Serving the San Francisco Bay Area New Music Community

Sun, Apr 28 2024 7:00 PM

West Oakland Sound Series
2201 Poplar Street Dresher Ensemble Studio Oakland
Click for Venue page

John Bischoff

The Bay Area's premier piano duet, ZOFO plays excerpts from "Echoes of Gamelan." This new program explores the influence of Balinese gamelan music on western composers, as well as how our music perception changes depending on the context.
"Pemungkah and Tabuh Telu," from Balinese Ceremonial Music
(transcribed by Colin McPhee for two pianos, arranged for one piano by ZOFO)
"Beta Cygni" - George Crumb
"Prisms for Gene Davis," excerpts 1, 2, 4, & 5 - Brian Baumbusch
"In the Kraton" - Leopold Godowsky
"Speech Delay" - Ni Nyoman Srayamurtikanti (transcribed by Brian Baumbusch)

John Bischoff (b. 1949, San Francisco) is an early practitioner of live computer music known for his solo constructions in real-time synthesis. A founding member of The League of Automatic Music Composers and The Hub network music bands, he was on faculty for many years in the legendary Music Department at Mills College. He presents three solo compositions for computer and custom analog circuits.

Both "Visibility Study" (2015) and "Bitplicity" (2020) feature homemade analog circuits in performance with software synthesis elements generated by a laptop. The analog circuits are pulse-wave oscillators sounding in audio and sub-audio realms which are animated by performer actions—-primarily the momentary shorting of conductive points in each circuit. To accomplish this, the circuits are fabricated by the composer with critical trace points brought to the top of the circuit box in the form of brass rails. The rails run parallel to each other where they can be "shorted" (the circuit points closed) with coins wielded by the performer. The two solos share common software structures throughout: -as circuit tones come to life they sound at the loudspeakers and trigger digital synthesis responses via the laptop as well - circuit events are also analyzed for spectral content and elapsed time between events - the pitch and timing of subsequent digital synthesis is driven by this performance-acquired data--no pre-performance data is employed

"Calliope" (2022) is a take-off on Leon Theremin’s realization of Henry Cowell’s concept—an instrument called the "Rhythmicon" which automatically reiterates its tones at rates corresponding to the ratios of selected pitch combinations. I was inspired by a YouTube clip of Andre Smirov playing one of Theremin’s original instruments. The device is so beautifully elegant, and sonically quirky at the same time, that I wanted to build a digital synthesis version on the same principles but where the electronic instrument has internal drift in all dimensions - the tones migrate out of tune and disassemble in time as each phrase develops.