Res Musica: Making melodies out of trivial material

November 12, 1990|By Ernest F. Imhoff | Ernest F. Imhoff,Evening Sun Staff

THEY'RE GOING TO COMPOSE some music at Bryn Mawr School tomorrow night with a synthesizer, a computer called a sequencer and an audience singing rounds and, it's hoped, keeping a sense of humor.

Dr. Thomas Rhea, professor of music synthesis at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, will ask those in the audience to sing rounds and from that acorn use his equipment to build some kind of musical tree with short melody fragments, rests and tone colors.

"It's called 'streaming,' a concept showing how the ear works," Rhea said. "We will take linear voices and play them over and over again. The ear picks up close notes and integrates them into a new musical experience, melodies out of trivial material."

Maybe you've got to hear it to believe it. That's at least what Rhea and Vivian Adelberg Rudow, director of Res MusicAmerica, hope people do when she presents a concert of taped electronic music with a mime and a dancer, followed by the original composition at Bryn Mawr's Centennial Hall on Melrose Avenue in north Baltimore.

"We can't predict exactly what's going to happen Tuesday in creating this music," noted Rhea, a former symphony trumpet player, ex-synthesizer marketing director and promoter of new tech music-making. "The people will provide notes randomly, make decisions and shape the notes like a composer." The composition takes about 20 minutes.

Earlier, two French composers, known for founding and directing the world's largest electroacoustic music festival at Bourges, will talk and play their taped music. Francoise Barriere will describe her 15-minute musical tribute to gold miner Johann Sutter. Mark Jaster, a mime from Washington, interprets as the sounds come from two speakers.

Christian Clozier introduces his 22-minute piece while Kathy Wildberger, principal choreographer of the Path Dance Company, dances to the music. A reception with the artists follows. Tickets at the door for the 8 p.m. concert are $8, $6 for seniors and $4 for students. Call 788-2124 for more information.

Now in its 11th year, the "ebbing and flowing" Res MusicAmerica was originally known with a "Baltimore" in its title but wanted to reflect a wider interest in living American composers. Yet it is the work of two Baltimore composers, Robert Macht and Elam Ray Sprenkle, that will be played for the first time in the next concert at 3:30 p.m. Jan. 6 at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Deborah Greitzer, bassoon; Jeffrey Silberschlag, trumpet, and playing with video, cellist Jeffrey Kreiger will be among artists performing different pieces.

Electronic music amid people sitting on folding chairs near Lotuses and such is another Rudow production, planned at Motor Coach, Ltd., Randallstown at 3:30 p.m. Sunday Feb. 24. Res MusicAmerica's chamber ensemble will be in concert at 8 p.m. Friday March 1 at the Weinberg Center, Frederick.

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