Soprano Susan Williams will premiere Sudden Swan for voice and live electronics at the Birmingham New Music Festival on Saturday August 23 at 7:30pm. The concert is at , 950 13th Street South, Birmingham, AL. Admission is free.
Susan and I have known each other since our college days at Birmingham-Southern. Since then she’s landed leading opera roles and appeared with the Cleveland Orchestra, Akron Symphony, Duke Symphony Orchestra and many others. This is the first time Susan and I have worked on a piece together, and we’re so excited to present it on Saturday.
The performer in Sudden Swan improvises a melody to a drone using a small set of just-tuned pitches. Each pitch is associated with one or more words which are strung together to create an ever-evolving poetry. The computer responds to variations in the vocal performance with subtle shifts of timbre, pulsating rhythms, and sometimes unpredictable flourishes.
Here’s a snippet of our working score: