New Music for the 21st Century
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VOX NOVUS NEWSLETTER - New Music for the 21st Century
> REVIEW: Torrid Mix
> POSTCARD: Shoes and Handbags
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> Composer's Voice - call for electric-jazz guitar and piano
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CD Review

Mike McFerron Torrid Mix

Mike McFerron – Torrid Mix

Stephan Casurella, piano;
GéNIA, piano;
Thomas Clement, flute

Prelude to You Brought This On Yourself, Stratum, Dinadanvtli, Minute Distances, Torrid Mix: featuring DJ Jazzy King and Master L.T., 9.17.2003, Stationary Fronts, ∆p∆x≥4/π

It is a very bold statement for Mike McFerron to start his 2008 disc Torrid Mix with the fixed media piece “Prelude to You Brought This On Yourself.” The initial quiet and gentle gestures do indeed make one think of a “prelude” but once the homophobic soundbites kick in you realize this isn't the piece you thought it was going to be. Juxtaposed agains a mournful and distant vocal melody, McFerron presents this hateful material with a sense of emotional detachment. But again, once you think that you know what to expect, McFerron switches the tone by replacing the homophonic rants with soundbites from Hitler speeches. McFerron's skill with fluid transformations and juxtapositions is one of the primary stylistic traits that binds together the works on this disc. Even when the musical material is less socio-politically charged, these techniques are things that McFerron astutely uses on many levels.

Another key element in McFerron's music is his strong sense of rhythm. “Minute Distances,” a minute-long microtonal synth-marimba eruption, is the first real example of McFerron's ability to groove. “Torrid Mix,” the title track for piano and fixed media, merges the sustained transformations heard in “Prelude” and pulls it together with driving rhythms created from a high-speed rap happening in the background. “Torrid Mix” is an exceptionally cool piece with life, vitality, and great orchestrational touches between the live piano and the tape.

The brief fixed media piece “9.17.2003” again grooves and vamps on mainly vocal sounds while “Stationary Fronts” for flute and fixed media again merges high-energy rhythms with timbrally active and sensitive synthesis. “∆p∆x≥4/π” sounds as a sonic extension to “Minute Distances” but this time using piano samples instead of marimba sounds. The end result is a toccata that makes full use of the stereo field; it is the sonic equivalent of Nancarrow's player pianos being melted in a Dali painting.

Shoes and Handbags

Doris Piano

Undaunted by the failure of the initial production of his opera “Mourning Becomes Electra,” composer Marvin Levy extensively revised the music. Happily, two triumphant revivals resulted. Critics attributed much of the success to the addition of the Hospital Scene and accompanying “Shoes and Handbags” aria: A frazzled Nurse Wiggins steps out of the St. Salmon’s Hospital’s Birthing Center to review the singular events of the last hour. She had assisted her surgical team in a complicated caesarian section on a very expectant Mrs. Gangalore Beetlevue. The operation resulted in a medical first for the hospital: a newborn who resembled a sharply toothed and broadly snouted reptile indigenous to the southeast United States more so than a traditional crumbsnatcher. Cradling the infant, Nurse Wiggins wonders if the mother’s wish to breast-feed is a good idea. What on Earth to do?! As Baby X gazes hungrily at her with eyes that hark back to the Oligocene Epoch, the perfect solution comes instantly to mind, and she poignantly sings “Shoes and Handbags!”

David Gunn

David Gunn


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Fifteen Minutes of Fame

Fifteen Minutes of Fame


Fifteen-Minutes-of-Fame: The Crane Harp Ensemble

Deadline May 10, 2013

Vox Novus is calling for one-minute harp ensemble works. The one-minute works are to be written specifically for the Crane Harp Ensemble. The selected pieces will be performed in New York City on the Composer's Voice concert on November 10th, 2013 Submission guidelines:

The Crane Harp Ensemble performs harp duos, trios, quartets, etc. and gives at least one formal concert each semester. The ensemble includes students as well as members of the surrounding community. The Crane Harp Ensemble is directed by Dr. Jessica Suchy-Pilalis, professor of harp and music theory.

Click here for more details

Composer's Voice

Composer's Voice

Calling for works (3-5 minutes) composed for electric-jazz guitar and piano

Deadline September 9, 2013

Vox Novus is calling for short pieces (3-5 minutes) minute pieces composed for electric-jazz guitar and piano to be premiered by Rodrigo Baggio, guitar and Lis de Carvalho,piano)at the EMESP College of Music in collaboration with Composer’s Voice concert Series October 20, 2013 in São Paolo, Brazil

For more information visit

Rodrigo Baggio

Rodrigo Baggio has excelled internationally in 2012, playing concerts and having his music played in various countries around the globe. He was the guest guitarist of Université Laval (Quebec) in their 2012 winter semester, premiering four compositions (“Serra Verde” – for guitar, “Suíte Américas” – for guitar and trombone, “Lâmpada do Operário” – for tenor, guitar and trombone and “Ciclo de Improvisações Sobre Memórias Regionais” – for guitar and tenor saxophone) commissioned by the great trombone player Dr. James C. Lebens for that special occasion. Alongside the concerts, Mr. Baggio has composed music for different ensembles and projects such as “Fantasia Brasileira I” (for guitar) specially written for Prof. Brian Katz (University Of Toronto). His piece “Three Insights Of The Brazilian Landscape” (for Percussion) was one of the winner pieces of “Carl von Ossietzky Composition Prize” at Oldenburg University (Germany). A former pupil of Jaime Barbosa (Composition/University of Ribeirão Preto), Dr. Marcos Cavalcante (Improvisation/University of Campinas) and Arrigo Barnabé (Composition/ULM), Baggio is currently developing his own project called "Guitar Solo" in which Composition and Improvisation are combined on a particular way of instrumental performance.

Lis de Carvalho

Pianist, arranger and composer Lis de Carvalho started her Music education with her mother, Dinéa de Carvalho Ferrete when she was 6 years old and later studied with piano jazz with Hilton Jorge Valente (Gogô); composition with Prof. H. J. Koellroeuter; harmony, arrangement and Orquestration with Prof. Cláudio Leal Ferreira; Electronic Music and Synthesizer Programming at Escola Síntesis; Advanced Piano with Prof. Maria José Carrasqueira. Lis obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy -at FFCHL ( Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências Humanas e Letras) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Jazz Piano at FASM (Faculdade Santa Marcelina). Lis de Carvalho teaches piano and harmony, as well as the coordinator of the Jazz Piano Program at Tom Jobim EMESP - ( Estado de São Paulo Music School). She has performed with the following musicians: Paulo Moura, Raul de Souza, Lula Galvão, Roberto Sion, Altamiro Carrilho, Edu Lobo e Orquestra Jazz Sinfônica, Quarteto em Cy, Vânia Bastos, Tetê Spindola, Eliete Negreiros, Zezé Mota, Paula Lima, Margareth Menezes, Walter Franco, among others. Lis de Carvalho has recorded a Bossa Nova piano solo CD, for the MPBaby Series, MCD record. She has launched a digital video class by HMP Publishing Company and recorded many of her compositions in several CDs and DVDs with Celso Pixinga and other mainstream musicians of vocal and instrumental music. Lis has recently (2012) released her own CD Caminho de Dentro at the live TV Program Ses.

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