October 1, 2020

Snyder Releases New Record

Mark Snyder, Assistant Professor of Music, released The Invalid’s Sonnet on Friday, Feb. 19. The new recording features soprano Paige Naylor (UMW Music & Psychology 2014), harpist Becky Brown (UMW Music & Computer Science 2015) and guitarist John White (UMW Music 2013).

The third record from the Virginia-based multimedia composer offers his most potent and emotional music yet. The album’s centerpiece, a four-movement song cycle titled Facets of Love, avoids the traditional art song cliche by following the lover’s spiral from joy to ruin. The poems written by Jeanine Casler take traditional forms, yet their stories are evocative and painful, traversing from love’s exuberant awakenings to its grittiest atrocities, and withering into its most isolated despondency. The anticipation and excitement of the prelude show love at its birth and its butterflies, with waves of sparkling electronics mirroring new affection as it grows and deepens. The soprano builds off this rhythmic trust into the second movement (Our House on the Hill); gentle at first, her voice grows strong and unafraid as the ensemble bolsters her passion into something alive, untethered, and completely joyous.

An uneasy stillness opens the third movement (The Invalid’s Sonnet), punctuated by the haunting echoes that shadow the soprano. The singer’s anger builds until it erupts into self-destructive chaos, with the thundering ensemble giving weight to her pained declarations of personal surrender. A chorus of her own wordless voice drifts into the emptiness left by anger’s end as the fourth movement (Nostalgia) begins; heavy piano chords interrupt the void in the slowest, strained heartbeat. The soprano sings high enough to break, and pure enough to wring her own regretful tears, had she any left to give. Hollow and barely human, the end of the song cycle resonates loss as it echoes into silence.

The abject emptiness felt at the end of Facets of Love grants a certain silence to Calena, a eulogy for a friend who died too young of NUT midline carcinoma, an untreatable form of cancer. Still synths expose a low, unstable melody, combining in dialogue until both give way to a triumphant yet tragic crescendo, her name echoing in the background. Where Nostalgia describes a pure, abstract loss, Calena spans all the emotions that come with remembrance; warm memories organically coexist with new sorrows.

Qwee breathes a starry whisper into the album’s end, at first sounding like a meditation on emerging from solitude. The work shimmers as it builds in both volume and speed, from just slow harp and soft singing to an organ-esque accordion bolstering a whirling cloud of voices. It suggests slowly built confidence after making a well-needed change, every new beat a quicker step on some untraveled path. “I haven’t completely grasped everything about Qwee,” Snyder says. “But it was definitely a beacon.”

The Invalid’s Sonnet will be released on Feb. 19 through all digital retailers and streaming services; physical CDs can also be purchased online. See  marksnyder.org for more information on listening, purchasing, or attending a show.

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Nashville: Mark Snyder at Zeitgeist (Musik Events)

UMW Student Composers Perform Works at UMW and UVA

UMW student and alumni composers had performances of their music at the Hurley Convergence Center on Friday, Feb. 19, and at Open Grounds on the campus of the University of Virginia on Feb. 20 as part of a composer exchange with UVA coordinated by Assistant Professor of Music Mark Snyder.

The program Friday night consisted of Powers for banjo, harp, electric guitar, electric bass, euphonium and timpani, Psychotropic for fixed media and Con todo mi corazón  for soprano, banjo, keyboard and electronics by Mary Paige Rodgers ’16, Invocation for banjo, harp, electric guitar, electric bass, euphonium and timpani by Michael Prime ’17, Hazel Colored Nebula  for piano, harp, electronics, electric bass and  bass drum, Gridlife for fixed media and Cloud for soprano, piano and electronics by Austin O’Rourke ’17, Fortune for banjo, harp, electric guitar, electric bass, euphonium and bass drum by Justin Carrico ’15, Sorrows Weep Not for oboe, guitar and electronics by Stephen Hennessey ’15 and Tarragon for fixed media by Becky Brown ’15. Performing in the concert were Becky Brown: harp, Justin Carrico: electric bass, Stephen Hennessey: electric guitar & classical guitar, Mary Paige Rodgers: banjo: electric guitar, Austin O’Rourke: timpani, bass drum, electronics, synth and piano, Margeaux Ducoing: soprano, Gracie Hardy: clarinet, Danny Arslan: piano, Michael Prime: euphonium, Michael Morley: oboe.

The program at UVA included the same personnel, but added Becky Brown’s Hold Still for live art and electronics and Stephen Hennessey’s Ausgang for processed guitar & electronics. It was held at Open Grounds, a modern manifestation of Jefferson’s founding principles, as it encourages collaborative, cross-disciplinary work across the University. OpenGrounds connects scholars, researchers, artists and external partners in ways that will generate innovative results.

Mary Paige Rodgers is a graduating senior at UMW. She will earn a BA in Music with a minor in Business Spanish. She is primarily a steel string guitarist, but enjoys playing banjo and writing electronic music on the side. Powers is a tribute to Mary Paige’s great-grandmother, who passed away. The piece evokes an emotion of life and magic, because Mary Paige always imagined her Grandmother Powers that way. Con todo mi corazón is Mary Paige’s most recent piece that processes vocals and banjo through Ableton Live. This piece has phrases repeated in both English and Spanish, and tells a story about life and love. Psychotropic is a piece Mary Paige wrote using lines from the 1985 documentary Children of Darkness, which focused on the controversial treatment of young patients with mental illnesses.

Michael Prime has been studying music for 8 years, his instruments including euphonium and harp. He is currently a junior at the University of Mary Washington, double majoring in Music and Computer Science, and studies composition with Dr. Mark Snyder. Invocation was largely influenced by the 5th movement of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, “Dream of a Witches’ Sabbath.” Invocation tells a story of witches during a ritual, beginning with the initial gathering and moves on toward the beginning of the rite itself. The piece then moves to a calmer section as the witches see their spell starting to take, and culminates with the completion of the ritual and the ancient spirits freed.

Austin O’Rourke (b. 1995) is a composer, producer, songwriter and performer studying music composition with Mark Snyder at the University of Mary Washington. Austin’s compositions have been described as “organic,” “touching” and “incredibly emotional.” His works have been presented at the EABD, Root Signals, N_SEME, the West Fork New Music Festival and his piece “Hazel Colored Nebula” has been awarded 2015’s ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award. After his studies, he aspires to focus his work on video game music composition and sound design. Hazel Colored Nebula is a piece dedicated to the aesthetic similarities between irises (avg. 12mm in diameter) and the star-forming gas clouds called nebulae (avg. 8,000 light years in diameter). Gridlife is a piece composed exclusively of iPhone recorded sounds and processing. It is dedicated to transforming a tangible place into a stress dream. Cloud is the three-dimensional object formed from the water-colored brush strokes of a cloud being painted in our sky.

Justin Carrico recently received his Post Baccalaureate degree in music from the University of Mary Washington. He plans to begin graduate studies for composition in the fall of 2016. The late romantic composers as well as modern electronic musicians influence Justin’s compositions. Fortune is a word with a somewhat ambiguous meaning. Semantically it can mean good, bad, wealth or merely the future. The title, much like the piece, can be interpreted differently depending on context. This work was originally composed for concert band, and its realization as a nontraditional ensemble is a testament to Fortune’s malleability.

Becky Brown is a 2015 Music and Computer Science graduate of the University of Mary Washington, studying electro-acoustic composition with Mark Snyder, and harp performance with Grace Bauson. She has been a performer of Dr. Snyder’s music at festivals including SCI National and Regional Conferences, Ball State New Music Festival, Third Practice and Electronic Music Midwest, as well as in his guest artist appearances at numerous universities. Her own works have been performed at Root Signals, the Electroacoustic Barn Dance, and West Fork New Music Festival. In addition, Brown has engineered or assisted on recordings in a wide range of genres, and composed music for theatre and dance. She is the tech director of the Electroacoustic Barn Dance at UMW. Artemisia dracunculus is my favorite spice; it adds an un-sugared sweetness to savory foods that I have come to depend on. Specifically, a combination of mushrooms/balsamic vinegar/garlic/tarragon is more ubiquitous in my diet than almost anything else I can cook in a pan. I have come to accept this as a natural extension of my tendency to over-listen to songs I like, making Tarragon a piece about mashing the repeat button of food. Hold StillA multimedia self-portrait, 2015. Pencil, copper, and Arduino on paper, poetry and video in Max/MSP/Jitter. Drawings anchor my memories far better than photographs; poetry tells my stories better than prose. This piece is more true to me than I am to myself.

Stephen Hennessey earned his B.A. in Music from the University of Mary Washington in 2014 where he studied composition with Mark Snyder. He resides in Central Virginia, pursuing an oneiric aesthetic that confuses the boundary of human and computer/raw audio and synthesis, while serving The Electroacoustic Barn Dance as Programming Director since 2014. Sorrows Weep Not is an abstract song: a sentimental statement for severe want of words. Its binary form is modeled after the track “Vowels” off the 2003 EP “A Quick Fix of Melancholy” by Norwegian avant-garde group Ulver. All electronic sounds are produced through the live performance, and are realized within Ableton Live/Max4Live using both native and community-produced patches. Ausgang is a sentimental  work  structured  around  the  development  of  a  simple  melody through  episodic  processing.  Source  material  for  the  electronic component  is  generated  entirely through the live performance, and is realized within Ableton Live, using both standard devices and community-produced Max4Live patches.

Gracie Hardy is a freshman studying Music and Historic Preservation at the University of Mary Washington. She grew up in a small town in Eastern Oregon, where she began her music studies. For six years Gracie was member of the Eastern Oregon University/Community Band, where she enjoyed studying under Teun Fetz. In high school Gracie placed first in the District Solo Competition on clarinet in 2013, 2014 and 2015, and competed at the Annual Oregon State Solo Competition twice. She also competed with her high school band at the Annual State Band Festival twice. Gracie has been fortunate to study under Sharon Sanders, Jeff Sizer, Teun Fetz and Katie Fetz. She is involved in the University of Mary Washington’s Small Instrumental Ensemble, the Concert Band, and takes private lessons from Doug Gately. Gracie plans to pursue her passion in music performance on clarinet.

Danny Arslan is a third-year music student at the University of Mary Washington. At 20 years of age, Danny enjoys performing many different genres of music, but is primarily focused on his classical studies.

 

Singer, illustrator and competitive dancer Margeaux Ducoing currently lives in Fredericksburg, Va. Born in California and raised in Louisiana, Margeaux is a fifth-year senior at the University of Mary Washington where she double majors in Music and Studio Art and minors in Museum Studies. Her main instrument is voice, as a soprano, while also trying her hand at piano and ukulele. She has performed in different UMW ensembles such as the UMW Choir, UMW Chamber Choir, Philharmonic, and the all-girl a cappella group BellACappella; and has worked with composers Austin O’Rourke and Mary Paige Rodgers on collaborative pieces. Outside of school, Margeaux also performs in the rock cover band Satie Quintuplets.

 

 

Snyder Performs at SEAMUS National Conference, Appointed to Board

Assistant Professor of Music Mark Snyder’s Facets of Love was presented at the 2016 Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUSNational Conference on Feb. 11 at Georgia Southern University. Accompanying him were UMW alums harpist Becky Brown ’15 and soprano Paige Naylor ’14.

Dr. Snyder was also appointed to the SEAMUS board as the new Conference Recruitment Coordinator. He will identify locations of future conferences and act as a liaison between the board and potential conference hosts as they develop their proposals. SEAMUS President Scott Miller said he selected Dr. Snyder for the position based on his many years of experience successfully hosting national conferences, his strong network of professional connections with so many SEAMUS members, and especially his enthusiastic attitude towards the organization and discipline as a whole. “I am certain that Mark is going to be tremendously successful at this position,” said Miller.

Two of Snyder’s students also had performances this year. Becky Brown’s Hold Still, a multimedia self-portrait for pencil, copper and Arduino on paper and video in Max/MSP/Jitter and original poetry from the composer was featured on the opening concert:

Stephen Hennessey’s Sorrow’s Weep Not, an abstract song: a sentimental statement for severe want of words for processed guitar & oboe featuring Staff Advisory Council President and Music Department Office Manager Michael Morley on Oboe and the composer on guitar:

Snyder Performed at Electronic Music Midwest

Mark Snyder, Assistant Professor of Music, performed his multimedia composition Facets of Love for processed soprano,  harp, guitar, piano, electronics and video on Nov. 21 at Electronic Music Midwest in Kansas City, Kans., with soprano Paige Naylor and harpist Becky Brown.

Electronic Music Midwest is dedicated to programming of a wide variety of electroacoustic music and providing the highest quality performance of electronic media. This annual festival consists of approximately nine short concerts (about one hour in length) over the course of a weekend in autumn. Our goal is to bring together vibrant and interesting artists of all forms, and give them a vehicle for their expressions and a place for them to share ideas with others.

EMM has always featured an eight-speaker surround diffusion system under the guidance of Ian Corbett. The core of the system are eight Mackie 1521 bi-amped speakers, an EAW/QSC subwoofer system and a Soundcraft MH3, 32+4 Channel mixer (named “Emily”). Due to Ian’s expertise, many visiting composers comment that EMM is one of smoothest-run festivals they have ever attended.

Since its beginning, EMM has programmed more than 500 new electroacoustic compositions. Composers have traveled from around the world to graciously share their music with audiences in the Midwest. However, EMM is about more than just playing new music. We strive to create an environment conducive to building community interaction. Most concerts are approximately one hour long, and composers have plenty of time to “talk shop” with each other as well as interact socially with students and audience members.

https://vimeo.com/144195571

 

FSU Will be Hosting Second West Fork New Music Festival (Times West Virginia.Com)

UMW Music Well Represented at Root Signals Electronic Music Festival

Facets of Love JUThe University of Mary Washington was represented by Department of Music faculty, students and alumni at the 2015 Root Signals Electronic Music Festival at Jacksonville University in Jacksonville Florida. Root Signals is sponsored by the Division of Music at Jacksonville University, and the Department of Music at Georgia Southern University and featured guest percussionist Tony Steve for the three-day festival of electronic music and media art.

Mark Snyder, Assistant Professor of Music, performed his song cycle Facets of Love to close the festival on Saturday, September 12th. The performance featured Paige Naylor ’14: soprano, Becky Brown ’15: harp, Mark Snyder ’97: guitar, piano, synthesizer & electronics. The poems for Facets of Love were penned by Jeanine Casler, a faculty fellow at Hobart, Northwestern’s Women’s Residential College and the video was created by Anna Weisling, the Music Technology Specialist at The Juilliard School in New York. The first movement can be viewed below:

Junior Music major Austin O’Rourke performed his composition Hazel Colored Nebula during the Emerging Composers Concert on Thursday night, September 10th. His performance of this piece on UMW’s 2015 Undergraduate Research and Creativity Day can be viewed below:

 

Becky Brown (UMW Music graduate 2015) performed her multimedia self-portrait composed during her spring 2015 independent study, Hold Still for pencil, copper, and Arduino on paper, poetry and video in Max/MSP/Jitter on the Saturday September 12th afternoon concert. Her performance of this piece on UMW’s 2015 Undergraduate Research and Creativity Day can be viewed below:

Stephen Hennessey (UMW Music graduate 2014) performed his work for processed guitar and electronics composed during his spring 2014 independent study, Ausgang during the Emerging Composers Concert. His performance of this piece on September 9,2014 can be heard below:

WRIR’s Time is Tight to Feature Mark Snyder Retrospective

 

Mark Snyder

Mark Snyder

Mark Snyder, Assistant Professor of Music, will have a retrospective of some of his music featured on Paul Ivey’s radio show, Time is Tight, this Friday Dec. 5 from 7 to 9 p.m. on WRIR 97.3 in Richmond, Virginia. Mark’s band Nature Boy Explorer that includes students Austin O’Rourke and Becky Brown plus Alums John White and Katherine Presseren will be performing live in the studio. The show will also feature tracks of Mark’s music and/or performances from Easy Chair, Dirt Ball, Grief BirdsIntrepid Trio, One Ring Zero, Malhombre and his electroacoustic music too!

 

Mark Snyder’s Composition Performed at Electronic Music Midwest

Mark-Snyder Mark Snyder, Assistant Professor of Music, performed his multimedia composition, Qwee for processed harp, accordion, electronics and video performed on Oct. 25 at Electronic Music Midwest in Kansas City, Kansas with UMW student harpist, Becky Brown.

Electronic Music Midwest is dedicated to programming of a wide variety of electroacoustic music and providing the highest quality performance of electronic media. This annual festival consists of approximately nine short concerts (about one hour in length) over the course of a weekend in autumn. Our goal is to bring together vibrant and interesting artists of all forms, give them a vehicle for their expressions, and a place for them to share ideas with others.

EMM has always featured an eight-speaker surround diffusion system under the guidance of Ian Corbett. The core of the system are eight Mackie 1521 bi-amped speakers, an EAW/QSC subwoofer system, and a Soundcraft MH3, 32+4 Channel mixer (named “Emily”). Due to Ian’s expertise, many visiting composers comment that EMM is one of smoothest run festivals they have ever attended.

Since its beginning, EMM has programmed over 500 new electroacoustic compositions. Composers have traveled from around the world to graciously share their music with audiences in the Midwest. However, EMM is about more than just playing new music. We strive to create an environment conducive to building community interaction. Most concerts are approximately one hour long, and composers have plenty of time to “talk shop” with each other as well as interact socially with students and audience members.

 

Mark Snyder’s Composition Featured at Arts Now

563956_10151286562520832_1157819989_nMark Snyder, Assistant Professor of Music, had his multimedia work, Messy for processed clarinet, electronics and video performed at North Carolina State University’s Arts Now Series on Oct. 15 by clarinetist Andrea Cheeseman.

The Arts NOW Series at North Carolina State University presents concerts, lectures, and other performing arts events for the University community and the general public. The Arts NOW Series programs feature contemporary work in the arts: new works, new techniques, new interpretations and contexts, and new connections to older work.

Previous presentations have included everything from opera premieres to events based on video works to piano lecture-recitals on mathematics and music to a special event related to global climate change. The presentations make connections and serve such courses at North Carolina State University as those dealing with video/intermedia/film, the arts and technology, the arts and politics, 20th-century music, American music, the arts in various cultures, the arts and the physical sciences, and many other topics of general interest.

Featured artists have come from as far away as Canada, Argentina, Italy, Brazil, England, Germany, Switzerland, and from throughout the United States and have included Robert Ashley, Larry Austin, Steve Duke, Beth Griffith, Jaqueline Humbert, Michael Matthews, Stuart Saunders Smith, Sylvia Smith, the Bremen Clarinet Quartet, the Balkan String Quartet, and many others.

Dr. Andrea Cheeseman is Associate Professor of Clarinet at Appalachian State University. An active and engaging performer, she has received invitations to perform at colleges and universities throughout the country as a soloist and chamber musician. She has performed for diverse festivals such as College Music Society Annual Meetings, the Montana/Idaho Clarinet Festival, the Michigan Contemporary Clarinet Festival and the Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium. She has been a regular performer at the Delta State University Electroacoustic Juke Joint Festival, and in the summer of 2003, Cheeseman was named first runner-up in the Mu Phi Epsilon International Competition.