The Game changers #6. Mike McFerron.
Mike McFerron is professor of music and composer in residence at Lewis University in the Chicago area. He has been on the faculty of Hong Kong Baptist University, the University of Missouri Kansas City Conservatory of Music and the Kansas City Kansas Community College, and he has served as resident composer at the Chamber Music Conference of the East/Composers’ Forum in Bennington, Vt. McFerron is founder and co-director of Electronic Music Midwest and serves on the board of the directors forthe Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra and also as the Chair of the Executive Committee for the Society of Composers, Inc. McFerron’s music has received critical acclaim and recognition.
His Loving Is, a chamber opera, premiered at Carnegie Hall by the Remarkable Theater Brigade.Perspectives for orchestra was awarded first prize in the Louisville Orchestra Composition Competition was a recipient of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s “First Hearing” Program, was awarded an honorable distinction in the Master prize International Composition
Competition, and an honorable mention in the Rudolf Nissim Prize. His Torrid Mix: Featuring DJ Jazzy King and Master L.T. was awarded the first prize in the 2006 Forecast Music Composition Competition. McFerron was chosen the winner of the Cantus Commissioning/Residency Program, and he was a recipient of the 2005 CCF Abelson Art Song Commission. His music was a finalist in the 1st International Electroacoustic Music Contest CEMJKO, the 2004 Confluencias Electronic Miniatures II International Competition, the 2005 Truman State/MACRO Composition Competition, The
2005 American Modern Ensemble Composition Competition, the 2002 Swan Composition Competition, the 1999 Salvatore Martirano Composition Contest, and the 1997 South Bay Master Chorale Choral Composition Contest. McFerron has been a composers fellow at the MacDowell Colony,Ucross, June in Buffalo, and the Chamber Music Conference of the East/Composers’ Forum in Bennington, Vt.
His music has been featured on SCI National Conferences, SEAMUS National Conferences, the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), University of Richmond’s 3rd Practice Festival, Spark Conference, Annual Florida Electroacoustic Music Festivals, Spring in Havanna, the MAVerick Festival, several SCI regional conferences, and concerts and radio broadcasts across the U.S. and throughout Europe. He has received commissions from Cantus, SUNY-Oswego, GéNIA, the Chamber Music Conference of the East/Composers’ Forum, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Lewis University, Sumner Academy of Arts and Science, and three times by the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra.
McFerron’s music can be heard on numerous commercial
recordingsas well as on his website at http://www.bigcomposer.com.
1/ 6 short studies, McFerron 2004-2016
I. 30 Bars of Sound
III. 360 Steps
IV. Dinadanvtli (“My Brother”)
V. Minute Distances
VI. Techno Feel Ya’
At times I simply have to reach into my “toolbox” and construct a composition. But, there are other times when I get to try something new; or at least “new” to me. These short studies are such pieces. In each case, these one minute “experiments” led me to more substantial pieces, and more important, they added additional tools to my toolbox.
2/ An Interrupted Memory,McFerron 2009-2010
This piece was written for the Lewis University “Art of Memory” Series. All of the sound sources for this work were taken from five recordings, each two-minutes in length. These audio clips were recorded simultaneously at five different locations on the campus of Lewis University in the fall of 2009. An Interrupted Memory attempts to capture and sustain two minutes of the soundscape of Lewis University on that day at that time.
3/ ∆p∆x ≥ h/4π, McFerron 2004
“The more precisely the position is determined, the less precisely the momentum is known in this instant, and vice versa.” –Werner Heisenberg, 1927.
∆p∆x ≥ h/4π is composed using only piano samples. As in my recent electroacoustic pieces, this composition addresses the role of spatialization as a primary compositional element. For instance, I developed a virtual cube that moves through a space. Using this process, I control the size and speed of this cube, yet this cube usually moves in a linear way. Random generators were used to place short sounds in a space confined to the dimensions of this cube. As a simple example, while my “cube” is slowly moving between two spaces, several independent sound events bounce around the finite space of the cube leading to (hopefully) interesting macro panning gestures.
This composition was completed in my home studio in Lockport, Illinois, 2004. Respectfully, this work is dedicated to my colleague Dr. Leonard Weisenthal: educator, physicist, and listener.
4/ Canotila, McFerron 2008
For claves + computer.
Canotila, according to Lokota Native American lore, are spirits that live in trees.
Von Hansen, Claves
5/ If You Walked a Mile, Mc Ferron 2015
marimba + computer
““We must talk about poverty, because people insulated by their own
comfort lose sight of it.”
– Dorothy Day
If You Walked a Mile for marimba and computer was written in 2015 for acclaimed percussionist, Andrew Spencer. Texts in this work are excerpted from George Miller’s eponymous social justice poem, which was written specifically for this composition.”
Andrew Spencer, Marimba
6/ Music for Metamorphoses, McFerron 2008
Shape Study for Fixed Media.
“Shape Study: Music for Metamorphoses for fixed media was written at the end of 2008 for the Lewis University Theater Department production of Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses. An adaptation of Ovid’s eponymous narrative poem, this production of Zimmeraman’s play was directed by Dr. Kevin Trudeau. Although the composition is, on one hand, intended to serve as a prelude to the production of this play, it is also hoped that the work stands by itself as an independent electroacoustic composition.
This composition focuses on distances between traditional foreground, middle ground, and background musical layers, thereby clouding these dimensions. Yet at the same time, this work strives to present a clear and logical dramatic shape by assembling spectral, dynamic, and spatial elements. ”
7/ Open Circuit, McFerron 2010
flute + computer
Open Circuit was written for flutist, Rebecca Ashe, in celebration of Electronic Music Midwest’s 10th Anniversary. This composition was completed at the Ucross Foundation Artist Residency in Wyoming, August 2010.
Rebecca Ashe, Flute
8/ Torrid Mix, McFerron 2006 (excerpt)
Piano + mixed media.
““Kai estin au mousike peri harmonian kai rythmon eroticon epistime…”
(And music, in turn, is knowledge of harmony and rhythm of love)-PLATO
Torrid Mix was written in 2006. The electroacoustic tape part was created entirely by manipulating piano and voice samples. This work is written and dedicated to pianist GéNIA.”Produced by: