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, April 28, 2007
Review: Electronic Music in CT, week 2

Okay, this week was much different, as far as the music is concerned.

On Tuesday, we had Paul Miller, aka DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid as a guest. Needless to say, Paul was incredibly cool. He came for a lecture and an evening dance-party event.

The lecture was fantastic - very inspiring, very thought-provoking. Paul explained re-mix culture - it's origins, semiotics, and his own personal take. He gave some live performances as well. If you haven't heard him, please go and buy some CDs, or download tracks. The guy's a virtuoso on the turntables - and yes, I consider the turntable a musical instrument.

Now, this is where it gets odd: student involvement. Have you ever seen the movie Big Night? It's about these two brothers running an Italian restaurant in the 1950s. The cook (Tony Shaloub) wants to make fancy dishes like risotto or timbalo, while the clientele want spaghetti and meatballs. Anyway, an unscrupulous rival wants to put them out of business by convincing them to throw a party: he'll get his buddy Louis Prima to come, and it will 'save' the restaurant. The party is thrown, one fabulous course is followed by another (punctuated by one of the guests sobbing, "My mother never cooked like this!"), but Louis Prima didn't come. (Sorry if I gave away a major plot point, but it's still one of my favorite movies - and there's a lot more to the ending than that!)
This was the opposite. I produced DJ Spooky, yet students didn't come. The dance party was a fiasco. There were some students there, just not enough for a party. I sent Paul home early, before he even saw the amount of people there. I didn't want to show any disrespect to him.

The good thing was, I got to spend a bunch of time with Paul, and it was a blast. Our conversation went from music to politics to social issues. We even discussed a possible collaborative project, which is truly exciting.

Ironically, at the non-event in the evening, one of the students asked who was paying for all this. I said "you are", since the funds came from student activities. Anyone that I've talked to has said that DJ Spooky usually sells out the place. Not at Eastern. I'm shocked and appalled.

Wednesday night: rehearsal at my house, with Robert Black. We're doing an improvisation on Thursday night, him on bass, me on the laptop (which I also consider an instrument!). His bass barely fits into my studio, with it's 7' ceiling. Things go well.

Thursday night: Robert Black's concert, was co-presented by SEMI and a festival entitled "Recharging the Sensorium" at Central CT State University (Eastern's sister institution, in New Britain). The festival featured writers, performance artists, and sound artists from around the globe. There was similar student involvement (i.e., very little), but there was a sizable audience for the concert.
The concert started with the improvisation. I created a Max/MSP patch that will loop and provide a host of effects. Right now, I have a little control surface (the Evolution UC-33) that I've programmed to work with my patch. I made a recording, and I'll post it in a few days. It seemed to go over well, and Rob and I are now talking about doing whole concerts of improv.

After that, Rob played a piece by Barry Truax, Androgyne, Mon Amour a 1997 work. It's for bass and pre-recorded material, and Rob did a great job. Next, was Rob's own rendition of the classic In C. With just a bass and a looping Max patch, Rob played a short version of the entire work. (I'm not sure if he played each of the 53 cells, but it sounded complete.) This was truly a highlight - not to mention, the first time it was done this way in public. I'll be curious to hear what Riley thinks of it.
The final piece on the program was Reynold Widenaar's The Thundering Scream of Seraphim's Delight, which is a 1987 piece for video and bass. Now, this was a little ahead of its time, and the video technology showed it (but, much better than the cheesey videos by the McLeans, made more than a dozen years later!!); there was a nice dialogue between the visuals, pre-recorded sounds, and the live playing.

Rob's an unbelivable performer. Do you know all those bass jokes, about bad intonation and bowing techniques? You can safely put them to rest when you hear him play.

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