Pittsburgh New Music Net

cutting-edge music in the ’burgh and beyond

Separate Self Pre-release Party

June 27, 2016
7:30 pm

Church of the Redeemer Auditorium
$10 for individuals. $15 for households. Admission includes an advance copy of the CD and refreshments.


IonSound Project and composer Philip Thompson are pleased to invite you to the unveiling  Separate Self, a new recording of Thompson’s Chamber Music, set to be released July 8 by Ravello Records. Separate Self officially drops on July 8, but we have advanced copies to offer. IonSound will present music from the new album and be joined by guests Emily Pinkerton, Eva and Michael Rainforth, and more. Please join us in celebrating the release of Separate Self, hear some wonderful performances, and enjoy some delicious refreshments!

Here’s a preview of the album featuring three excerpts from the title track. I hope you like it!

Funding for Separate Self was provided by the Investing in Professional Artists Program, a partnership of The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments. Additional funding was provided by the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, and by generous individuals who contributed to the Fractured Atlas Fiscally Sponsored Project “Recording Project: Philip Thompson’s Visual Arts-Inspired Chamber Music.”

June 18, 2016 at 8:42 pm Comments (0)

Gioco Project Plays McMasters, Perttu, Thompson, and Zipporyn

November 21, 2014
8:00 pm

The Union Project
FreeGioco Project

The Gioco Project is a new effort by cellist Rachel Smith and violinist Jennifer Sternick (formerly of Black Orchid String Trio). They’ve enlisted the help of a number of Pittsburgh’s excellent chamber musicians to present music by Ryan McMasters, Daniel Perttu, Evan Ziporyn, and myself (Nocturnes, 2014) at the Union Project on Friday, Nov. 21. Come on out and bring your friends, family, and people you meet in the street on the way over.

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November 11, 2014 at 8:31 am Comments (0)

Happy 450th Birthday, Galileo!

February 15, 2014
3:00 pmto5:00 pm

University Art Gallery, Frick Fine Arts Building

Still from Aaron Henderson's Full Moon

Still from Aaron Henderson’s Full Moon


The University of Pittsburgh Departments of Studio Arts and Music with the University Art Gallery have organized an interdisciplinary event commemorating the 450th anniversary of Galileo’s birth. The celebration, through visual art and live music, will take place in the Rotunda of the University Art Gallery, Frick Fine Arts Building.

Three of Michael Morrill's Linea Terminale paintings (click for larger image)

Three of Michael Morrill’s Linea Terminale paintings (click for larger image)

Special guest Paolo Palmieri from the Department of History and Philosophy of Science will offer brief remarks on Galileo and his contributions. An interdisciplinary installation created by Studio Arts faculty members Michael Morrill and Aaron Henderson, and composer and Department of Music alum Philip Thompson will be presented in the Rotunda gallery. The installation expands from Morrill’s Linea Terminale painting series, inspired by Galileo’s moon drawings. Henderson’s video Full Moon and Thompson’s composition Nocturnes (for string trio) were created as a response both to Linea Terminale and the broader idea of celebrating Galileo’s life and scientific contributions.

Listen to an excerpt from Philip Thompson’s Nocturnes

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This interdisciplinary celebration and one-day event is cosponsored by the Departments of Studio Arts and Music, the University Art Gallery, and the Departments of the History and Philosophy of Science, Physics and Astronomy, and Philosophy. The event is free and open to the public.

February 10, 2014 at 8:43 pm Comments (0)

Animé Bop Presents Pittsburgh Composers

April 14, 2013
7:00 pm
L-R: Linda Fisher, bassoon; Robin Driscoll, oboe; Rob Frankenberry, piano

L-R: Linda Fisher, bassoon; Robin Driscoll, oboe; Rob Frankenberry, piano

Bellefield Hall Auditorium

Animé BOP! will present a concert of recent works by composers with Pittsburgh roots. The program will include Nancy Galbraith’s Incantation & Allegro, James Ogburn’s Complements and Collisions, the premieres of eX (e to the x) by Mark S. Fromm, Semplicemente by Noah Rectenwald, and Robert Frankenberry’s arrangement of Daron Aric Hagen’s Tryst. Animé BOP! will also screen Will Zavala’s short film Virgil Cantini: The Artist in Public while performing Philip Thompson’s score live.

Anime’ BOP! is the result of three colleagues exploring the exciting repertoire possibilities of piano and double reeds. The ensemble is devoted to performing a wide array of musical periods and styles, as well as discovering new compositions through arrangement and commissions. Its members are:

Bassoonist Linda Morton Fisher is currently principal with the Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Civic Light Opera, the Lancaster (OH) Festival Orchestra and the Westmoreland Symphony, as well as the instructor of bassoon at the University of Pittsburgh.

Oboist Robin Driscoll is principal oboe with the Pittsburgh Opera and Ballet as well as with the Wheeling Symphony.  He appears throughout the United States as a soloist and has played with the Cleveland Orchestra and Pittsburgh Symphony. Mr. Driscoll is a member of the faculties of University of Pittsburgh and the North Carolina School of the Arts.

Pianist Robert Frankenberry leads a multi-faceted career as a tenor, pianist, and conductor, performing regularly in Chicago, New York and Pittsburgh. Robert is currently artistic administrator for the Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh, and is a member of the IonSound Project and Music on the Edge Chamber Ensemble.

April 9, 2013 at 8:26 am Comments (0)

From Cage and Varèse to Tsontakis and DJ Spooky…

What a great concert last night with the Bugallo-Williams piano duo—a great wrap up for Music on the Edge’s 2011-12 season. Pittsburgh’s new music scene is really moving along!

In fact, I’m excited to announce the Hear/Now festival on April 13 and 14. It’s coproduced by the Kelly Strayhorn Theater and Alia Musica.—I’m really honored to have helped curate a pretty cool line-up for this first time.

I don’t even know where to start mentioning the highlights and keeping the list short without leaving out some of the coolest stuff! Performers include eighth blackbird’s Tim Munro, DJ Spooky, Attack Theater’s Dave Eggar, PNME’s Conor Hanik, Pittsburgh’s own Eric Moe and Michael Johnsen… there are numbers by Alia Musica, ELCO, OvreArts, and Freya Quartet, multimedia acts by Chris McGlumphy, Alisha Wormsley, and a party at the Shadow Lounge with Ben Opie and DJ Soy Sos.

And the music that is being played! We’ll get to hear Varèse (Alia Musica is playing Octandre), Cage (in Tim Munro’s own solo-flute version of the Aria for solo voice), Feldman and Worinen played by PNME’s Conor Hanik, a Philip Glass quartet performed by Freya Quartet… I get to premiere a piece by George Tsontakis with Alia Musica too

Not to mention the plenty of music by Pittsburgh composers: Mathew Rosenblum’s wonderful Circadian Rhythms, piano music by him and Eric Moe (performed by Eric himself), John Newkom’s string quartet, a premiere by John Arrigo-Nelson, the music of Luke Mayernik…

For details and discount tickets visit the Kelly Strayhorn website. The event is also announced on Facebook, so make sure to like the organizations involved!


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April 3, 2012 at 7:25 pm Comments (0)

I’m not dead yet! Oakland Girls Choir, Film Kitchen

I feel fine! Yeah, I know I disappeared for a while after the IonSound Project. I was really tired, OK? And new music stuff tends to slow down a bit in December when presenters work more holiday fare into their programs anyway. But, good news! You can go to a holiday concert this weekend and hear new music. Oakland Girls Choir is performing in Pittsburgh on Friday and Saturday night and those programs will include the premiere of a new song cycle by Andy Kohn, composer, bassist with the Opera/Ballet Orchestra, and Professor of Music at WVU. Andy’s new work will feature Laura Knoop Very, soprano, and Raymond Very, tenor.

As a proud papa of an Oakland Girls Training Choir member, I know first hand what a treasure OGC is for our city, and it’s great that they are celebrating the season by unveiling a new composition by a Pittsburgh composer. Here’s more information about the concert.

On another subject, I just find out that a film I scored for Will Zavala is screening at the Melwood Screening Room this Tuesday night for this month’s Film Kitchen. It’s called Virgil Cantini: The Artist in Public and features lots of Cantini’s public art that you have probably seen around town without necessarily knowing who made it. Check it out if you can.

December 12, 2011 at 12:58 pm Comments (0)

IonSound Project’s First Installment of “Commissions for the Future”

IonSound Project presents the first works from their Commissions for the Future project this Sunday night.


IonSound Project’s concert this Sunday would strike me as particularly significant even if I didn’t have a new piece on the program (but yes, it helps!). There are in fact, three new works on the concert, all by Pittsburgh composers: Christian Kriegeskotte, Nizan Leibovich, and myself. That in and of itself is important, since it illustrates once again that the Burgh is a center for the creation—not just the consumption—of art. But more important still is the reason why there are three new works on this concert, namely IonSound Project’s new Commissions for the Future program. IonSounders have been actively engaging members of the community to support commissions for new works and this is the first program to showcase the fruits of their efforts. It’s a great start to what we hope will grow into an ongoing partnership between a genuinely excellent new music ensemble and the local community.

As usual, the concert will be a treat to for the eyes and the ears. All the musical compositions reference visual art that will be projected on screen, and Rob Frankenberry’s transcription of  Pictures at an Exhibition will feature art by children from the Falk School. My piece is actually a collaboration with artist Ryan Day and his stunning digital animation is being presented for the first time as well. I hope you can come out and join us at Pitt’s Bellefield Hall Auditorium on Sunday night at 7. Tickets are $15 and $10 and you can learn more about the program here.

November 16, 2011 at 1:23 pm Comments (0)

IonSound Project: From the Mundane to the Macabre

November 20, 2011
7:00 pm

Bellefield Hall Auditorium
Tickets at the door only: $15 for general admission, $10 for students and seniors.

Sight meets sound in IonSound Project‘s second program of the season, “From the Mundane to the Macabre.”  Packed with world premieres, this concert represents the first installment of IonSound’s Commissions for the Future project—a fundraising initiative to finance new compositions.  The group will perform commissions by three Pittsburgh composers, Christian Kriegeskotte, Philip Thompson, and Nizan Leibovich. Each work on the program is inspired by, or created in collaboration with a visual art form as promised by this season’s theme:  “aMuse, a Season of Inspiration and Entertainment.”

The range of inspiration spans from 16th century woodcuts to a brand new video collaboration. Christian Kriegeskotte’s Dances of Death explores the sonic possibilities of unusual instrument pairings, and are inspired by the wonderful miniature illustrations of 16th century German painter and engraver Hans Holbein.  In stark contrast, Nizan Leibovich’s Schéhérazade – “…Elle vit apparaître le matin. Elle se tut discrètement” is inspired by the colorful and joyous papercut work by French painter and artist Henri Matisse.  The title roughly translates to:  “…She lived to see the morning appear. She discreetly fell silent”, and evokes the intrigue and mystery of the compelling tale of Arabian princess Scheherazade that has influenced artists and composers for centuries. The third world premiere on the program, Kecow hit tamen, is a multimedia collaboration by composer Philip Thompson and artist Ryan Day which explores one of the popular legends surrounding the origins of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina—namely that they are descended from the Hatteras (or Croatan) and Raleigh’s Lost Colony. Thompson, whose father is a member of the Lumbee Tribe, based his instrumental and electroacoustic music on the few remaining words of Carolina Algonquian language spoken by the Hatteras, while Day used common images from Lumbee art to create a multi-layered digital animation. Kecow hit tamen can mean either “What is this? or “What is your name?”

A visual collaboration between Rob Frankenberry’s new arrangement of Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition  and a presentation of musically inspired artwork by students from the Falk School completes the program.   IonSound musicians will visit with the students in the preceding weeks to encourage them to create artwork that focuses on two main ideas–recreating their own versions of Hartmann’s existing artwork, the inspiration behind Pictures at an Exhibition and replicating the experience of viewing an exhibit through video.  Join us on Sunday, November 20th at 7:00 pm at Bellefield Hall Auditorium in Oakland for this exciting program!

October 15, 2011 at 3:23 pm Comments (0)

tENT and friends (Volunteers Collective Revisited) Monday July 25th at Garfield Artworks

July 25, 2011
8:00 pmto10:00 pm
8:00 pmto10:00 pm

Ever wondered what a thru-notated work by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE would be like?  Probably not.  Well, don’t worry about that, come anyway! The night will begin w/ “Volunteers Collective Revisited”.
The Volunteers Collective was (& might still be) an open context for improvisation that started in BalTimOre in 1989 & that became a context for exploring CircumSubstantial Playing in Pittsburgh & beyond from 1997-1998.
Experience footage from this long-term project w/ both old & new sounds!
Also Roger Dannenberg will perform using Patterns, an original visual  programming language for live coding — generating  music using software that is written on-the-fly. And, finally, the thru-notated skeleton of some Volunteers Collective CircumSubstantial Playing “Reductionism (#6)” + “Interpretive Duncing” + “Artifacts” by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE & featuring the considerable skills & sensitivities of Ben Opie, Roger Dannenberg, Ben Harris, Kenny Haney, Kerrith Livengood and tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE.  8:00 at Garfield Artworks.






July 20, 2011 at 7:03 pm Comments (0)

Pittsburgh’s Host Skull releases new composition on Chicago’s Contraphonic label

Host Skull, the duo of David Bernabo and Will Dyar, released a new composition on Chicago’s Contraphonic label. The piece, titled “Fourth River”, juxtaposes arrhythmic electronics with lush sections of classical guitar, vibraphone, and percussion. To flesh out the lineup, this instance of Host Skull also includes vibraphonist Jeff Berman, modular synth-ist Herman “Soy Sos” Pearl, and a trio of Ben Harris/Kerrith Livengood/Brandon Masterman. The composition comes as an MP3 along with an essay on Pittsburgh by Contraphonic label owner Ben Schulman and photography by CMU’s Alternative Photo Process class, led by professor Elizabeth Raymer Griffin.

The package can be purchased through Contraphonic here for the very reasonable price of $3.99.

Host Skull’s first official show will this Friday, April 29th at The Frame on Carnegie Mellon’s campus at Forbes and Margaret Morrison. Host Skull will be represented by David Bernabo and Jeff Berman.

Pittsburgh’s Fourth River is the sometimes mythologized, sometimes forgotten river that flows below the surface. More accurately, it is an aquifer that is given the name Wisconsin Glacial Flow. The visible manifestations of the river can be seen in the fountain at Point State Park and in some of the downtown drinking water. When the Fourth River is mentioned, grand notions of a flowing subterranean river come to mind. This is in direct contrast to what is actually is: sand, gravel, and a bit of water running through it.

Watch a video preview of the piece here.

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April 28, 2011 at 12:33 am Comment (1)

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