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, May 12, 2007
Electronic Music in CT, week 3 (final events)

Okay, this was more than a week ago, but I thought that I should post on this, if not just to complete the trilogy.
We had two events on the final week of concerts. On May 3, Gray Code gave a performance at Central - a freely improvised set lasting around 45 minutes, followed by another slightly shorter one. The group is a trio of Butch Rovan on clarinets (including the contrabass!) and electronics, Fred Kennedy on percussion, and Kevin Patton on guitar and electronics. The music ranges from 70s Miles-inspired jazz to ambient noise, and there's an impressive amount of technology integrated with the instruments onstage. Nothing seemed too effected or out of place, and it was all quite flowing - quite impressive for an improvised group. It took me a while to realize there was no bass player - they produce music so full and interesting that you don't notice it.

Because of the lack of babyistting on a Thursday evening, Sophia came along. Sophia, who just turned three, is already enjoying music, and her current tastes include Bach and minimalism. She loved the music, and she sat there with a look of amazement on her face. When I asked her what she liked best, she said the saxophone (okay, it's a clarinet, but she's 3!!). In addition to the webpage listed above, you can check out Gray Code's MySpace page, which has musical clips. They've got a CD coming out soon, and I'm looking forward to it.

The other event was on May 5 (my 43rd birthday!), and featured ModernWorks (sorry, no MySpace page). They're another trio, this time Madeleine Shapiro, cello, Airi Yoshioka, violin, and Bill Schimmel, accordion. First of all, I need to say that I really like working with these people - they're wonderful musicians, and great people to be around. They played, amongst other pieces, my Spiral Jetty, which sounded great. I need to tinker with the electronics some more. But, for me, the highlight was an accordion solo piece by Bill, A Portrait of Harry Lime, with all it's film noir references. You know, when I told some friends that I was writing for the accordion, they snickered. I'm now enthralled with the instrument - I'm going to write some more for it. One other piece on the program was Tania Leon's Aixon, which although wonderfully played, seemed a bit long. The electronic component (programmed by Mari Kimura) was a bit disconnected from the live performer, in a sonic sense. It reminded me of the Davidovsky pieces, where the two elements (live performer and electronics) co-exist, sometimes interact, but never really mesh.

Sohpia came to this one too, and enjoyed it. This time, she loved the cello as well as the accordion.

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