Celeste Oram and Andrew C. Smith perform text-based works dealing with narrative and radio.

Celeste Oram is joined by violinists Keir GoGwilt and (remotely, from New Zealand) Alex Taylor in performing the works of Vera Wyse Munro (1897-1966): a pioneering New Zealand radio ham, improviser, and sonic experimenter. The telematic duet will be joined in person by layers of archival text and recordings of ham radio logs and activity, from both New Zealand and Santa Cruz. The performance will be broadcast over low-power radio transmitters on many different channels, and audience members are invited to come prepared with battery-powered radios to tune in to the performance live in the space.

Andrew C. Smith premieres Reconstruction, a new piece for solo speaking voice and electronics in which a computer reconstructs a text using only phonemes from a different text which is recorded live in performance. He will also perform How to Get There From Here, a three-part text-music piece which transforms the phrase “we remember not the word, but the sound of the word” at the level of the phoneme, the letter, and the context.

Celeste Oram + Vera Wyse Munro

Celeste Oram (b. 1990) is a New Zealand composer who was born in Manhattan, learned to walk and talk in London, grew up in Auckland, and is presently pursuing a PhD in music composition at the University of California San Diego. Her compositions take the form of theatre, live radio plays, web installations, and video scores. Her works have been performed, recorded, and broadcast by ensembles including the Callithumpian Consort (Boston), wasteLAnd (Los Angeles), the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, and performed at festivals including the Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music, SICPP at the New England Conservatory, and the soundSCAPE Festival in Maccagno, Italy.

Vera Wyse Munro (1897-1966) was a pioneering New Zealand radio ham, improviser, and sonic experimenter. Her primary media were amateur radio broadcasts, Morse poetry, and sono-topographical scores. Via her broadcasts, which were received by amateur radio operators as far afield as the United States and Europe, Munro initiated some of the earliest telematic performances, in which she would perform prepared violin in structured improvisations with other musicians broadcasting from elsewhere in the world. Munro’s work was often necessarily clandestine, as a result of legislation curbing amateur radio activity in New Zealand. Because of this, as well as the absence of extant documentation of her life and practice, Munro’s work has been largely overlooked in New Zealand’s cultural history.

Andrew C. Smith

Andrew C. Smith is a composer and keyboardist living in Santa Cruz, California. His music often involves just intonation tunings, repetition, and language at the threshold of making sense. His music has been performed by sfSound, String Noise, Guidonian Hand Trombone Quartet, Séverine Ballon, Ostravaská banda, and S.E.M. Ensemble. He studied English and music composition at Willamette University and Trinity College Dublin. He is currently studying with Larry Polansky for a D.M.A. student in music composition at UC Santa Cruz. He co-organizes the composer-run record label and concert producer Indexical.

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