Composer Anthony Cornicello (born in Brooklyn, New York, 1964) writes music that blurs distinctions between performers and electronics, timbre and harmony, composition and improvisation, and explores the boundaries of what may be considered post-classical concert music. His music is vibrant and visceral, full of rhythmic energy and harmonic sophistication, and his forays into live electronics have led to exciting combinations of instruments and processed sound. Cornicello’s background as a jazz pianist is evident not only in the rhythmic activity of his music, but also in his constant investigation of the rich sonorities available from a variety of instruments.

He has been commissioned to write music for the Scorchio Electric String Quartet, ModernWorks! (funding from Meet the Composer/ Commissioning Music USA), the Auros Group for New Music, the Prism Saxophone Quartet, the New York New Music Ensemble, David Holzman, the Group for Contemporary Music, and the InterEnsemble of Padova, Italy. His work has also been featured on the Guggenheim Museum’s “Works and Process” series. Cornicello’s works have also been performed by the Chicago Civic Symphony, Parnassus, ALEA III, Composers Concordance, Madeleine Shapiro, Robert Black, among many other outstanding groups and solo performers. His music has been presented as part of the Darmstadt International Festival of New Music as well as the June in Buffalo Festival.

Cornicello’s Second String Quartet has been recorded by the Atlantic String Quartet; the Second Sonata for Piano by David Holzman (Centaur). More recently, his Post-Modern Waltz was recorded by Eric Moe for Albany Records. A portrait CD of Cornicello’s works is scheduled for 2006 release on Albany Records.

As a performer, he has conducted or played piano in his own works on numerous occasions. While a graduate student at Rutgers, he formed and directed the Janus Ensemble, a group dedicated to contemporary music. More recently, Cornicello has begun performing on the laptop, using a variety of interfaces and the Max/MSP program. Those performances, mostly with EEE!, have had a notable impact on his music, as EEE!’s music ranges from hip-hop to experimental noise. EEE! is based at Eastern Connecticut State University, where Cornicello is an Associate Professor and Director of the Electronic Music Lab.

Cornicello received the Ph.D. from Brandeis University, where he studied with David Rakowski, Eric Chasalow, and Martin Boykan. His teachers also include Charles Wuorinen, Gérard Grisey, and Richard Beirach.

His current fields of interest include developing unusual interfaces for live computer music performances, as well as continuing to investigate resonance and spatialization. His recent and current projects (mostly for string instruments and electronics) have been exploring the latter two, and the series of experimental works ReZenant Garden, performed by EEE! have operated on all three areas of interest. Future projects will include works for instrumental groups or soloists and electronics, as well as turntablists.

Cornicello's works are published by C.F. Peters Corporation and APNM, and he is a member of BMI.

Saturday, February 03, 2007
Grant season

"Grant season"
"Wabbit season"
"Grant season"
"Wabbit season"
"Wabbit season"
"Grant season! Shoot me now!!"

Well, I'm glad grant season is over. It's an unfortunate part of our lives now - the act of writing grants. It's somewhere between begging and playing the lottery. And, sometimes, I wonder which is more productive.

Time is so limited for all of us. If I'm teaching, or grading papers, my mind is at ease because this is part of what I do, how I get paid; if I'm writing music, sometimes, I'm not getting paid, but I'm always happy to do so, because I'm creating music. This goes on with all my life, whether I'm playing with my daughter, fixing something in the house, reading a book; everything fulfills some sort of purpose, and has a form of 'payback' or reward at some time. My daughter will give me a big hug, or my wife will be happy that we have a new thermostat installed. You get the idea.

But with grant writing, there might not be a payoff. After all that work, all those phone calls and faxes, all those meetings, late-night typing, you might wind up with nothing. Worse, you'll get one of those crappy form letters, with the organization saying that they only could give out 20 grants, and there were 200 applicants. I really don't care how many applicants there were; as Zero Mostel once said "Or you got it, or you ain't!"

Of course, someone has to be awarded these grants. Yes, I've gotten my share of them - although I seem to never manage to get a Fromm or a Guggenheim. I'm not sure why, either.

In any case, I'm glad to be done with my application addiction. At least for now...

SCENE: Non-descript community-center meeting room. Several weary people sit around a table; I enter, speaking to the group.

"Hello, my name is Anthony, and I have an addicton."

"Hello Anthony. You know, admitting your problem is the first step to recovery. What's the nature of your addiction?"

"I fill out grant applicatons."

"Has it impacted your life? Do you sneak around, late at night, filling out grant applications? Do you crave the next application? Have you been missing work, and losing contact with your friends because of this?"

"Yes, oh, yes to all of them."

"Do you want to kick the habit?"

"Well, I guess so."

"Welcome to Grantwriters Anonymous. We're a non-profit organization. Next week, we'll need to fill out some forms, err, documents for our funding. Can you pitch in? Also, we'll need a volunteer for our annual cookie sale..."