John Fitch has been Professor of Software Engineering in Bath since 1980. In addition to his work in computer algebra, LISP, simulation and other areas of computing he is internationally known for his work with the computer sound synthesis language Csound which he has supported for the last ten years. He has supervised the work of four research students in musical aspects (Dr David Chapman, composer software; Dr Jeremy Leach, computations aesthetics, Mrs Wafaa Shabana, wavelets and plucked strings; Mr Marc Aird, modelling of drums) as well as many undergraduate projects in music, including the widely used Rosegarden notation and sequencing system. He has worked with Professor Barry Vercoe of MIT Media Lab on commercial synthesis systems, and with the composer Professor Richard Boulanger of Berklee College of Music on a wide scope of software synthesis. John ffitch has contributed 4 chapters to the Csound book, as well as software, an additional chapter on using the onset of chaos in composition, and a composition.
In addition he is an amateur composer, with some performances in Hong
Kong, Boston, Bath and a radio broadcast in Madison, WI.
Richard Dobson was educated at the Royal College of Music, specialising in the flute. While there he won a prize as a composer for some settings of e.e. cummings. He has worked mainly as a free-lance flute maker and a flute teacher, and also as a performer of the baroque flute. He also teaches part-time at Bath Spa University College. Since 1994 he has been a visiting research fellow at the Media Technology Research Centre in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, and has written a couple of papers with John Fitch, as well as contributed to the centre in other less measurable ways.
Richard Dobson is a Core Developer for the Composers
Desktop Project, as a documenter, and as a programmer. He wrote
the program GrainMill
for use in schools. He is a major contributor to the international
internet electro-acoustic community, especially to Csound and the DSP lists,
and has developed particular interests in surround sound (3D sound).
Archer's family moved to Syracuse, New York when he was 6 months old. Archer began his musical journey by studying piano and trombone, and began composing while at the Christian Brothers Academy high school in Syracuse.
1965 --- 1967
Studies in philosophy (BA Summa cum Laude 1965, St. Hyacinth College, Mass.), with the emphasis on existential themes and an interest in creativity. During this time, his attention became increasingly focused on music study and composition.
1967 --- 1969
Composition came more to the fore while studying for a degree in theology (STB). During this time he wrote Seasons for soprano and chamber ensemble, The Burning Oneness for the inauguration of a Unitarian minister, and music for a dance production of scenes from the Winnie the Pooh stories. He attended summer schools at Peabody Conservatory studying music history, theory and composition with Louis Cheslock and Stefan Grove.
1969 --- 1971
At Union College, Schenectady, New York, he studied composition with the superb composer/conductor Edgar Curtis, earning a Masters degree in Teaching (MAT). During this period he had a special opportunity to work closely with Edgar and his composition students. Edgar's profound humanity, passionate understanding of musical form and love of composition made a deep and lasting impression, and have remained life-long inspirations.
Archer's musical interests became considerably more radical during this period, exploring experimental areas with zest and freedom. His incidental music for Trojan Women recreated the `ringing plains of windy Troy' with all kinds of metallic found objects (such as a piece of steel flooring, the bonnet/hood of a lorry/truck etc.) as well as sound effects from the `insides' of a piano placed horizontally and played like a cimbalom. Sonata, a serial piece for piano, used a non-typical series constructed from pentatonic material for the second subject, while The Panther, for soprano, 'cello, and dancer, text by Rainer Maria Rilke, applied serial techniques to the natural harmonic series, creating dramatic contrasts between the harmonious intervals in the lower part of the series and the more dissonant intervals in the upper part of the series. The first movement of his Harpsichord Suite was composed with fragments of Gregorian Chant according to serial procedures, while the third movement was a monody.
1971 --- 1975
He then went to the University of York, England, where he studied electronic music with Richard Orton, composition with Bernard Rands, and was constantly inspired by the books, methods and lectures of Professor Wilfrid Mellers. While studying at York, he developed an individual style rooted in the study of melody. In addition to prolonged studies in Medieval Gregorian Chant, he studied the changing relationship of `melody' and `harmony' throughout the history of Western Music, and found particular inspiration in Arabic maqam.
He received the orchestral commission for 1974, for which he wrote the extraordinary Amoeba, a study in the pursuit of personal identity, with 2 conductors, one of whom has an acting/speaking role, soprano soloist, and an orchestra whose speaking and singing is woven into the music they play.
He was active as a composer/performer in the experimental music theatre group formed at the University by Bernard Rands, working with composers Roger Marsh, Steve Stanton, Jonty Harrison and vocalist Melody Lovelace. He wrote the music theatre piece Savari I for this group, and performed in it as the `overseer', a vocal role in which extended vocal techniques are woven into a multi-layered melodic line.
He graduated in 1975 with a Ph.D. in composition.
1975 - 1999
During 1976 and 1977 he formed his own music theatre group and presented concerts at the Edinburgh Fringe during the summers of both those years, featuring his Savari II and The Burial of the Moon.
The focus for the next 10 years was on composition, receiving commissions from Yorkshire Arts (Lift-Off), Merseyside Arts (Sonata a Due) and Midlands Arts ( Corona Quintet). Self-employed, besides his composing, he has worked as a music editor and copyist for Edition Eulenburg and Edition Kunzelmann, and has taught part time at Bingley College of Further Education, The University of York, Sheffield Polytechnic, and the Open University.
The following compositions evolve a musical style which integrates melody, harmony, recorded and computer-processed sound, and acoustic instruments - a style, perhaps surprisingly, rooted in the modal principles of Gregorian, Indian and Arabic music - without trying to duplicate any of these styles.
Key works focused on developing and playing with the melody-harmony relationship. Time-Span (piano solo, 1976-1981), for example, moved step-by-step from the harmonic to the melodic in 27 pieces, encompassing along the way all the key forms of Western music, as well as numerous `logically possible' forms rooted in intermediate melody-harmony relationships; each piece uses a different harmonic basis. Steps, for Soprano and Clarinet (with both performers also following notated movement patterns), gradually establishes and dissolves a chordal harmonic substratum. The major choral work, Intercommunications moves through a range of contrapuntal possibilities as well as extended vocal techniques. Savari III for Tuba and 4-channel tape uses the geometric `savari' rhythm as a framework in which to move from a multi-layed cacophony of noises to harmonic counterpoint. Lifelines for saxophone quartet explores the interface between melody, harmony and timbre; in Fantasia, the violin unfolds a raga-like melody over a triple-counterpoint fugue in the piano part, with each of the three subjects using a different harmonic system; and in The Watchers' Orbit, male chorus and DX7s weave text and sound together, using several different languages. Nomad, a 40 minute `epic journey' for unaccompanied alto saxophone, combines many extended performance techniques with a matrix of melodic components developed over years of study and experimentation; Archer wrote several custom computer programs as part of the pre-compositional process. A recent development has involved writing a Cscore computer program to generate Fibonacci-type chords within specified intervals. The idea here is to be able to work with 'harmonies' which overlap the timbral/sound dimension.
Archer was also active in the local composer/performer organisation SOUNDPOOL for which he wrote several compositions, including Cartoon for instrumental ensemble. He then joined with colleagues in York to form INTERFACE, which was concerned with discussing and performing electroacoustic music. With the advent of the first personal computers, the members of this group became rapidly and increasingly involved with computer programming for music.
The latter led to the formation of the Composers' Desktop Project (CDP) in 1986, an independent company which developed one of the world's first systems for direct-to-disk computer recording and (especially) sound processing for music composition. This initially used the Atari ST, with specialist hardware designed by Dave Malham, and is now available on Atari Falcon030, PC and Silicon Graphics platforms. Archer has edited, written and published the major part of the documentation for the System. He is also now working closely with Richard Orton on the evolution of Richard's program for algorithmic composition, Tabula Vigilans.
CDP has been set up as an international cooperative project among composers and has grown enormously both in the scope of its software (now numbering over 200 items) and in its membership over the next 13 years. Archer has served as its Administrator and Coordinator since 1987, developing a multi-faceted enterprise encompassing:
Archer now enjoys the use of the CDP System for his own compositional
activities, while continuing his work for the Project.
Julian Padget completed his PhD in Bath in 1984 on language and implementation aspects of LISP. Past and latent interests include computer algebra, discrete event simulation and the design and implementation of Lisp systems, in respect of which he was a visiting researcher at the Rand Corporation, Hewlett Packard Labs (Palo Alto), the University of Utah, IBM T.J.Watson Research Center (Yorktown Heights), and INRIA (Roquencourt). Current activities fall mostly under the heading of electronic commerce and multi-agent systems, including aspects of formal systems (process algebra), distributed systems and language design.
The primary focus of the agent activity is on the specification,
verification and animation of electronic institutions for the purpose
of building a basis for trust between potential trading partners and
between them and the context in which trading may take place. The
ideas that have been developed are in the process of being examined in
the applied in the contexts of several application areas (organ and
tissue distribution, power markets, grid computing, synthetic
performance of computer music).
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