COMPOSITIONS 2011-Present

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Battle Hymn of Insurgent Arts (2018)

For brass quintet with electric rhythm section (electric guitar, electric bass, and drums) and electrified singer in a new setting of Mark Twain’s little known rewrite of lyrics, ca. 1900, Battle Hymn of the Republic (Brought Down to Date), energized in part by his reactions to politics surrounding the Philippine-American War.


Out of Truth (Don’t Motto) (2018)

A score for varied ensemble articulated by a set of 17-beat harmony and rhythm cycles that form a scaffolding on which improvised lines may also be developed. Out of Truth (Don’t Motto) was originally written during a collaborative project with filmmaker Lewis Klahr, who has made a film known by the same title. The score may be performed live with that film or performed by itself in varied ensemble settings by creative musicians.


Transformations on Hymn of Change (2018)

A structure for improvisation that employs melodic shape transformation techniques in interactive software with a Yamaha Disklavier that uses the Hymn of Change as the genesis point and musical DNA for what becomes an emergent musical form.


Hymn of Change from Bell Solaris – arrangement for Brass Quintet (2018)

An arrangement for brass quintet of the tenth movement of the concert-length work for piano, Bell Solaris, a kind of slow gospel waltz about the nature of change. Optionally, words by Pythagoras delivered by Ovid that are imbedded in the score may be delivered by an actor.

Hymn of Change starts at 01:16


Fanfare for (R)Evolution Arts (2017-2018)

A rousing call to action for brass quintet with electric rhythm section (electric guitar, electric bass, and drums) and speaker/vocalist quoting some prescient lines from Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s Poetry as Insurgent Art.


Nothingness Is Unstable (2017)

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Live electronic performance with life-form sounds articulated by large banks of complex digital resonator circuits, shaped with analog acoustic sources, and diffused into sound space. Nothingness is Unstable was commissioned by Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center to be presented with the unique Geluso 3D Sound Object on the 2017 New York Electronic Arts Festival at ISSUE Project Room in Brooklyn. It has also been adapted for other immersive 6.2 sound systems. This piece is sometimes combined with Earth Encomium and uses a similar system of harmonic orbits in its electronics.

Nothingness usually collapses into something-ness—the phenomenal particularities of experience. Musical particularities—musics of many nows, containing fine structures with created pasts and futures, also spring from initially undefined singularities of experience into multiple dimensions of mutual interactivity. This immersive musical wrapping is dedicated to our stressed planet. Nothingness Is Unstable also appears on Deviant Resonances.


Earth Encomium (2016)

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A score written as if for piano solo, consisting of a system of harmonic orbits expressed with sequences of chords in ever-descending spirals within spirals that create multi-dimensional, interlocking harmonic loops. Perhaps mixed feelings of homage, pathos, and inevitability somehow reside inside these descending loops. They may be realized as a piano solo, interpreted in a solo for piano and electronics, and possibly performed with the addition of a Yamaha Disklavier functioning as a second piano. In one realization with electronics, the piano’s raw acoustic sound is parsed into specific spectral elements, which in turn ring a bank of complex digital resonators that are also tuned to harmonic orbits. In another version, a Yamaha Disklavier is added and programmed with a computer to enable more harmonic orbits to be played in interlocking counterpoint with those of the soloist on the first piano. Earth Encomium also appears on Deviant Resonances.

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Unverifiable Intuitions (2016)

Unverifiable Intuitions is a solo for a creative pianist. It was originally written for contemporary music pianist Satoko Inoue to premiere at Tokyo Opera City Recital Hall on 6 March 2016.

In Unverifiable Intuitions there is no meter. Only relatively longer and shorter notes are shown. Time is emergent. It depends upon the pianist maintaining a still and inquisitive mind. The score is constructed in four continuous sections. Each one begins with a musical Question and is followed by a musical Investigation. The pacing through the score is guided by listening actively and imaginatively to the interacting symmetries and asymmetries emerging from the resonant sound fields within which each Investigation is constructed.


Lucha's Quinceañera Song (2015)

Lucha's Quinceañera Song, music by David Rosenboom and text by Janine Salinas Schoenberg, was written for the "mobile opera for 24 cars," Hopscotch, produced in Los Angeles in 2015 by The Industry, conceived and directed by Yuval Sharon. Lucha's Quinceañera Song served as Chapter 4 in Hopscotch. A solo voice and piano/keyboard score is provided. For Hopscotch an arrangement was made by Jerónimo (Jxel) Rajchenberg using Mexican stringed instruments. That version has been recorded and released on Hopscotch from The Industry Records.

"Lucha [a principal character in Hopscotch] remembers her quinceañera, a celebration of her coming of age, and also the day she lost her parents. The memory is inextricably linked with unruly teenage years—changing her hair from black to red—and her grandfather teaching her how to create a butterfly puppet." [From Hopscotch synopsis]

HOPSCOTCH OPERA WEBSITE | THE INDUSTRY RECORDS


Portable Gold and Philosophers' Stones (Deviant Resonances) (2015)

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Portable Gold and Philosophers' Stones (Deviant Resonances) is a work for two brainwave performers in which the acts of performance focus on active imaginative listening. In this work listening is elevated to the level of performative practice along with techniques for brainwave biofeedback in live musical contexts. Computer music and brainwave monitoring and analysis systems, along with a MIDI keyboard or Yamaha Disklavier piano and employed by a third performer.

In 1972 I made two versions of the brainwave music work Portable Gold and Philosophers’ Stones, which were subtitled (Music with Trills) and (Music from Brains in Fours). Scores for these pieces appeared in my book, Biofeedback and the Arts: Results of Early Experiments (Aesthetic Research Centre of Canada Publications, 1975 & 1976 editions, ISBN 0-88985-002-X). A recording of the second version appeared first on vinyl (Brainwave Music, 1976, A.R.C. Records, ST1002) and later on two CDs (Invisible Gold, 2000, Pogus Productions, Chester, New York, 21022-2 and Brainwave Music—2006 Edition, EM Productions, Osaka, Japan, EM1054CD). Earlier I had been reading about mantric symbols and came across an interpretation of the “Philosopher’s Stone” as an enduring, invisible, mental symbol that is about the prima materia, the original substance, the ultimate principle of the universe (Govinda, L. A., Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism, 1969 edition, Samuel Weiser, Inc., New York). It was said that by returning from the qualities of sensation and thought, which we perceive through differentiation and specialization, to the undifferentiated purity of the prima materia, we might learn truths about creative power and the fundamental mutability of all phenomena. Combining this with the symbol, Portable Gold, was my way of emphasizing the timelessness and spacelessness of this idea, which we can carry with us anywhere. To manifest these symbols in music, those early pieces worked with resonant coincidences detected among the physical brainwaves of one to several performers and applied them in various ways inside the circuits of custom-built, live electronic music devices to grow spontaneous musical forms. For this occasion I have made a third version of Portable Gold and Philosophers’ Stones subtitled (Deviant Resonances). It is realized here with portable brainwave detectors, computer music software, and an auxiliary keyboard instrument.

Threaded through many of my musical works, one can find various versions of a propositional music model for investigating concepts associated with resonance—in all its conceivable forms and with all its emergent phenomena— and how they might be materialized in self-organizing musical forms. Many are about the emergence of perceivable substance from reinforcements among tiny perturbations in patterns of energy flow—or maybe like pinching an elastic field of essential tension in some idea of universe to produce differentiable, interacting entities. These might range from mere wisps of ineffable quantum resonances hinting at the existence of ponderable matter to brain/body/society holograms enfolding and enabling the creation of memories and histories.

Portable Gold and Philosophers’ Stones (Deviant Resonances) continues this investigation, paying particular attention this time to interesting goings on inside margins of uncertainty near the boundaries of differentiation that might be associated with recognizable, resonant entities. It also explores how unpredictable, transient events may either reinforce or disturb emerging orders in resonant patterns and what can result from collisions among differentiated resonances. All of this exploration is carried out within the framework of how we can fuse brainwave patterns and musical forms. In the context of musical performances like this one, our intentions are artistic and inclusive, melding products of scientific investigation and technology with aesthetic inquiries and speculations about the nature of human awareness and our ability to describe what we perceive as self and universe.

All the immersive electronic sounds heard in this performance are controlled by coincidences detected among spectral components extracted from performers’ brainwaves (EEG), along with occasional insertions of spontaneous musical impulses passing like breezes through the leaves of a neuromusical forest, which may react and then resettle according to whatever interactive dynamics might be then at play.

–David Rosenboom, June 4, 2015

Photos show setups from performances: 2017 AMT Festival, Fleet Science Center, San Diego with brainwave performers Suzanne Thorpe and Bonnie Jones, photo by Tom Erbe; Buchla Memorial Festival at Gray Area Grand theater in San Francisco with brainwave performers Sarah Reid and Ryan Gaston, photo by Michael Zelner; setup at Centre Pompidou-Metz, France in 2015, photo by David Rosenboom; and Janáčkova Akademie Múzických Umĕní v Brnĕ, Czech Republic, with brainwave performers William Hutson and Micaela Tobin, setup photo by David Rosenboom, photo of performers by Mark Bobak. Muse™ wireless brainwave monitors courtesy of InteraXon, Inc. Portable Gold and Philosophers’ Stones (Deviant Resonances) also appears on Deviant Resonances.

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Hades (2015)

Hades, music by David Rosenboom and text by Erin Young, was written for the "mobile opera for 24 cars," Hopscotch, produced in Los Angeles in 2015 by The Industry, conceived and directed by Yuval Sharon. Hades served as Chapter 26 in Hopscotch. The score calls for four principal singers—soprano, two baritones, and bass—, a "River Voice" trio—two sopranos (one high/coloratura) and mezzo-soprano—, three trumpets, and three percussion. Hades has been recorded and released on Hopscotch from The Industry Records.

"In her nightmare vision, Lucha [a principal character in Hopscotch] arrives at the River Styx [the Los Angeles River in Hopscotch]. She pleads with a Boatman to allow her passage to find Jameson [another principal], and further down the river her deceased father, who prophesies catastrophes befalling the city-Hell is taking over, but she can still save herself. A trio of Furies [River Voices] drives her from the scene." (From Hopscotch synopsis)

HOPSCOTCH OPERA WEBSITE | THE INDUSTRY RECORDS


The Experiment, music by David Rosenboom and text by Erin Young, was written for the "mobile opera for 24 cars," Hopscotch, produced in Los Angeles in 2015 by The Industry, conceived and directed by Yuval Sharon. The Experiment served as Chapter 20 in Hopscotch. The score calls for: one baritenor voice, one tenor voice, one actor, one electronics-software performer, and four brainwave performers—these were audience members in Hopscotch 2015—who wear EEG monitoring devices and perform as active imaginative listeners. Additional possibilities employing more live performers in creative concert versions are noted in the score. Performance software for the piece has been created by the composer using the Reaktor DSP program and Muse-I/O with MUSE™ brainwave monitoring headbands. This software also includes pre-recorded sound samples and tracks. It is also possible to re-create all of these components to suite the needs of new performance initiatives.

"Four test subjects arrive to experiment with Jameson's [principal character] obsession: a headband device that reads and transmits brainwaves. Jameson hopes that this will be a breakthrough into our understanding of consciousness; instead, the experiment makes him snap, as he sees a surreal vision of a mythical boatman. He flees the experiment." (From Hopscotch synopsis) The Experiment also appears on Deviant Resonances.

HOPSCOTCH OPERA WEBSITE

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The Accidental Lion (2014)

The Accidental Lion is a solo piano piece originally written for contemporary pianist Vicki Ray. Though first premiered as part of her "exquisite corpse" project of piano music, it is intended to stand alone as a solo piano piece.


Ringing Minds (2014)

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Ringing Minds is a collaborative work created by David Rosenboom, Tim Mullen and Alexander Khalil, premiered on May 31st, 2014, at Mainly Mozart's "Mozart and the Mind" festival in La Jolla, California, and presented again on May 23rd, 2015, at The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Ringing Minds explores collective brain responses interacting in a spontaneous musical landscape aided by recent advances in sensing technology and powerful tools for analyzing electroencephalograms (EEGs) of multiple brains.

Ringing Minds—collective brain responses interacting in a spontaneous musical landscape (2014), created in collaboration with computational neuroscientist and musician, Tim Mullen, and cognitive scientist and performer-composer, Alex Khalil, offers a significant step forward in the evolution of BCMI (Brain-Computer Music Interfacing) paradigms. Using a technique called hyperscanning, the brains of several musical listeners are treated as one hyper-brain to investigate concepts about complexity and structural forms manifested concurrently in music and multiple brains, along with resonances that can be detected within and between listeners and performers. In Ringing Minds, resonant patterns detected in the hyper-brain’s activity are sonified with a field of ringing, electronic sound resonators. Two musicians, one with an electronic violin and another with a unique xylophone-like instrument made of stone, called a lithophone, respond to activity in this sound field. When, in turn, the hyper-brain responds to sounds created spontaneously by the musicians, the resonator field undulates, as if stones were being tossed into a vast sonic lake, and we hear their ever expanding ripples.

Ringing Minds has been described in detail in More Playful User Interfaces, a new publication by Springer compiled by editor Anton Nijholt.