UPDATE, Sept. 15, 1:30 p.m.: Tickets for this event are sold out.
September 14, 2011 — "TechnoSonics," the Virginia Center for Computer Music's annual festival celebrating the intersection of music and technology, will feature internationally recognized composers and performers when it is presented Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. in the University of Virginia's Rotunda Dome Room.
"TechnoSonics XII: Light" includes performances by faculty members from the McIntire Department of Music in the College of Arts & Sciences, and will be organized around the theme of light. The theme could refer to light as both a sonic source and metaphor, according to event organizers.
"We do a different theme every year, and we tend to alternate them to get a range of expression," music professor Matthew Burtner said. "We chose light because it's an uplifting subject that facilitates collaboration between the disciplines, as the performance is really about music as a multimedia experience."
Guest composer Jeff Herriott, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, will present his "Swarms of Light in Metal," which is scored for percussion and electronics, said music professor Judith Shatin, founder and director of the Virginia Center for Computer Music.
The performance will feature guest percussionist Trevor Saint as well as I-Jen Fang, a member of the music department's performance faculty and the principal timpanist and percussionist of the Charlottesville & University Symphony Orchestra.
"TechnoSonics XII: Light" will also feature work by Shatin, Burtner and fellow music professor Ted Coffey.
Coffey will present "Lullabies & Protest Songs, Suite No. 2," which mixes electronic and video presentations with his singing and guitar playing. The multimedia elements will be presented in "surround sound" and include video projected from below onto the ceiling of the Rotunda Dome Room.
Coffey said the event is well-served by the use of such a historic and impressive room. "The space makes things very special, I think," he said.
Shatin will present "Sic Transit," which is scored for a percussionist and six percussion robots. It will be performed by Fang and robots by Expressive Machines Musical Instruments, or EMMI, a company run by music doctoral students Steven Kemper, Troy Rogers and Scott Barton.
Burtner will see the debut of his "Syntax of Snow," written for glockenspiel and snow.
Saint, who commissioned the piece, will perform it on the glockenspiel with one hand and a bowlful of snow with the other. The snow is illuminated and amplified, and Saint will create a series of sounds with his hand: crunches, pushes, rubs, drops and others, Burtner said.
"He'll manipulate the snow in very specific ways for each note of the piece, so we hear this kind of counterpoint with the notes of the bells," Burtner said. "It's a noisy crunchy snow sound to go with the music of the glockenspiel, but both have an underlying logic."
The concert will also feature a presentation of a computer music video, "Before the Seiche," by Christopher Burns and David Dinnell.
Prior to TechnoSonics, the MICE Orchestra – a group of 200 performers who use laptop computers to create music – will perform outside the Rotunda. That performance starts at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets to "TechnoSonics XII: Light" are free, but are limited by seating availability. Ticket information is available at www.artsboxoffice.virginia.edu. The event is co-sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost for the Arts.
— By Rob Seal