Faculty Recital Series: Vibraphone, Electronics, and Premiers

Sunday -

To highlight his 15th year of teaching percussion at Keene State College, Christopher Swist presents a solo recital of vibraphone music. The program, entitled “Vibraphone, Electronics, and Premiers” includes 4 new pieces by Heather Gilligan, Ted Mann, Andrew Smith, and Craig Sylvern. Joining Christopher on stage for electronic duo selections are pianist Christina Wright-Ivanova and violinist Marcia Lehninger.

Craig Sylvern’s new work Look up to heaven and think about the violets is an elegy to the over 7,000 Jews who were removed from the Terezin concentration camp and sent to the gas chambers at Auschwitz on May 18, 1944. Acoustic and electronic sounds were generated using pitches that correspond to the numbers of the date: 05-18-1944.

On the lighter side, Heather Gilligan’s new piece is a musical interpretation of an illustrated children’s book. The illustrated pages will be displayed on screen as the composition progresses through each depiction. Bowed crotales (antique cymbals) are added to the vibraphone textures to achieve programmatic effects with the illustrations.

Ted Mann’s Loops and Layers adds auxiliary percussion textures to the vibes and makes use of electronic looping for interlocking rhythms and canonic counterpoint. Andrew Smith deploys the computer program Max/MSP to heavily process the vibraphone in an entirely new sonic set of both harmony and color.

Swist’s own acoustic and electronic compositions also sound. The 1998 Intermezzo for Vibraphone is the oldest work on a program. Percussive Notes reviewed that Swist’s Intermezzo “creates a musical atmosphere reminiscent of piano works by Satie or Debussy as notes are carefully chosen to exploit the sonic characteristics of the instrument.”

Equal Simplicity is a solo vibraphone work based on Thoreau’s Walden. An elegy to Swist’s late father Larry Swist titled Sundown through a Glass Door is for violin, vibraphone, and electronics. Hommages to Charles Ives, Morton Feldman, and Lou Harrison is an eclectic 3-movement electro-acoustic score realized for vibraphone and piano.

Christopher Swist is a Resident Artist of Keene State College and teaches percussion, music technology, composition, and music theory. A native of Buffalo, NY, he lives in Spofford, NH.

Theatre/Location: Alumni Recital Hall

Price: $10-$5, $5 KSC students