Chicago Composers Consortium Electro-Acoustic Concert, Oct 29, 2020 7:30 p.m.

Easily accessed from your favorite armchair for free!


Joao Oliveira La Mer Emeraude (2018) for fixed media

Kyong Mee Choi, Until Heard (2019) for piano and electronics

Mitch Weakley, Synthetechnica (2020) for electronics (premiere)

Timothy Ernest Johnson, Lituus (2020) for 2 clarinets and 4 guitars


Eric Mandat Chiral Symmetries (2013)
I. Stars Twinkle, Planets Shine
IV. Origins
VI. The Universe Stops Expanding Briefly to Offer Advice

Mengmeng Wang, Formulas (2020) (premiere) for clarinet and electronics

Kathleen Ginther, The Air Between

Eric Mandat, The Isoletudes (2020)


Biographies & Program Notes (Program order)

Composer João Pedro Oliveira holds the Corwin Endowed Chair in Composition for the University of California at Santa Barbara. He studied organ performance, composition and architecture in Lisbon. He completed a PhD in Music at the University of New York at Stony Brook. His music includes opera, orchestral compositions, chamber music, electroacoustic music and experimental video. He has received over 50 international prizes and awards for his works, including three Prizes at Bourges Electroacoustic Music Competition, the prestigious Magisterium Prize and Giga-Hertz Special Award, 1st Prize in Metamorphoses competition, 1st Prize in Yamaha-Visiones Sonoras Competition, 1st Prize in Musica Nova competition. He taught at Aveiro University (Portugal) and Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil). His publications include several articles in journals and a book on 20th century music theory.

La Mer Émeraude (2018): Let us imagine a small invented world, a micro universe where everything exists… matter, energy, spirit, telluric movements, mysteries, natural and supernatural forces. That world is whole and from afar, whoever watches, sees it as a living ocean. This work was composed in the Musiques-Recherches studio and is dedicated to Annette Vande Gorne and Francis Dhomont. It received the second prize at SIME Competition 2019, the first Prize at Cittá di Udine Competition 2020, the first prize at Destellos Competition 2020 and the first prize at Chicago Composers Consortium Competition.


Kyong Mee Choi, composer, organist, painter, poet, and visual artist, received several prestigious awards including John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, Robert Helps Prize, Aaron Copland Award, John Donald Robb Musical Trust Fund Commission, Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, First prize of ASCAP/SEAMUS Award among others. Her music was published at Ablaze, CIMESP (São Paulo, Brazil), SCI, EMS, ERM media, SEAMUS, and Détonants Voyages (Studio Forum, France). She is the Head of Music Composition at Roosevelt University in Chicago where she teaches composition and electro-acoustic music. Samples of her works are available at

Until Heard for piano and electronics depicts the awe of nature. Natural sounds such as rain, birds, thunder, ocean reflect our appreciation of the planet. The main piano melody that is recurring throughout the piece implies our awareness to recognize the beauty of nature. The composer hopes humanity to bring consciousness to conserve the planet that has been damaged through human desire and greed. The piece is dedicated to Lawrence Axelrod for his 60th birthday.

A review in Opera News states that Lawrence Axelrod is “a … composer whose fresh and distinctive music deserves to be more widely known.” He is a composer, pianist and conductor. Mr Axelrod’s musical activities have taken him around the United States, Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. His works were performed by ~Nois, the London Sylvan Ensemble, Clocks in Motion, The Chicago Composers Orchestra. His music was included in the Sound of Silent Film Festival by Access Contemporary Music. Mr. Axelrod is a founder and current member of the Chicago Composers’ Consortium and the creator of Opera Adventures.


Mitch Weakley composes dynamic and narrative music in all genres and has a special affinity for electroacoustic music. His compositions have received recognition in performance at conferences and festivals around the country, and in 2015 he was awarded the SEAMUS Allen Strange National Memorial Award. He began composing music in 2005, creating mostly works for rock band or trumpet, his first instrument. He later expanded his compositional repertoire to include more diverse ensembles such as choir, brass ensemble, and strings. During his undergraduate degree he began to learn and write in the electroacoustic genre and since then, electroacoustic music has become a major focus of his compositional output. Mitch holds a Bachelor’s in Music Education from Eastern Illinois University, and a Master’s in Music Composition from the Roosevelt University Chicago College of Performing Arts.

Through experimentation with synthesizers, creating sounds and manipulating presets, I began to develop a library of source materials. These sounds lent themselves to layering and phrasing in such a way that a musical form began to come together intuitively. This initial musical structure then informed more intentional compositional choices and further digital processing, resulting in Synthetechnica, originally composed for 4-channel fixed media playback.


The music of Chicago composer Timothy Ernest Johnson has been performed internationally by some of the world’s best musicians including Winston Choi, the Pianissimo, Ensemble Mise-en, Ensemble Paramirabo, Illinois Modern Ensemble, Chicago Composers Orchestra, Due East, and Ensemble Dal Niente. Johnson has received numerous awards, including Finalist in the Alea III competition. As a classical guitarist, Johnson has performed recitals in North America, Europe and Asia, premiered numerous works, and made two Brazilian jazz recordings with the group Desafinado. Johnson is also a noted researcher in microtonality, and spent several years helping the Kepler String Quartet record Ben Johnston’s music.

Lituus is a partly algorithmic composition based on a mathematical lituus equation that graphs a spiral pattern looking roughly like a treble clef. The music is structured in spiralling pitch patterns, in a tuning space of eighth tones. The guitars have also been restrung to create an expanded tessitura (essentially the range of the cello). The original lituus “was a crooked wand used as a cult instrument in ancient Roman religion by augurs to mark out a ritual space in the sky.” (Wikipedia) Expressively, the composition references the drama of predicting the future in a public ritual in the presence of a powerful ruling official, during which the behavior of the natural world is interpreted as an omen for good or ill. The sense of anxiety and desire for reassurance about contemporary events also informs the expressive elements of the music.


Eric Mandat is recognized worldwide as one of the foremost authorities on clarinet extended techniques. He tours frequently worldwide as a concert soloist. For 15 seasons he was a member of the Chicago Symphony’s MusicNOW ensemble. Eric is Visiting Professor of Clarinet and Distinguished Scholar at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He received the 1999 SIU Outstanding Scholar Award, the university’s highest honor for research/creative work.

Chiral Symmetries traverses a universe rife with elements simultaneously identical and antipodal.

The improvisations in The Isoletudes reflect on the storm cloud of COVID this spring, and humanity’s ebb and flow of uncertainty.


Mengmeng Wang is a DMA composition dissertator at University of Wisconsin-Madison and studies composition with Professor Laura Schwendinger. She received her Master of Music in Composition from Shanghai Conservatory of music. She is the winner Mead Witter School of Music Concerto Competition. She has won awards at 1st eARTS Digital Audio China Competition and the 4th Chinese National Music Exhibition and Performance etc. Her music was performed in Glasow UK, Beijing Modern Music Festival, Ithaca (NY), June in Buffalo (NY) etc.

Formulas is inspired by 3 chemical reactions, Hot ice, BZ reaction, and Copper and Nitric Acid reaction. The electronic track is divided into 3 sections in order to correspond to these 3 chemical reactions. The common structure of the molecules in the 3 reactions is , which also becomes a structure of the chords in the piece. The development of pitch materials depends on the process of atom binding in these chemical reactions. The breaking and recombining of chemical bonds make substance transform from one to another. The music language’s changing and moving just mimic this process.


Kathleen Ginther’s music has been performed in Italy, England, Scotland, Holland, China, Japan and Brazil, and across the United States. She has been awarded multiple Illinois Arts Council Fellowships and is the focus of a composer portrait on ‘Arts Across Illinois’, produced by WTTW (Channel 11). As President and Program Director of American Women Composers Midwest in Chicago, she presented concerts and worked with other performing and presenting groups to integrate music by women into their repertoires. A member of the Chicago Composers’ Consortium, she is the Founder and former Director of Outside The Box, an annual Festival of New Music at Southern Illinois University.

The Air Between is characterized by a juxtaposition of various kinds of contrasts: soft/loud, slow/fast, high/low, pitched/nonpitched. It was written for my friend and colleague Eric Mandat, with whom I had the pleasure of working for many years at Southern Illinois University, and is dedicated to him, with the deepest admiration and affection.


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