Come play with music

Comments () A Text Size
University of North Texas
Faculty composer Merrill Ellis, pictured here, established the Electronic Music Center in 1963. It was one of the first studios of its kind in the U.S. The center first made compositions for magnetic tape and live performances using analog synthesizers. By 1981, the center gained worldwide recognition by hosting the seventh International Computer Music Conference.

Experimental music center turns 50

The Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia turns 50 this year.

The program has been eclipsed by another program in the University of North Texas College of Music — namely jazz studies — but the enterprising program was one of the first of its kind. In a nutshell, the center with a mouthful for a name promotes three things: research about experimental music and the technology around music; the making of experimental music; and a product called “intermedia.” (That’s a fancy university word for the place where sound, image and performance meet in a theatrical, three-dimensional setting.)

Let’s recap: Before YouTube was a glimmer in the eye of some open-source wonk, before plucky and playful creative types aimed a smartphone camera at random public displays of music, performance and visuals, the Denton-based center was busy developing just that. Some of it the center did for the sake of learning, and some of it the center did for the sake of sheer delight.

To throw itself a party, the program stages CEMIcircles Festival, a three-day stretch of performances this weekend that can put some of the center’s long-running exploration and invention in a palatable package for a curious public.

“This will be an artistic homecoming where faculty, students, and collaborators past and present come together and share their recent work,” said CEMI Director Andrew May in a statement. “It will be an opportunity to reflect on the many different people, ideas and technologies that have shaped CEMI over the years.”

Today, the center’s students and faculty make art that explores the frontiers of music and intermedia technology, including interactive computer music, video designed to “immerse” the audience in sound, and sound that is made to move through space. The center continues to encourage innovative research and artistic work, May said. CEMI will again host the International Computer Music Conference in 2015.

“The people and the music in CEMI have always had a distinctive character, quite different from any of the studios on the East or West coasts — above all, a commitment to independent exploration, discovery and experimentation,” May said.

— Lucinda Breeding



11 a.m. Music Now panel discussion featuring all living CEMI directors in Voertman Hall in the UNT Music Building

2:30 p.m. — Concert 1, featuring: John Nichols III, Sarah Ruth Alexander, Daniel Bernardo, Greg Dixon, Adam Scott Neal, Kyong Mee Choi, Cindy McTee and Joshua Harris at Merrill Ellis Intermedia Theater in the music building

7:30 p.m. — Concert 2, featuring: Paul Thomas, Chris Polcyn, Scott Price, Lucio Edilberto Cuéllar Camargo, Tom Clark and Jon Christopher Nelson at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, 2201 N. Field St. in Dallas. Tickets to Social Science program cost $15 in advance. For ages 21 and up.


11 a.m. — Concert 3, featuring: Josh Simmons, Jing Wang, Chien-Wen Cheng, Émilie Payeur, João Pedro Oliveira and Philip Winsor at the UNT Sky Theater, Environmental Sciences Building, 1704 W. Mulberry St.

12:30 to 2:30 p.m. — Installations open for viewing in the CEMI Studios in the Music Building, featuring Nicholas Kanozik and Taurin Barrera, and Peter Leonard.

2:30 p.m. — Concert 4, featuring: Merrill Ellis, Chapman Welch, Stephen Lucas, Panayiotis Kokoras, Butch Rovan and Joseph Lyszczarz in Merrill Ellis Intermedia Theater in the Music Building

8 p.m. Concert 5, featuring: Rodney Waschka II, Kevin Jones, Sever Tipei, Joseph Klein, Elainie Lillios, Seth Shafer and Ryan Fellhauer, Jen Hill and Will King in Voertman Hall in the Music Building


11 a.m. — Concert 6, featuring: Dave Gedosh, Stephen David Beck, Larry Austin and David Stout, Cory Metcalf and Trio KAZE in Merrill Ellis Intermedia Theater in the Music Building

12:30 to 2:30 p.m. — Installations open for viewing in the CEMI Studios in the Music Building, featuring Nicholas Kanozik and Taurin Barrera, and Peter Leonard.

2:30 p.m. — Concert 7, featuring: Eli Fieldsteel, Brian Sears, Jon Fielder, Arthur Gottschalk, Robert Frank, Andrew May and Benjamin Shirey in Voertman Hall in the Music Building

Comments is now using Facebook Comments. To post a comment, log into Facebook and then add your comment below. Your comment is subject to Facebook's Privacy Policy and Terms of Service on data use. If you don't want your comment to appear on Facebook, uncheck the 'Post to Facebook' box. To find out more, read the FAQ .
Copyright 2011 Denton Record-Chronicle. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.