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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of  Music
October 23, 2014
 
 
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Random Walks: Xenakis and Beyond

May 13/13

Random Walks: Xenakis and Beyond

May 24-25, 2013 Toronto and Waterloo

Toronto's Fields Institute and Waterloo's Perimeter Institute and the Institute for Quantum Computing present a two-day festival of contemporary string quartet, percussion, and electroacoustic music, together with lectures and discussion featuring the work and legacy of celebrated composer Iannis Xenakis, renowned for bringing together expertise in music, architecture and math in a remarkable collection of works. 

Iannis Xenakis was one of the most intriguing and influential composers of the 20th century. As one of the pioneers of computer music Xenakis explored algorithmic approaches to composition and was known for expanding sound worlds of traditional ensembles (to the point of competing with electronic music), and especially for his expansive use of percussion instruments. His works and ideas have inspired generations of composers since. 

The festival features the JACK Quartet, which has electrified audiences worldwide with "viscerally exciting performances" (New York Times) and "explosive virtuosity" (Boston Globe). Also featured is an abundance of percussion music played by the McGill and University of Toronto Percussion Ensembles and TorQ Percussion as well as a concert of electroacoustics, video and robotic performers. 

FRIDAY, MAY 24, 2013 - TORONTO

Day one of the festival features the renowned JACK Quartet's Toronto debut in performances of Xenakis's complete string quartets as well some of the landmark works for percussion by Xenakis performed by the McGill Percussion Ensemble and U of T Percussion Ensemble. The day also includes lectures by experts on Xenakis' music: Sharon Kanach, Curtis Roads and Jim Harley.

For more information go to  http://www.fields.utoronto.ca/programs/scientific/12-13/xenakis/index.html

SATURDAY, MAY 25, 2013 - WATERLOO

1 pm  GRAINS OF SOUND: A CONCERT OF ELECTROACOUSTICS, VIDEO, AND ROBOTIC PERFORMERS

Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum Nano Centre, Waterloo $20/$10

This noon hour concert features visual/sonic experiences in works employing algorithmic processes produced by software developed by the composers themselves. A surround-sound octaphonic sound system and projection screen will feature works by Iannis Xenakis and Edgar Varese, Curtis Roads, Jim Harley and (in a rare tri-screen performance in Waterloo) Jean Piche. Arne Eigenfeldt brings his Karmetik NotomotoN robotic eighteen-armed robotic percussionist to join percussionist Richard Burrows in a performance where human improvisation interacts with a responsive system. 

3 pm PANEL SESSION: MUSIC AND ALGORHYTHMS

Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum Nano Centre, Waterloo FREE to ticket holders for noon or evening concerts

This panel features composers, heard on this day, discussing their algorithmic music with scientists from the three science institutes who sponsored this festival. Markov models, generative grammar, chaos and self-similar systems, and artifical intelligence as tools for controlling a range of musical parameters, from large quantities of grains of sound to large-scale compositional decisions.  Join artists Rob Wannamaker (California), Jean Piche (Montreal), Arne Eigenfeldt (Vancouver) and Jim Harley (Kitchener) in a discussion with Raymond Laflamme (Institute for Quantum Computing), Laurent Friedel (Perimeter Institute) and John Mighton (Fields Institute).

5 pm PERSEPHASSA

Waterloo Park Cricket Pitch, Waterloo FREE

In this monumental work by Xenakis, the audience is surrounded by the colourful sounds masterfully played by TorQ percussion quartet joined by Aiyun Huang and Morris Palter. In Xenakis' work, space becomes a musical parameter and the sounds of the environment blend with music to create a unique experience. 

8 pm SOUND SHAPES featuring THE JACK QUARTET

Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Waterloo $35/$20

Our final concert by the cutting edge JACK quartet coming out of Europe and North America anchored by John Cage's classic 1951 String Quartet in Four Parts. Cage's work was written at a time when Cage's explorations into musical indeterminacy mirrored Xenakis' explorations into musical probability. Rob Wannamaker's work is a study in tuning and musical perception, while the Hans Abramasen and Helmut Lachemann works present state of the art avant-gardism from Europe, an array of colours and gestures sure to astonish. The JACK quartet one of the most exciting young quartets performing anywhere - their interpretations of the music of Xenakis and like-minded composers have garnered them strong reviews and sold out houses throughout fthe world.

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