News & Music Events 2016-2017

January 2017

Fri, Jan 27, 2017

Senior Music Performance Thesis: Anthony Narag '17 and Tomal Hossain '17

The Amherst College Department of Music presents “Kundalini Rising”, an original composition for voices and electronics by Tomal Hossain '17 on Friday, Jan. 27, at 8 p.m. in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Center at Amherst College. The concert is free and open to the public; seating is by general admission.

“Kundalini Rising” was conceived to serve as an experimental soundtrack for guided meditation for yogic practices such as that of Sahaja Yoga. In particular, the piece’s seven movements deal with texts and musical material that correspond with the ethical and psychological associations espoused by the seven chakras (centers of spiritual energy) housed along the spine of one’s body. In the act of meditation, one concentrates on reciting affirmations directed towards each chakra, one after another, culminating in intense spiritual cleansing. This highly perceptible sensation is thought to reflect one’s attainment of self-realization, i.e. a keen recognition of divinity within.

The piece’s melodic material draws heavily from the music of South Asian composer-performers including Kazi Nazrul Islam and the Dagar family of Dhrupad musicians. Formal and harmonic choices resemble that of the twentieth century choral sounds of Meredith Monk, György Ligeti, Veljo Tormis, David Lang, John Cage, and Arvo Pärt. Digital samples and effects processing are inspired by the EAI (Electroacoustic Improvisation) scene of the late twentieth century up till the present day. Texts for the pieces seven movements are either poems or excerpts of writing by the spiritual leader and polymath, Sri Chinmoy (1931-2007).
The debut performance features eight vocalists, a laptop player, and the composer himself serving as conductor.

For a complete listing of upcoming Amherst College Department of Music events, visit us on the web: www.amherst.edu/academiclife/departments/music/events.

Mon, Jan 30, 2017

Yvette Janine Jackson standing and adjusting knobs and wires on a soundboard

"Radio Drama as a Model for Electroacoustic Composition": Talk by Yvette Janine Jackson (University of California, San Diego)

4:30 pm Frost Library, Center for Humanistic Inquiry

The Department of Music launches “New Perspectives in American Music,” a spring semester 2017 speaker series, with "Radio Drama as a Model for Electroacoustic Composition,” a talk by Yvette Janine Jackson (Ph.D. Candidate, Music/Integrated Studies, University of California, San Diego) at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 30, at the Center for Humanistic Inquiry, Frost Library, Amherst College.

Jackson's talk advocates for the inclusion of radio drama into the electroacoustic music repertoire and suggests how radio drama aesthetics and production techniques serve as models for acousmatic composition. Many pioneers of electroacoustic music developed their works in radio facilities utilizing similar equipment and methods used in contemporaneous radio drama productions. Characteristics from three eras will be reviewed: the Golden Age of Radio (1930s-1950s), the Age of Television (1950s-1980s) and the Internet Age (1990s-present). Drawing upon her own work, excerpts from Jackson's radio operas "Inv​isible Peop​le (A Radio Opera)" and ​"Swan" will be presented to exemplify how radio drama and electroacoustic music have influenced her creative practice.

Yvette Janine Jackson is a composer, sound designer and installation artist whose works frequently focus on historical events and relevant social issues. Recent projects include ​"Par​ty Line," a sound installation for San Diego Art Institute’s “The Dead Are Not Quiet: A Group Exhibition of Macabre Art”; ​"Duets in the Key o​f Dada with David Molina" at the San Francisco International Arts Festival; a residency at Stockholm’s Elektronmusikstudion (EMS); the premiere of ​"This is Rad​io Opera" at Audiorama Stockholm​ ; ​"Soldier," a five-day immersive cinematic installation for the Recombinant Media Lab at Qualcomm Institute’s Calit2; and ​"Invisible People (A Ra​dio Opera)." She was selected by the American Composers Orchestra to participate in the third Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute in 2015 and awarded a reading of her composition "Atla​ntic Crossing" by the Naples Philharmonic in 2016. Jackson earned a B.A. in music from Columbia University, where she was active in the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center as it transitioned into the Computer Music Center. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in music/integrative studies at the University of California, San Diego. Please see www.yvettejackson.com for more information.

“New Perspectives in American Music” is a spring-semester 2017 speaker series offered by the Department of Music and hosted by the Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Amherst College.

Future speakers include Alisha Jones (Indiana University) on Feb. 27, Braxton Shelley (University of Chicago) on March 20 and Patrice Rushen (University of Southern California) on April 10. All talks are open to the public and begin at 4:30 p.m. For more information, please contact Alisa Pearson at concerts@amherst.edu.