for ensemble and electronics (2018/21)


11 players: trumpet).1.0-1perc-pn-MIDI Keyboard-
Commissioned by:
University of the Pacific’s 28/78 New Music Ensemble and Andrew Lu, in partnership with the Conservatory of Music

Study Score available for purchase

Max Patch for Mac (required for performance of the piece)


Antefenas is a spelling variant of an Old English word, antefn, meaning an “antiphon,” “anthem,” or a “hymn song sung in alternate parts.” No religious connotation is intended in this piece; however, throughout the piece I focus on the physicality of alternating sounds. In particular, I am interested in the kinetics of one sound responding to another, eventually forming the perception of a dialogue. Throughout the piece, dialogue is implied in various ways.

In the first part, L’antienne acoustique I (The acoustic dialogue I), an exchange between real and virtual acoustics takes place: the live musicians play short sounds through their instruments that would highlight the acoustics of the room or the hall where the piece is being played. The electronic part responds to these live instrumental sounds with sounds that are passed through impulse responses, artificially generated reverberations that simulate a “virtual” room. In the second part, Mouvements (movements), the electronic part is absent, and the focus is on the activities on the instrumental parts. “Movements” here refer not only to the fast passages that dominate this part, but also to the movements of the sounds that are exchanged from one instrumental group to another. The last part, L’antienne acoustique II, is essentially an inverse of the first part, where the live instrumental parts simulate the acoustics that the electronics produced in L’antienne acoustique I by producing the airy and hissing sounds that quickly decay in volume. The electronic part predominantly produces sounds with dry acoustics. New to the revised version, fast delays are added to the electronic sounds that bounce off left and right. Such sounds are put together with the live instrumental sounds to create a more immersive experience. The electronic part also plays a series of bell-like chords, which come from the residues of compositional materials that did not make their ways into the second part, Mouvements. I think of them as a signifier of the irreconcilable past. I find them particularly poignant, considering how turbulent the world has been for the past few years. Indeed, working on a now two-year-old piece makes the passing of time so visceral and palpable.

Antefenas-Studies was commissioned by and written for University of the Pacific’s 28/78 New Music Ensemble and Andrew Lu, in partnership with the Conservatory of Music. I dedicate this piece to Robert Coburn, in gratitude for introducing me to the world of Max/MSP while I was an undergraduate at the university, which has proven essential for creating the electronics component of this piece.


Performance History

Mizzou New Music Ensemble
Yoshiaki Onishi, cond.
Sinquefield Music Center, University of Missouri
Mizzou New Music Ensemble Livestream Concert

02/02/2019 WP
28/78 New Music Ensemble
Yoshiaki Onishi, cond.
University of the Pacific, Stockton, California
2019 New Music Festival

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