new and
experimental works, including recent performances with experimental
filmmaker Ken Jacobs, composers Ellen Fullman and Pauline Oliveros, among

CAGE is an exercise in collective artistic serendipity, and the events with
Chessa and his orchestra of instruments were no exception, particularly the
culminating 10/20 performance, which grew out of our engagement with the
instruments themselves as well as Futurist rhetoric and ideas (Chessa
barked Futurist manifestos and poetry into a megaphone during the
performance, drawing visitors through the museum with the echoing
rhetorical sounds themselves).

In thinking about "Duration: Passage, Persistence, Survival", my intent was
to both feature and subvert the instruments, employing and modeling their
sound worlds while challenging and even undermining their original purpose
as artistic instigators, questioning their existence as reanimated
artifacts. Are they living instruments with a voice that speaks to the
living? Obsolescent technology? "Period" instruments? Re-enacted
provocations? Cabinet curiosities? And what does it even mean for an
artistic moment to claim not only to destroy the past and invent the
present, but to presume to pre-create the Future?

On some level, too, I was thinking about their place in the realm of
politics, the fomented language of instigation the Futurist used having, in
some ways, inspired the Fascist that came to power in Italy in the decades
after their manifestos. I wanted, also, to confront the sounds of such
language, particularly in light of current global political circumstances.
By presenting the intonarumori alongside new instruments (CAGE brought
other new electronic instruments, sound objects, and repurposed traditional
instruments), in a contemporary context, I wanted to invite both
appreciation and skepticism in the contrast.


On Tue, Nov 27, 2018 at 1:42 PM Timothy Conway Murray <tcm1 at cornell.edu>
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Kevin Ernste (US)

Kevin Ernste is a composer, performer, and teacher of composition and
electronic music at Cornell University where he is Director of the Cornell
Electroacoustic Music Center (CEMC). He is a founding member of the Cornell
Avant-Garde Ensemble (CAGE, http://digital.music.cornell.edu/cage/) whose
performance was featured in the 2018 CCA Biennial.  He was the Acting
Director of the Eastman Computer Music Center and Co-director of the
ImageMovementSound festival. His recent music includes Nisi [nee-see]
(“Island” in Greek) for hornist Adam Unsworth released on Equilibrium
Records,  Numina for Brooklyn-based Janus Trio (flute, viola, harp)
presented recently at the Spark Festival in MN, Seiend for brass quintet
premiered by Ensemble Paris Lodron(Salzburg, Austria, Roses Don’t Need
Perfume for guitarist Kenneth Meyer (gtr. and electronic sounds, 2009)
recently presented by Dr. Meyer on a Hungary/Romania tour, a piece for
saxophone and electronics called To Be Neither Proud Nor Ashamed (released
on Innova Records), and Birches for viola with electronic sounds for John
Graham performed on Mr. Graham’s recent China tour (Beijing, Wuhan, Xiamen,
Hong Kong) as well as at the Aspen Summer Music Festival.  Mr, Graham
presented Birches again in August 2011 at the International Computer Music
Conference  (ICMC) in Huddersfield, UK. Kevin’s recently commissioned works
include Chorale for chamber ensemble and electronics (after Stucky on
Purcell), Palimpsest for the JACK Quartet,  and a half-evening-length work
in progress for viola, percussion, and “unmanned” prepared piano.
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