28 Oct 2016

John Elmsly: Stilldream K..

From Resound, 10:02 pm on 28 October 2016

John Elmsly (baroque fl, tape realisation); Recorded by RNZ Concert, 21 March 1993.

John Elmsly

John Elmsly Photo: Darryl Foong

John Elmsly was born in Auckland on 1 July 1952. A graduate in mathematics and music from Victoria University of Wellington, he studied piano with Barry Margan composition with David Farquhar, and began electronic music with Douglas Lilburn. From 1975 to 1978 he held a post-graduate scholarship from the Belgian Ministry of Culture. In 1977 he was awarded a First Prize in Composition by the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, where he studied with Victor Legley, and in 1978 continued study in Liège with Henri Pousseur, Philippe Boesmans and Frederic Rzewski.

In 1981 he was awarded Mozart Fellowship at University of Otago in Dunedin, and in 1984 he was appointed lecturer in composition at the School of Music, University of Auckland where he was Associate-Professor and head of composition and director of the Karlheinz Company contemporary music ensemble until 2015. In 2015 - 2016 he was Te Kōki NZSM’s Creative New Zealand/Jack C. Richards Composer-in-Residence.

"Stilldream K…for baroque flute and tape (1990) was dedicated to John Rimmer; some of the melodic material was derived from his piano suite ‘For the Kokako’, which in turn takes melodic and harmonic inspiration from our  endangered songster. 

The electroacoustic material was prepared by processing and resynthesising sounds from the baroque flute; this work was begun using a Fairlight CMI at the University of Texas, though some additional processing using ’Turbosynth’ and the final mastering was done in the University of Auckland studio. Resynthesis breaks a fragment of sound into constituent harmonics, each of which can be independently enveloped to radically alter the sonic structure and aural impact of the sound. The baroque flute used in the performance was made by Paul Whinray, an Auckland based flute and recorder maker.

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