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.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Bad Plus Babbitt, SEAMUS, and other links

Sorry, I but I couldn't continue the alliteration...

Recently, there was an event for Alex Ross's book The Rest is Noise. (Do I really need to link this book?) The event involved EthanIverson, the pianist from The Bad Plus, performing a number of 20th Century works. You can read his comments and rehearsal notes on his blogsite Do The Math. It seems like one of those events that make me miss New York.

The real surprise, however, is the impromptu recording of Babbitt's
Semi-Simple Variations, performed by The Bad Plus. They're talking about doing an actual recording of it, and the version online is fantastic. Listen to it here.


A few other items, relating to the above. I'm not sure how many of you know this, but Milton did start out as a jazz musician - playing clarinet (and some saxophone, I think). When I found this out, I asked him what he thought of LennieTristano ; I figured Lennie's 'cool, intellectual' approach would have appealed to Milton. Instead, the response was something like "What, those whippersnappers? No, I preferred Jack Teagarden: he's the real thing." (I'm sure he through in a typical "my dear boy" somewhere in that sentence.) For those of you unfamiliar with jazz history, Teagarden was a Dixieland trombone player. So, of course, someone from the bebop-influenced "cool school" would seem entirely unintelligible to a Dixieland fan.

On the other hand, he did write All Set, and from what he told me, for Bill Evans. According to Milton, Bill had met with Milton a few times - analyzing Schoenberg and other 20th Century composers. I don't think it was actual composition lessons, from what Milton told me. But, Bill Evans did write Twelve-Tone Tune and Twelve-Tone Tune Two, and was good friends with Donald Martino (according to the Don). Interesting little world we live in...only a few degrees of separation from Miles to Martino.


Two links of note: SEAMUS, the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States. It's a good resource for information about electronic music (as the organization's title suggests). Furthermore, they publish a quarterly newsletter (clicking the link will give you a PDF file) which is freely available to all. It's full of informative articles, interviews, and news about electronic music. Kurt Stallman has done a wonderful job editing the newsletter, and we all look forward to future issues.

Roger Linn (the instrument designer who brought you the Linn drum), has a web page devoted to unusual MIDI interfaces. I'm a fan of this kind of stuff - I think you can be quite expressive with non-keyboard interfaces. As a keyboardist, I know that my improvisational work eventually starts to fall into patterns familiar to my own personal vocabulary - whether it is certain chords or phrases. It's hard, but not impossible to avoid these kind of things. However, using unconventional interfaces, there is little to 'fall back on'. You're constantly creating something new, as there is no 'old'.

I have a few favorites on this page, namely the Lemur and the stuff from Starr Labs. What's yours?

ADDENDUM: I'm not sure why, but there were an unusual number of formatting goofs in my original post. I was writing my post using Firefox on my PowerBook, and it seems to have introduced a number of odd errors. For instance, all of my lines seem to have ended with a 'hard carriage return' (okay, I'm showing my age), so the original version looked like poetry. Unfortunately, really bad poetry. Also, it seems to randomly paste in the contents of the clipboard. When I made all my corrections, I found quite a few times where spaces had been removed between words: instant Joyce. Alas, also bad Joyce. I hate typos, especially in the stuff I write!

Labels: , , , , , ,