Computer Music Focus: James Fei

Computer Music Focus: James Fei
Thursday, May 25th, 2017
5:00 pm
Conrad Prebys Music Center Experimental Theater

The Computer Music Focus series continues with a lecture presented by composer and performer James Fei.

Klangumnwandlers and Optical Oscillators: On Working with Some Historic Electronic Instruments

Without really planning on it, I have over the years developed a series of works that is part historical investigation and part creative challenge. I was always curious about some of the more unusual inventions in electronic music history that were mentioned fleetingly and rarely heard – how did something like Theremin's Rythmicon, with its synchronized rhythmic and harmonic ratios, actually work, and what did it sound like? In this talk I will discuss my compositional approach and the operation of some of these instruments, including the ANS, the original Buchla modular system, the Bode Frequency Shifter, and Michel Waisvisz's Crackle Synthesizer.

James Fei (b. Taipei, Taiwan) moved to the U.S. in 1992 to study electrical engineering. He has since been active as a composer and performer on saxophones and live electronics. Works by Fei have been performed by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble, Bang on a Can All-Stars, MATA Micro Orchestra and Noord-Hollands Philharmonisch Orkest. Recordings can be found on Leo Records, Improvised Music from Japan, CRI, Krabbesholm and Organized Sound. Compositions for Fei's own ensemble of four alto saxophones focus on physical processes of saliva, fatigue, reeds crippled by cuts and the threshold of audible sound production, while his sound installations and performance on live electronics often focus on feedback. He was a recipient of the 2014 award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Fei has taught at Mills College in Oakland since 2006, where he is John and Martha Davidson Associate Professor of Electronic Arts and Head of the Art and Technology Program.

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