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Gregory W. Brown

Amherst, MA         

Gregory W. Brown lives and works in Western Massachusetts. He holds degrees from the Hugh Hodgson School of Music (University of Georgia), Westminster Choir College, and Amherst College, where he studied with the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Lewis Spratlan. His recent commissions for vocal ensemble New York Polyphony have been heard on American Public Media’s Performance Today, BBC Radio, Minnesota Public Radio, Kansas Public Radio, and Danish National Radio; his Missa Charles Darwin received its European debut in March 2013 at the Dinosaur Hall of Berlin’s Museum für Naturkunde. Brown was named the 2015 winner of the Boston Choral Ensemble‘s Commission Competition.

In addition to his acoustic scores, Brown creates widely varying electro-acoustic music — often in collaboration with dancers and choreographers, including former Bill T. Jones principal dancer, Paul Matteson, master improvisor and teacher, Chris Aiken, and others. He often employs a hand-made electromagnetically prepared piano and his own custom software for his live improvisations. He is embarking on a new project with cellist Vic Rawlings during the ’15–’16 season.

Electromagnetically Prepared Piano — w/ feedback control

A demo of an interface and device that I use in live improvisations: electromagnetically prepared piano with feedback loops and EQ.

Short story: analog audio signal is amplified and sent to electromagnets placed in close proximity to piano strings. This amplified signal causes a variable electromagnetic field which causes the strings to vibrate, in turn creating sound.

Longer story and many more examples: http://www.gregorywbrown.com/technology/electromagnetically-prepared-piano/

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The Buzzing (audio/video manipulation)

The Buzzing is a reworking of Samuel Beckett’s 1972 monologue Not I (http://ubu.com/film/beckett_not.html), as performed for BBC2 by Billie Whitelaw. The original audio was extracted and used to create a collage which was then added to the original to create an asynchronous dialogue. Video distortion is triggered by the audio. The accretion of sensory input makes for varying levels of coherence.

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Moonstrung Air (long trailer)

Moonstrung Air is a collection of vocal and choral works featuring performances from New York Polyphony, The Crossing, and an ad hoc choir of some of New York City’s finest voices. Tracks include Missa Charles Darwin, a secular mass setting using texts from the naturalist in place of the standard liturgy.

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