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, August 11, 2007
"Just Don't Call It Minimalism" - My take

Or, Six Critics in Search of a Clue

Well, maybe that's a bit harsh.

This would have been a great article in 1987. Then, the general population (or at least the 'classical'-loving population) had little idea who most of these people were.
But today (and I did double-check the paper's headers, it was indeed published in 2007), we don't really need an 'introduction to minimalism'. And, if so, we can certainly use more than the same three names.
This list serves as a basic list of the Greatest Hits of the big boys of minimalism. Like most lists, many of us are rightfully wondering "what about this piece?", or "where's my favorite composer?" It's like summarizing the Romantics with Schubert, Schuman, and Brahms. Granted, the Romantic period is considerably larger, but you get the point.

Now, for the lists.

Okay, they did get some things right. Some Adams and Glass operas, Music for 18(which appears twice), Drumming, Music in 12 Parts, and The Chairman Dances. All of these are safe picks. I almost forgot In C, although I'm not only one to forget the fountainhead of mainstream minimalism. I'm not sure I agree with some of the selected recordings (I would have chosen the City Life recording that appears along with Proverb) but that's a matter of taste.

Poul Ruders
???? Okay, I'm not a huge fan of his music. I find it just uninteresting. Maybe I haven't heard anything good yet, and I'm open to suggestions. But I can hardly classify him as a minimalist. If Tommasini was looking to show Minimalism's influence on European composers, he might have looked at Marc-André Dalbavie's Diadèmes.

Count Basie. WTF??? I love the Count, his sparseness was truly a counterweight to other jazz pianists. But as a precursor to minimalism? Hmmm, I don't think so. Terry Riley talked about how Coltrane's "Sheets of Sound" influenced him. Often, you'd hear 'Trane playing the same 3 or 4 notes over and over again, very rapidly for quite a few measures. That was directly influential on the minimalists. I'm sure the gang heard the Count at some points during their lives (as opposed to Corigliano claiming to never hear Dylan), but the less-than hip (in the '60s, that is) Basie would have been less sought out than 'Trane. If a jazz connection was to be forged, someone could have cited Miles Davis' Nefertiti recording: the melody is repeated over and over again, while a drum solo slowly emerges.

But it's a hard point to make: jazz and minimalism are at opposite ends of a spectrum. Jazz is mostly about the developing variations of a solo through virtuoso playing, extended harmonies, overwhelming expression; minimalism is mostly about process, and single ideas transforming over a large period of time. Sure, those are generalizations.

Now, for the big omissions: Duckworth and Lucier. Hello, Time Curve Preludes??!! Really, one of the more significant post-1970s piano cycles. True, it doesn't fit into some of their definitions of minimalism (large swaths of time with little change), but it does show minimalism's depth. In what Kyle Gann describes as the first "post-minimal" work, we see minimalism moving out of its comfort zone and into a newer era.

No list would really be complete without "I am sitting in a room" It's a piece that tells you exactly what it's going to do, and then it proceeds to do so: I think Reich called it the ultimate process piece. Sure, this doesn't fit in to minimalism's present-day image of peppy rhythms and short repetitive phrases, but it does demonstrate minimalism's ultimate roots in experimental music.

I'm sure there are others who could be included in this list. Suggestions? Maybe we should come up with a Sequenza21 list of lists? I'd hate to be limited to just 4, though.