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Composers Inside Electronics return to The Kitchen, March 29-31

March 13, 2018 | By Matt Gross
Publicist, Blake Zidell & Associates



The Kitchen’s Synth Nights series celebrates the 40th anniversary of Composers Inside Electronics’ first performances at the space with three evenings of concerts, featuring new works and selections of the original materials CIE played at The Kitchen in 1977 and 1978 (March 29-March 31). In its earlier years, CIE pioneered music that evolved from an ethos of home-built electronic circuitry, resonance, software and the discovery of the boundless musical potentials of technology’s inner-workings. Their early performances were supported by the DIY movement’s renewed interest in analog circuitry from a new generation of artists, and an ongoing engagement with the possibilities for shaping sound in space. Over the course of the three evenings at The Kitchen, a variety of compositions will represent the spellbinding breadth of works and instruments the collective has cultivated—from self-built analog instruments to the most recent digital technologies.

CIE started in 1973, when a group of 20-somethings (John Driscoll, Phil Edelstein, Linda Fisher, Ralph Jones, Martin Kalve, Bill Viola, and, shortly after Paul DeMarinis) began working with pianist/composer David Tudor. Their initial collaboration was a vehicle for the development of the electro-acoustical sound environment Rainforest IV, which stemmed from Tudor’s previous work with 9 Evenings: Theatre & Engineering and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, and was first seen at New Music in New Hampshire. In 1976, under Tudor’s guidance, the group expanded to feature collaborative electronic performance works for the Festival d’Automne in Paris.

Tudor wrote, in a handwritten program note summing up the aims of the collective for the Festival D’Automne, “The realm of electronics, entered into in the spirit of discovery, can give the musician a new world. Electronic components and circuitry observed as individual and unique instruments, rather than as servo-mechanisms, will more and more reveal their personalities, directly related to the particular musician involved w/ them. The deeper this process of observation, the more the components seem to require and suggest their own musical ideas, arriving at that point of discovery, always incredible, where 'music' is revealed from 'inside,' rather than from 'outside.'”

Following the Paris performances, the group honed their collective vision in the performances at The Kitchen in both 1977 and 1978. “Those performances in ‘77 and ‘78 were pivotal to the group,” says John Driscoll. “That was when we really started to work in earnest on this collaborative model of performing, where one composer would have a concept for a work, but was realized by the group—and when people collaborated on the realization, it changed the conception of a lot of the works. This model has given us a very strong sense of community, and maturation, and evolution in how to transcend generations in what we do.”

CIE will reconstruct four works they played during the ‘77/’78 season for their performances at The Kitchen, which will feature different sets each evening. David Tudor’s “Forest Speech” (1976), which was performed for the first time as a group realization at The Kitchen, will involve multiple collaborators with resonant Rainforest instruments using original Tudor sound sources combined with new sound materials. John Driscoll’s “Listening Out Loud” (1977)will be reconstructed for a bowed saw duo, with a performer controlling software-based modulation of the saw signals, as a narrator recites text titled “The American,” and, between readings, eats olives and throws the pits into an amplified bowl. The 2018 restaging of Phil Edelstein’s “Shrieks and Nuptials” (1976) will be updated with a tablet or cell phone, with the device’s motion sensors manipulated by a large elastic band. Ralph Jones’s Star Networks at the Singing Point (1978) will see performers creating chaotic oscillators “on the fly” using networks of analog components and high-gain tube or solid-state preamplifiers. CIE will also perform newer works by Paul DeMarinis, John Driscoll, Phil Edelstein, Tom Hamilton, Michael Johnsen, Ron Kuivila, Cecilia Lopez, Paula Matthusen, and Margaret Anne Schedel.

Performances will take place on March 29March 30, and March 31at 8pm at The Kitchen (512 West 19th Street). Tickets are $20 for general admissions and $15 for members, and will go on sale on January 10 at 12pm. With any questions, please contact the box office at or by phone at 212.255.5793 x11.  

Funding Credits

Music programs at The Kitchen are made possible with endowment support from Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust; annual grants from The Amphion Foundation, Inc., The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Howard Gilman Foundation, and The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation; and in part by public funds from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

More About Composers Inside Electronics

Composers Inside Electronics is a group of composer/performers dedicated to the composition and live collaborative performance of electronic and electro-acoustic music using both software and circuitry designed and constructed by individual composers, who also create interactive sound installations. CIE has acted as a performance umbrella with over 30 artists performing and exhibiting over its 45 years.

An ongoing commitment to collaborative performance of new individual and group works is central to CIE’s evolution.  The group’s work includes the use of: custom-built software instruments, resonant sculptural instruments, rotating and focused loudspeaker systems and ultrasonic instruments with an emphasis on creating a rich sonic architecture.  Numerous works utilize the resonant character of the performance spaces as instruments.

The group is currently working on the recreation of original audio modulators designed by Gordon Mumma that David Tudor used for works he created at the E.A.T. Pavilion in Osaka in 1970.  His works Microphone, Pepsibird, Pepscillator, and Anima Pepsi will then be performed using a combination of the original analog processors and software-based systems.

About The Kitchen

The Kitchen is one of New York City’s most forward-looking nonprofit spaces, showing innovative work by emerging and established artists across disciplines. Our programs range from dance, music, performance, and theater to video, film, and art, in addition to literary events, artists' talks, and lecture series. Since its inception in 1971, The Kitchen has been a powerful force in shaping the cultural landscape of this country, and has helped launch the careers of many artists who have gone on to worldwide prominence.







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