Gene W. Smith has died from COVID-19

I just learned of the passing of a giant in the world of (microtonal) tuning theory, Gene Ward Smith. His real gig was as a mathematician but often experts from outside of a field, like music, bring unconventional ideas to the table and offer new insight. I’m especially inspired by the Regular Mapping Paradigm laid out by him and colleagues, which has structured my approach to writing, and writing about, music. Rest in peace.

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Our compact disc of Bohlen–Pierce clarinet chamber music, Beyond the Horizon, came out in 2020 (Genuin) but I’ve held off from announcing it only because the current pandemic has stalled our release plans. And the extraordinary situation looks to be the new ordinary for at least half of 2021 if not the whole year. Since I recently found a review in English on the web and Nora-Louise Müller, one of the album’s featured artists, just read a review in last month’s issue of Rohrblatt (plus a review of our friend Christian Klinkenberg’s opera The Glacier, also featuring Müller and our friends) I cannot wait any longer so I’m going to share a few links now for curious ears: Continue reading

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Grad Recital

Four weeks ago today I held my grad recital doctoral examination at the university. Because of the pandemic it had already been postponed from April, the contextual conference/festival had been twice cancelled and this time no audience was allowed, only audio-video technicians and a tiny jury of my academic advisors Prof. Georg Hajdu and Prof. Manfred Stahnke. And although the pandemic blocked one musician, Melle Weijters, from joining us on stage, we used video and audio tracks of his contributions, and together with Nora-Louise Müller and Julia Puls we were able to put on a show. I’m pleased to be able to share a link to the archival video (with start times below, in brackets) and the programme text. Continue reading

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19-tone trumpet

Very happy to have received a new CD with a piece of mine on it, Man in Blue Suit Thanks Firefighters. Stephen Altoft and Donald Bousted did a great job of commissioning, interpreting, performing, recording and producing another album of works for solo microtonal trumpet. I feel honoured to be included with so many composers whose music has also focused on alternative tunings and ‘hidden harmonies.’ Get your copy here.

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