sarah j ritch, pyr interview!


sarah in the red room

When did you first become interested in music?

Hmm, you’re asking for a bit of family history here. I can’t remember becoming interested in music. It has just always been there, probably because of my family. My Mom was an amateur cellist until her early 20′s, my Dad is a brass player and conductor (notably of the U.S. Army band in San Francisco during the final days of the Presidio), my Grandma sang opera, one brother plays violin, another played sax and flute, plus various other relatives who played various other instruments (including auto-harp!). Music is just part of life, like air and sunshine and thunderstorms. Please don’t judge me for the cheesiness of that line, but it’s true! I’ve always loved moving to music and making sounds.

Man, that’s a lot of music in your family, it seems like it was pretty much inevitable that you would start playing. Although, you could’ve also rebelled by completely rejecting it too I suppose. With all those musicians on hand, did your family ever play music together?

My brothers and I joked around about starting a grungy Hanson type band, but no. The closest we ever came to playing music together was solfegging the violin and cello parts to various symphonies on many long drives between Vegas and Reno (nerd alert).

What was it that drew you in to music?

Growing up, my Mom always encouraged me to pursue all my interests (probably because of my attention span issues). I’m what you would call a “high stress functioner,” or someone who needs a multitude of things going on at once in order to stay focused. If you give me one thing to focus on, I can’t. So, (through generous community support because we were dirt poor) my Mom had me in ballet, gymnastics, piano lessons, girl scouts, and various after-school academic clubs. I’m really lucky that so many people were able to make this happen for me. When I say we were dirt poor, I mean dirt. Section 8 housing, homeless shelters, WIC, food bank, seven people in a two bedroom apartment, moving every six months kind of poor. Our Christmases were provided by the churches and public donations and I remember a few occasions where I was told to go get a clean rock from the yard for stone soup. . . .

Continued at:

sarah j ritch, pyr interview!

ESPLORAZIONI: Featuring work of Aaron Einbond









I have always told my students that music is maths realized as art.  I think this always comes up because I have a tendency to explain music theory fundamentals as if I were teaching arithmetic.  Most of my students, being in the 4th Grade through Jr. High academic range always pick this up and say “Wait, is this music or math?!”  I love seeing the sparkle in their eyes when I explain my view of maths and music…it’s like I just made something boring (presumably maths) into something mystical.

So, naturally, I am drawn to the increasingly expanding field of computer music.  I’m talking low dirty dark magic computer science and skilled music composition.  There aren’t many people working in this new genre who are a genuine mix of coder/composer, but those who are give me hope for the future.  Ensemble Dal Niente is presenting a concert this Saturday which features a new work by one of these special sorts of person, Aaron Einbond.  Aaron is a composer for both electronics and acoustic instruments as well as is a researcher in computer science!  His new work Without Words combines soprano, nine players, and live electronics.

Made with CataRT

Aaron explains the above here :

“In the plot, each dot represents a short sample as performed by Amanda DeBoer, and the axes correspond to the timbral qualities of the sounds.  I explored this plot to assemble the samples into micro-montages, which I use in the electronic component of the work, or ask Amanda to recreate live.  I also map them to other audio recordings, so that the performers are asked to recreate a recording of frogs, the sun, or of Wallace Stevens reading.  Because samples of Amanda and the other players were my starting point, their unique sonic identities are woven into the fabric of the work as well.”

And how does one notate this idea? Aaron was kind enough to give us a little peek into the score:

You can check out the realization of this piece live this Saturday. Details given below.


Saturday, June 9, 2012 7:30pm

Nichols Concert Hall
1490 Chicago Avenue
Evanston, IL
Tickets: $20 general/$10 students, available at the door