Leo (1991) · 3.5 min

for amplified piano and digital audiotape

piano, fixed media (Mac laptop running Max/MSP)

Program Note

Leo was completed on May 22, 1991, and represents what I believe to be the beginning of my mature compositions. I was in my first year of graduate study at Ohio University, where I was earning my Masters in Electronic Music Composition under the direction of Mark Phillips. At that time, I was immersed in George Crumb’s Makrokosmos for amplified piano, Volumes 1 and 2; Leo was my first experiment working inside of the piano within an electroacoustic context. The score calls for banging on the piano’s infrastructure, plucking strings, exciting various string harmonics, playing on keys while dampening strings, glissandi on strings, tremolos on strings by the palm of the hand, and scraping strings with the fingernail. I was exploring the creation of my own electronic sounds; particularly, getting beyond the teeny LCD displays of outboard gear by using early versions of Max to design interfaces to control system exclusive messages in real-time. For Leo, I explored the internal sound architecture of the E-mu Proteus and Yamaha TX-802 rack mounted synthesizers.

Compositionally, this brief work was really more like a study for me. The majority of its content is presented as a palindrome; the entire score is pretty much reversed, near exactly, at the halfway point, both in the piano and the electronics. Leo paved the way for my later work Tangled Impressions.

View Score

Leo was recorded by Vicky Chow, piano, at Distler Performance Hall, Tufts University, on June 2, 2013. It was officially released by Albany Records (TROY1710) on Anthony Paul De Ritis: Electroacoustic Music – In Memoriam: David Wessel on April 1, 2018.