Algorithms - Contemporary Music Concert

Saturday, September 7, 7:30 p.m.
Piedmont Music Center
Free Admission


A concert of new works that algorithmically extends and shapes the musical landscape of contemporary chamber music.


Kolyosa (1970) – Phil Smiley

At a Crossroads for Bassoon and Computer (2007) – Michael Rothkopf
Stephanie Patterson, Bassoon

Piping Hot for Amplified Bass Flute (1996) – Arthur Kreiger
Debra Reuter-Pivetta, Flute

Four Hands + for Piano and Computer – Robert Yekovich
Wesley Ducote, Piano

Turbulence for Clarinet, Guitar and Computer (2024) – Michael Rothkopf (World Premiere)
Ron Rudkin, Bb Clarinet; Alan Hirsh, Guitar

Program Notes

Kolyosa (1970)

Kolyosa is the Russian word for wheels, wheels revolving in space. Indeed, one can listen to this piece as if it were being played by non-human percussionists, who can instantly move in all dimensions of space. Long sounds and shot sounds are contrasted, tension is furthered by boiling one event at one tempo, while another is changing at a different tempo – a form of rhythmic contrapuntal differentiation. Long sound are pitched in low resister, the short sounds in high.
During the piece, the tempo and dynamics increase until the low, long events start rising in pitch, eventually meeting the high, short sounds with maximum tension in the middle pitch range. After this climax the rhythmic counterpoint disappears, and the tension diminishes to silence.

At a Crossroads for Bassoon and Computer (2007)

In the novel, Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, historical figure, Marco Polo tells stories of fantastic cities to Kublai Khan, in the spirit of One Thousand and One Arabian Nights. I first read the book in 1980 and was captured by the virtuosic imagination of Calvino in creating the imaginary cities Marco Polo describes. Many years later, in 2007, a student mentioned the book to me, prompting me to to take my dusty copy off the shelf and re-read the novel. To my surprise, I was no longer moved by Calvino’s cities but instead realized that the heart of the story was in the brief interchanges between Marco Polo and Kublai Khan that connect each chapter of the novel.

At a Crossroads was inspired by the following passage, in which Marco Polo explains how the past changes the future:

“Marco enters a city; he see someone in a square living a life or an instant that could be his; he could now be in that man’s place, if he had stopped in time, long ago; or if, long ago at a crossroads, instead of taking one road he had taken the opposite one, and after long wandering he had come to be in the place of that man in that square.”

Third in a series of improvisatory compositions, At a Crossroads asks both the performer and computer to travel down a constantly evolving musical road, defining and redefining who they are and their relation to each other from one improvisatory moment to the next.

Piping Hot for Amplified Bass Flute and Electronic Tape (1996)

Piping Hot is a work that explores the unique sound world between amplified bass flute and electronic sounds created in a studio. “…much of his (Kreiger’s) music can be heard only as it issues, in whole or in part, from loudspeakers, its creative shaping source is immediately unmistakable, recognized as human and intensely personal. It is not music shaped by technological means, but music that demands technology for its fulfillment. While the music is so singularly Kreiger’s, it is assuredly of its time, not only or even primarily because of the composer’s mastery of sophisticated musical technology, but in the compositional modes that the music so urgently expresses. For it is learned music, in that it is aware and informed in its craft. . .”


Four Hands+ for Solo Piano and Electronically Produced Sounds (2011)

Four Hands+ is a work for one live pianist and a second “virtual” pianist as rendered by the pre-recorded electronic sounds. Many of the pre-recorded sounds are essentially those of a concert grand piano; however, at times, the acoustic and timbral qualities of the piano sounds are electronically enhanced so as to provide hybrid sounds not typically made by a concert grand piano. The live and “virtual” pianists can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from one another given the similarity between live and recorded piano sounds and the manner in which the two are combined. In reality, there are times when it sounds like a work for a single pianist and others when it requires the equivalent of four (or even five) hands; plus of course, the electronically enhanced sounds.


Turbulence for Bb Clarinet, Guitar and Computer (2024) world premiere

Understood as one of the remaining mysteries of classical physics, turbulence has fascinated and challenged humanity in its quest to move, journey and travel throughout the world. Physicist Lewis Fry Richardson described it as “Big whorls have little whorls which feed on their velocity and little whorls have lesser whorls and so on to viscosity.” Physicist Werner Heisenberg declared, :When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first.” In composing “Turbulence” I sought to create a musical landscape for the musicians to move through in which the computer creates a flow of turbulence around the musicians path. At times the musicians join the turbulent flow and at other times they slow to a calm stasis in their quest to find equilibrium.

Artist Bios

California native Stephanie Patterson is the Associate Professor of Bassoon at The University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She formerly taught at the Schwob School of Music and was Principal Bassoon of the Columbus Symphony (GA), and Acting Principal Bassoon with the Atlanta Opera. She has commissioned many new works as a member of the Enid Trio and the Off Broadway Trio. She is the Education Coordinator for the Meg Quigley Vivaldi Bassoon Symposium, and will be hosting the 2025 Symposium at UNCSA. Her performances often include staging, costumes, or other ways of connecting with audiences. She has performed around the world, including the Belfast Sonorities Festival, the Lucerne Academy, and Pro Musica in Juiz da Fora, Brazil. Her book, An Introduction to Contemporary Music for Bassoon and 64 Etudes is available through Treveo Varner Music.

Flutist Debra Reuter-Pivetta enjoys a diverse career as soloist, chamber artist, orchestral player, and teacher. A winner in the 1999 Concert Artists Guild Competition, she holds top prizes in several international competitions. Ms. Reuter-Pivetta has performed as concerto soloist with many orchestras across the United States and Europe. She is a founding member of the critically acclaimed flute, viola, and harp trio, the Fire Pink Trio. The Trio released their debut CD, Poetry in Motion, in 2015 on the MSR Classics label. Ms. Reuter-Pivetta has recorded chamber works by Undine Smith Moore, William Banfield, and Anthony Kelley on the Albany label. She has recorded works by Béhm, Bozza, Saint-Saëns, Guiot, and Burton with her husband, pianist Federico Pivetta. Their critically acclaimed CD has aired frequently on public radio stations across the country. Performance highlights for the Pivetta Duo include concerts in Chicago, New York City, Italy, and a 75-city nationwide tour. Debra Reuter-Pivetta is the principal flutist with the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, a position she has held since 1989.

Noted for his “elegant and brilliant pianism” (South Florida Classical Review), Wesley Ducote is a pianist/arranger based in St. Petersburg. Florida who has led a diverse musical career pursuing an extensive range of interests.

As a collaborator, Mr. Ducote has been featured with many of today’s brightest stars including composer/vocalist Kate Soper, Emmy Award-winning composer and Vietnamese folk musician Van Anh Vo, flutists Leone Buyse and Carol Wincenc, clarinetist Evan Ziporyn, soprano Ana Maria Martinez, and many others. He has served as principal\guest principal keyboardist with the Houston Grand Opera, Naples Philharmonic, The Florida Orchestra, and the Britt Festival Orchestra, and recently completed a piano fellowship at the New World Symphony.

An enthusiastic performer of new and contemporary music, Mr. Ducote has premiered over 40 new works and worked with faculty at institutions in China, South Korea, Canada and all over the United States. His new music experience includes works for solo piano, chamber ensembles, orchestra and even a piano concerto written for him. Mr. Ducote is the recently appointed Assistant Artistic Director of the Louis Moreau Institute in New Orleans and has also been a guest artist at MIT. Rocket City New Music, and the Great Falls Symphony.

Ron Rudkin, Professor of Music at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, has taught there since 1982. He is Director of Jazz Studies, Director of the UNCSA Jazz Ensemble, and teaches Jazz Improvisation, Ear Training, and Chamber Music. He holds a Master of Music Degree from the Manhattan School of Music and a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition to his teaching duties at UNCSA, Ron currently holds the post of Associate Principal and Second Clarinet in the Winston-Salem Symphony, and has performed with the Greensboro and Salisbury Symphonies, the Carolina Chamber Symphony as well as Music Carolina. As a free-lance musician and member of various North Carolina jazz groups, Ron has performed with a diverse mix of celebrities from the worlds of jazz and entertainment, and has conducted jazz workshops across North Carolina.

Well known as composer/arranger/guitarist/and music educator, Alan Hirsh currently resides in North Carolina where he served for 25 years as Music Director and Fine Arts Department Chair at Bishop McGuinness High School as well as adjunct guitar instructor at Wake Forest University. Alan is also the founder of the Piedmont Guitar Orchestra and actively directs festival guitar orchestras around the country, including at the Appalachian Guitarfest, the Greensboro Guitarganza, the Long Island Guitar Festival, the Virginia Music Educators Association, and the Shearer Summer Institute.

Michael S. Rothkopf is a composer of over 50 works of chamber, electronic, orchestral, and vocal music. His work concentrates on creating interactive compositions noted for their “remarkable sensuousness” and their evocative ability to create a “sense of time and occasion.”

He grew up in Colorado inspired by the abstract beauty of the terrain, colors, climate, and sounds of the mountain West. It is that experience that continues to influence his creative process today. Much of his music focuses on melodic line, counterpoint, color, and clarity of form.

His music is published by American Composers Editions. He has been awarded fellowships from Carnegie Hall, the National Orchestra Association, Columbia University, and Yaddo. Awarded the “Excellence in Teaching Award” in 2017, Dr. Rothkopf taught at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts for 32 years. His principal composition teachers were Normand Lockwood and Mario Davidovsky.