It's been a lonnnnnnng time since I update my website. I've been too darned busy to keep up. Sorry, it seems like this is the message I keep writing when I do get around to writing anything here. But--the great news is this: my composition "Ostinato Quasi Octatonica" is featured on a lovely new CD played by my great pianist colleague Aron Kallay, and it's available at iTunes and from the label itself.
Some new audio files have been put in here. I will update the "works" page to reflect that when I get the chance...I need some fancy automated tools!
Also, if any of you use JACK for audio (Linux, etc.), you might want to check out my newly released tool, CLIJACK (pronounced to rhyme with 'hijack')...it allows one to launch the JACK server, make audio and MIDI connections, etc. from the command-line in a lightweight way, largely eliminating the need for QjackCtl, etc.
Unfortunately, I have been so busy with other professional and personal things that akjmusic.com has been woefully neglected in terms of fresh content....stay tuned, and thanks for your patience, as I will be uploading some new works in the upcoming days and weeks...well, not new as in hot-off-the-press, but 'new' as in "I haven't been around here enough to upload the stuff that has been around for a bout a year or more". :)
Wow...I haven't updated my index (news) page here in a LONG TIME!!!!
I guess I've been too busy....a lot more activity is happening on the UnTwelve front lately. There's a competition going down, for one.
Happy holidays to all! May 2010 bring health, joy, peace and success in your endeavors!
Composers, please consider entering your 1-minute microtonal work in the UnTwelve and 60x60 collaboration at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. You have until Dec 31st to submit your entry. Just follow the procedures on the page, linked above.
15 more days left until the DEADLINE for the UnTwelve Composition Contest!!! Composers, do you want to show the world what you can say in 3-4 minutes, and win $400.00??? Give it a shot!
Also, UnTwelve could use your support and financial help...consider purchasing our $10 COMPILATION CD
Haven't been updating my page like I should, but check out my new piece, written with custom front-end software to Csound called 'microcsound'. The piece is Puhlops & Laugua's Big Adventure, and is in a chiptune, or 8-bit, influenced style. (Thanks to my friend Jacob Barton for inspiring me to follow this route...) The title was an afterthought, and is the name of two characters my 3-year old daughter animates with her fingers.
Please check out my music for the play Modigliani. I'm quite proud of it-- very influenced by Satie, Mompou, and others, but still fully in my own voice. Also, have a look at the UnTwelve events page. On March 28th, 2009, I'm hosting a private event at my house which promises to be special.
Ok, pretty pathetic; I see nearly a year has gone by without me updating my website news. Ok--I've been too busy. I suppose the biggest thing to happen as far as my evil quest for world domination goes is that Midwestmicrofest is now UnTwelve; mostly the usual suspects have kept me barely able to take a catch breath--I've had teaching and gigs and composing and choir directing out the wazoo, and most of all, being a dad is great but a complete time sink.
Hopefully, I'll be a bit more on top of updates in 2009.
Happy New Year!
I haven't updated this page with my activities in months, but I will say that October's MidwestMicrofest concert was a smash success...I'm looking forward to planning a follow-up concert and a road map for the future soon after I complete a busy winter concert season.
Finished the major work on my composition for the festival. Now just doing touch-ups of the piano parts from the standpoint of playability of the distribution of parts, and working in some expression marks. The works that I've received so far from other composer sound very promising for the concert--I'm getting psyched up for the event!
It looks like I'll be on the radio sometime in early October to promote MidwestMicrofest. Busy with that, a lot, mostly with organizing, but certainly with composition, too, which is happening slower than I'd feel comfortable. I think I'll barely have it finished by the concert.
I had announced it earlier on the MidwestMicroFest website, but I'm getting around to annoucing it here just now---I'm thrilled that there will be an inaugural concert of MidwestMicroFest on Saturday, October 20th, 7pm. The concert will feature works for 2 pianos, tuned to 19-equal division of the octave. Very exciting for me, and for the whole alternate tuning community. I hope it makes waves in Chicagoland, even small waves, which is my plan...
New "children's piece" uploaded today. Think of it as a pedagogical exercise in microtonality. It's called "Teaching Little JI Robot Fingers to Play", the JI standing for 'Just Intonation', and the joke being on that old pedagogical series of John Thompson, "Teaching Little Fingers to Play". Find it on my works page.
I uploaded a new gallery (annika6 in the menu to the left) of recent Annika pictures, including some from a visit by my Dad and stepmom Suzanne.
Today is my birthday! 37 years on planet Earth.
The website is horribly out of date. I haven't put quite a few gigs on the 'dates' page. Daddyhood, among other things, has seen me neglecting akjmusic.com.
Check out the 'works' page. I just uploaded an ambient work, called 'Steady State Universe'. More to come soon, from my archives of theatrical sound design.
To your left, on the menu, you will see new links to picture galleries of my daughter. Many of you have been asking about this!
Check out some of the latest audio files that I have produced on the 'works' page. Look for "On this good soil....". The other two of them are medieval works realized electronically, and can be found here
A new gallery of pictures of Annika is now here!
Finally getting a chance to update with the latest and most import news of my life--the birth of my first child, Annika Katharine Johnson! She was born at 4:29pm on May 3rd at the Alternative Birthing Center (a waterbirth) at West Suburban Hostpital, Oak Park, IL. She weighed a healthy 7lbs.14oz., she is an angel, she has changed my life in amazing ways overnight, and already has an affinity for the music of Bach (she takes after you-know-who). In fact, she sat in the relaxed alert stage for 90 minutes appearing to be calmly and attentively listening to the recorder and harpsichord sonatas last night! And, she is only 4 days old today...go figure!
You can see an image gallery of Annika right here
Come see the original music and sound design I did for the Artistic Home's production of Clifford Odet's Clash by Night. The show opened on the 26th, and has been Jeff recommended!
Linux users, be sure to check out my new tutorial on low-latency linux audio setup. It has nuggets of wisdom that I found out by hard research that were crucial for me to get that performance that I had often heard was possible from Linux audio apps, but never actually experienced.
Lorna and I are only 7 1/2 weeks away from our first child's (a daughter) birth! We are getting very excited, of course! Some baby shower pictures are here
I'm currently hard at work doing sound design for the Artistic Home's next show, Clash by Night
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
In the midst of the holiday season, we hear an awful lot about Christianity, the Focus on the Family, FOX news and Bill O'Reilly ranting on about how no-one says "Merry Christmas" anymore, in favor of "Happy Holidays". And they make programs like (no kidding) "Can We Live Without God?" Ok, Merry Christmas to you, Bill, and anyone who loves and watches you.
But mostly, I want to send out my best wishes to everyone everywhere else who *really* needs it, or who is marginalized and alarmed by the current atmosphere of ultra-Christian activism and politics: the non-believers, agnostics, heretics, iconoclasts, and infidels; the Jews, the Buddhists, the gays, lesbians, and bi-sexuals, the pantheists, the pagans, the people who put up a tree but want to stay away from calling themselves anything, the Unitarians, the Hindus, the NPR left-wing nutjob liberals, the folks who like urban intellectual values and culture, the brights, the evolutionists, the blue-state true believers, the people who still love Bill Clinton, the people who are scared to death that Americans have bought 35 million copies of Left Behind series books. And I want to give my warmest thoughts and wishes for peace and health to the poor, the homeless, the family-less, the abused, the insane, the hopeless, the diseased and dying, the alcoholic, the drug addict, the refugee, the cripple, the soup-kitchen regular.
Let's also not forget the dead and wounded in the Iraq war, and all other global conflicts. Especially the wounded, who never seem to make the news as much.
And let secularism set root in Middle East soil; it is our only hope for peace in the Middle East. (The United States is now the virtual theocracy of Falwell)
Well, we know now....it's a girl! We are due on May 6th, so the excitement continues.
Get your fresh Divide By Pi 'Ice Ritual' albums at our CdBaby site. Just in time for the holidays!
The Jeff Awards (on Nov. 7th--I haven't posted in a while, eh?) did not see me winning, nor unfortunately did any of the Artistic Home folks win. Maybe next time.
I have reduced the majority of Handel's Messiah choral parts from open score to piano score. Anyone out there who has a similar gig accompanying a massive choir, contact me to benefit from my labor...
Long time no post...alot going on here. I want to announce, now that my wife Lorna and I are past the scary zone, that we are 13 weeks pregnant! I am looking forward to being a happy and proud daddy!
The Joseph Jefferson Awards are Monday November 7th. My nomination for Peer Gynt is in the running. Wish me luck!
The Divide by Pi album is now finished. Stand by for updates, and info on how you can purchase it.
The midwestmicrofest.org page is up, but not much is there (yet).
As always, look for some new music on the 'works' page. I wrote a piece for Kyle Gann that aired on Post-Classic radio.
More good news! I found out tonight that that my 'Peer Gynt' was also nominated for a Chicago Stage Talk Equity Theatre Award, along with the Jeff nomination. I'm very pleased!
I've been very busy as of late, so I haven't updated the site very much. I just returned from a crazy vacation to Barcelona, which had its ups and downs. While there I managed to meet the widow of Mompou, Carmen Bravo, which was simply a fabulous experience. And, a nice thing happened at the airport when I arrived home in Chicago: I found out that my score for Peer Gynt had been nominated for a Jeff Award!
The new Divide by Pi album has been mixed and mastered; we finished this afternoon. Now onto the artwork and reproduction and selling...
I'm finishing up writing music for and sound designing for two Shakespeare plays, Julius Caesar and Twelfth Night, in collaboration with Michigan's Lakeside Shakespeare company.
I'm excited to be doing a concert with member of the Rembrandt Chamber Players at DePaul University on August 11th. Also upcoming is a nice soiree gathering of musician friends and normal friends to inaugurate my new piano!
There is a new version of my pymiditools suite of software tools available in my software repository
Divide by Pi is coming close to having all the tracks we need for our 2nd CD release. Stay posted.
Well, the piano has been gorgeous. Once it acclimates and I have it officially tuned, I'm sure I'll put up some performances. I should seriously invest in a good pair of microphones, though.
Chris Bailey and I have been brainstorming for quite awhile about getting a microtonal festival going here in Chicago, to represent the Midwest in general. More on that as it develops....
The other night I tried and loved Paul Erlich's 12-of-22-equal temperament and loved it, which is weird, because I remember trying it awhile back and not caring for it all that much. Perhaps I was trying to do too many traditional type chord progressions with it....I'm eager now to try it out in the context of 'Divide by Pi'
The long awaited for day has arrived! I wait for the piano-crane as I write....Lorna and I have moved furniture around all last night to prepare for the beauty-beast.
Just returned from my 3rd wedding anniversary celebration vacation; we spent it in Santa Fe, NM. It was gloriously beautiful, and we had a great time hiking, dining, biking, shopping, etc., although it was a bit unseasonably hot there (one day hit low 90's Farenheit). We're glad to be back to our cats and work. I'm working on a picture gallery, but in the meantime go here to see some shots....
The piano delivery will be delayed....they need to rent a crane to get it in the condo.....:(
Put downpayment on the Steinway! Paying for it in full tommorrow! I'm *very* excited, to say the least! Delivery the day after we get back from vacation....
Just saw, and set my mind upon purchasing, a gorgeous, circa 1885, Steinway 7' grand, in rosewood finish! The scrolling of the music stand, beautiful fat 19th century legs, and the playing sound are all what I ever dreamed of in a piano. Playing a middle C alone on each of the pianos in the showroom will even tell you that this is a standout piano.
Andy and I are getting together about once a week to listen to the several hours of improvisation we have compiled from the winter months in order to select tracks for the new Divide by Pi album. Check out the DBP site regularly to audition our selections as we assemble the album and upload compressed audio (.ogg and .mp3) versions of the tracks to our site.
I'm also in the midst of putting old handwritten scores into computer typeset versions, which is bringing me down memory lane to undergraduate days when I first started writing concert music seriously and with any regularity. Right now, my electric guitar and piano compositions are being typeset, because the Minnesota guitarist Erik Jostad is interested in performing them.
Man, am I sick of what's going on with politics and religion these days. America is going through a dark ages of sorts, culturally and politically. As a born again atheist, I'm particularly sickened/saddened by the combined administration/media attack on liberals, freethinkers, gays and lesbians, first amendment rights, etc. I worry, too, that this new Nazi-pope won't fuel the Islamic "clash of civilisations" fire. I'm rolling up my sleeves, I'm no longer going to be polite about it-the Religious Right in America deserves an enemy who will be as relentless on the opposite side. My own personal effort will be to have a daily provocative email signature which contains a pro-rational, anti-stupidity quote, pulled from a large archive which I will take the time to collect. I know such archives are out there on the net....
Other than that, I'm preparing for a nice vacation in Santa Fe, NM, with my wife Lorna, which marks our 3 year wedding anniversary (May 25th).
Massachusetts concert was a great success. In particular, I was *very* happy with the Beethoven Pathetique, which I think felt better than any other live performance I've given to date. Ditto the Sibelius Sonatina #1. The audience was mine, all mine! Look for more dates in the future for this program, which I want to play for the next year or so.
No time right now to work on this site...I'll have to do it next week. Concert in Massachusetts this weekend, feeling good about it. I promised to give out my email as an image, so here goes:
Until there is a guestbook set up, let me know by email how you like the new look of the site...
Also, be sure to check out the divide by pi listening page for the incoming preview audio files from our newest album, which is still in the works.
Concert of Bach and Vivaldi went well...now it's time to put my nose to the grindstone for the Massachusetts recital.
More later on building this site...in particular my frustration writing markup for that most broken of browsers, MSIE.
So now I'm giving my site a new look and feel....let me know how you like it (I will get around to posting my email address as a jpeg when I get the time). Coming soon will be a wiki-style guestbook, and a user wiki page where friends can add comments and links of interest, a sort of hypertext guestbook/wiki concept, if-you-will.
Tomorrow (April 17th) I play a Bach concerto for 2 harpsichords at the Lutheran Church of the Ascension (Northfield, Illinois) with my good friend and colleague Mischa Zupko. It's BWV 1061 in C-major for those of you who are interested. Maybe yet another ensemble of players is in the works.
Next around the corner is a recital in Massachusetts, solo piano. I can't wait to play, but I also can't wait to get back to composing, and finishing up the next Divide by Pi album.