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.

Thursday, June 12, 2008
Accordion Awareness Month

Seriously, today I found out that June is Accordion Awareness Month. You can read about it here.

I only discovered this because I was looking for a good used accordion. Last year, I wrote a piece that included accordion, and I found it to be an instrument of immense possibilities. No, I'm not going to start writing Polkas. Stop snickering!

I went to a local shop, and they have a used Excelsior 606 (or is it 909?), which has a full RH piano keyboard, and 120 bass buttons. You quickly discover that there is no standard accordion. This Excelsior had 4 stops; I've seen some with as few as 2, and as high as 9. This one needs a bit of work: there's no shoulder strap, and the LH stops don't seem to be changeable, as the lever is stuck. I was playing it a bit in the shop, and it seems to work well. They just want to get rid of it, and right now they have it listed for $250; when I spoke to someone before looking at it, he indicated he'd take $150 for it. I spoke to Bill Schimmel, who told me that it would most likely need another $150 in repairs. I'm still thinking about it.

In other oddities: Today, I had my iTunes in shuffle mode, and first came on Count Basie, "Blues Backstage". Immediately following was Conlon Nancarrow's Studie No. 33 from Volume III. I was amazed at how well the two blended. Nancarrow's music sounded like a blues - heck, I'd even say it swung. And the Count's sparse playing was almost answered by the Nancarrow, which starts off rather sparse. I like when stuff like that happens.

And, hey - Sophia was very curious about Messiaen today. I had on part of the Eclairs today, and she was asking questions. She said she liked it. Sophia (now 4, I should add) has been enjoying the Well Tempered - she always asks for Bach in the car - and she really, really likes the C major Prelude. She also likes Debussy (although she's having difficulty remembering his name), and she really likes Robert Black's solo bass version of In C.