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, September 16, 2006
Tommorrow's New York Times

Okay, it looks like there's no mention of Jay Greenberg. We're safe, for now.

Not that I have anything against the kid. I hope he eventually prospers. But, how many teenagers are out there, writing music? I'm sure there are a lot, although maybe not as many as passionate as him. And, not as fortunate, or well-connected.

This all reminds of that young Russian painter who was given the same treatment around 10 years ago. I can't remember her name (and maybe that's a clue!), but I do recall that her paintings made the rounds of TV talk shows (CBS Sunday Morning, before it turned to crap), magazines, and art galleries. If you have an copy of Architectural Digest from the mid-90s, I'm sure you'll see her. She's the kid next to the painting that looks a lot like Picasso. (What was her name???)

Which brings me to my next point: what happened to her? Not that I wish the same disappearing act for the young Greenberg. But at that time, her work was mostly derivative (as is Greenberg's), which is what you'd expect from a teenager. There's the issue of copying a style associated with a much earlier time period (mainly, lack of resonance within our contemporary society, except in a nostalgic Hollywood-like-fashion), which is part of the learning process for many. But what happens when an artistic exercise (stylistic copying, that is) becomes a product? The artist now turns into a manufacturer, stuck replicating the exercise. Artistic growth can easily become stunted. Whenever I saw the painter, she was showing different paintings, but they all looked like Picasso's cubist period. Which was odd, of course, since Picasso himself moved away from Cubism.

Now,we see the same thing in danger of happening again. I'd be interested in the kid's music if it were in an actual contemporary idiom. Like if he mixed Romantic harmonic language and orchestral techniques with Techno rhythms, or brought in doses of minimalism or heavy metal. Or something new. Instead, I keep hearing Brahms. What's wrong with that? Well, as much as I like Brahms, he was part of a different time period. He was around long before the atomic bomb, the Taliban, George W, Pol Pot, and other horrors we've seen. He never went to a baseball game, ate sushi (I guess), or emailed a relative in Italy. If Brahms were to drop in on today's world, he'd be shocked! What then, does Brahms have to do with our times?

Hopefully, Mr. Greenberg will have the chance to develop into a good composer, and grow out of the prodigy stage. Unfortunately, the orchestral administration loves the Romantic era, and will seize upon any music that perpetuates it, even some 100+ years after most doctors have pulled the sheets over it's collective head.

A great read in the Times may be found in the Magizine: Michael Bérubé's article on us "crazy liberal" professors. I'm so glad to see someone set the record straight: that the ratio of liberals to conservatives is more like 3:1, not the 20:1 that some right-wingers claim. And, I was glad to see that a serious blow was dealt to David Horowitz, who apparently has been fabricating his claims of anti-conservative teachings at universities. AAUP's motto is "Academic Freedom is Not Free!", and I thank them every day for it. The last thing I want is someone, anyone, telling me what to say in my classes. And, as I tell my students (often as they're about to listen, for the first time, to Cage or Stockhausen), you don't have to like this or agree to it. Discussions are more than welcome in my class, as long as their intelligently constructed. For what it's worth, I have banned the words "weird" and "normal".

Thanks again, Michael Bérubé, for a great article that made my morning!

Hopefully, tommorow's Times will also contain these words: The Mets finally clinched the Eastern division. I'll accept a few variants.