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(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)April 22, 2021

Digital Music Performance Class

Ramapo College Digital Music Performance class members and Professor Ben Neill rehearsing “Brackets” (2014) by Nicolas Collins.

MAHWAH, N.J. — On Friday, May 7 at 8 p.m. the Ramapo College Music Program will present a unique online live streamed concert performed by the Digital Music Performance class via Twitch. https://www.twitch.tv/rcnjmusic

The concert will be performed by nine students, all playing together from their remote locations using sophisticated software that enables high resolution, low latency audio collaboration over the internet in real time. The class has been exploring different platforms for audio performance and collaboration this semester, and this event will showcase the possibilities offered by the most current networking technologies.

The program will consist of ensemble pieces by the late Pauline Oliveros, Nicolas Collins, and Ramapo Professor Ben Neill, as well as original solo and ensemble pieces created by the class members. A variety of musical styles and approaches will be demonstrated in this exciting online event.

The concert opens with Tuning Meditation by Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016). Oliveros was a pioneer of networked music performance, for which she coined the term “telematic music.” She also created the concept of Deep Listening, a practice based upon principles of improvisation, electronic music, ritual, teaching and meditation, designed to inspire both trained and untrained musicians to practice the art of listening and responding to environmental conditions in solo and ensemble situations. Oliveros visited Ramapo in 2015 for a symposium and a concert. The presentation of her music in the telematic context honors her innovation in this field.

Brackets (2014) by Nicolas Collins, a professor of Sound Art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, is inspired by the late “time bracket” compositions of John Cage, and is intended primarily for electronic instruments whose sounds and performance gestures are ill-served by traditional music notation. Each musician creates their own set of “gamuts,” different sounds with fixed characteristics, which are used in the performance. A computer program acts as a conductor for the ensemble; the software randomly selects amongst the gamut numbers and assigns each occurrence a time interval in which it is to be played. The time counts down, and at the end of the interval a new gamut is chosen. This process is applied to four groups of players, with each gamut choice and bracket countdown displayed on a video screen in a color-coded block. In the online version to be presented by the class, the conductor screen is shared with all of the participants, and their audio is managed through the Sonobus application.

Collins is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Music Technology.

Nuerplay by Professor Ben Neill is based on the segmentation of the Nuer people in the Southern Sudan region of Africa. The group’s existence is largely focused on cattle, and there are frequent quarrels over cattle ownership rights. There is a complex and fluid system of alliances which determines the political structure of the Nuer. Nuerplay uses this social structure as a model for musical composition, with each of the players representing one of the warring groups, alternating between “attack” and “defense.”  The solo part, played by Professor Neill on his electro-acoustic Mutantrumpet, represents the leader of the Nuer community, who acts as a mediator between the warring factions.

For more information, contact Professor Neill at bneill@ramapo.edu

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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 College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice, has been named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others. Ramapo College is also distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by CollegesofDistinction.com, boasts the best campus housing in New Jersey on Niche.com, and is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools.

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, Business Administration, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Technology, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice.

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