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Ramapo College Music Avant Garde and Experimental Music Class to Present Live Streamed Concert on May 3

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)April 27, 2022

MAHWAH, N.J. — On Tuesday, May 3 at 7 p.m., the Ramapo College Music Program will present a unique online live streamed concert performed by the Avant Garde and Experimental Music class via Twitch. Viewers can watch at

Members of the class will perform the program of experimental music and performance works from the campus Electronic Music Lab in the H-Wing. The pieces being presented date from 1956–2016, and anticipate many current forms of creativity such as mashups, live looping performances, remixes, and internet memes.

The concert opens with Radio Music by John Cage, composed in 1956. Cage is perhaps the singular most important figure in the history of avant garde and experimental music. Best known for his silent piece, 4’33” for a solo pianist, his compositions and writings challenge the most fundamental notions of what music is. Radio Music was composed using chance operations to create a score which is performed on portable AM/FM radios. The result is a sonic collage made up of live radio and noise that are being broadcast at the time of the performance.

Ryan Ross Smith is a composer, performer, sound designer, engineer and educator currently based in upstate New York. Smith has performed throughout the U.S., Europe and UK, including performances at MoMA and PS1 in New York City, and Le Centre Pompidou in Paris. His music has been performed throughout North America, Iceland, Denmark, Australia and the UK, and he has presented his work and research at numerous prestigious international conferences and universities. Smith is known for his work with Animated Notation, a technique in which visually compelling animations provide dynamic musical instructions for the performers. Animated Notation offers composers the ability to create quite complex music that is quite easily read and realized by performers of all levels. The class concert will include three Studies by Ross, each involving different electronic music playing techniques and sonic materials.

Devil’s Music (1985/2015) by Nicolas Collins is a performance piece about global media, local culture, and individual interference. Collins is a Professor of Sound Art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and is internationally known as a composer, performer, and author of Hardware Hacking, a textbook for modifying and building custom electronic instruments. He developed Devil’s Music in 1985 out of a fascination with early Hip Hop DJs, a Cagean love of the splendor of radio, the introduction of the first affordable, portable samplers, and a simple home-made “stuttering circuit” inspired by his years as a student of Alvin Lucier. In Devil’s Music, similar to Radio Music, the performer sweeps the radio dial in search of suitable material, which is sampled in snippets of one second or less. These are then looped, layered and de-tuned. In 2015 Collins created a software version of Devil’s Music for performance by a computer ensemble. Each player in the group brings their own music to the performance, and the ensemble improvises together using Collins’ custom software to process and cut up the recordings live.

Fluxus was an art movement that began in the 1960’s which sought to break down barriers between art and life through performances that utilized found events, sounds, and materials. The class members have created short video versions of Fluxus performance and action pieces which bear striking resemblance to some internet memes found on YouTube or TikTok, even though they were conceptualized decades before the World Wide Web was created.

For more information, contact Professor Ben Neill at


About Ramapo College

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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