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The Nature of Music: Christopher Luna-Mega
7:30 pm, May 11 @ the David Brower Center, Berkeley

Other Minds was pleased to present the 17th edition of the Nature of Music concert series which took place Wednesday, May 11, 2022 at 7:30 pm at the Goldman Theater of the David Brower Center in Berkeley, California. The event featured a performance of Christopher Luna-Mega’s Night Music for reed quintet and electronics performed by Splinter Reeds.

Christopher Luna-Mega is a composer and improviser whose work analyzes sounds and data from natural and urban environments and translates them into notated music for performers and electronics. His Night Music is derived from direct transcriptions and arrangements of a 5-channel recording of the summer dusk and night sounds of insects at Walnut Creek Park in Albemarle County, Virginia. The piece is structured in five movements, each taken from a fragment of the original 40-minute recording. The striking increase in harmonic density and loudness as the recording unfolds is the guiding formal principle of the piece. The recording, featured in the electronics, was made with five microphones and each microphone analysis and transcription was assigned to one instrument. The multi-channel recording sought an expanded listening field resulting from the different microphone responses and placings.

By spatializing these field recordings in Night Music, Luna-Mega aimed to capture the constantly shifting sound in the forest throughout the recorded perimeter, expanding the auditory field comparable to a 360º photo, as well as continue his research on the various modes of perception and their compositional implications. Night Music explores the different contents that each microphone and recording device captured of the same environment, expanding the perceptual field. The spatial distribution of the field recording is recreated in the diffusion of the 5-channel electronics track.

About Christopher Luna-Mega

Christopher Luna-Mega is a composer and improviser from Mexico City. Interested in focused listening, performance strategies, audio technology, and interdisciplinary collaboration, his work analyzes sounds and data from natural and urban environments and translates them into notated music for performers and electronics in various forms of media.

His orchestral music has been performed by the Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Montreal-Toronto Art Orchestra, and Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de México, conducted by Tonino Battista, Ilan Volkov, Gregory Oh and José Luis Castillo, respectively. Ensembles that have performed his instrumental works include Splinter Reeds, the New Thread Quartet, Yarn|Wire, The William Winant Percussion Group, JACK Quartet, and The Arditti String Quartet. His music has been featured in festivals such as the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, Seoul International Computer Music Festival (Gwanju), AngelicA (Bologna), Tectonics (Reykjavik), Tectonics (Glasgow), L’Off (Montreal), Avant X (Toronto), Mills Music Now (Oakland, CA), and the International Forum for New Music “Manuel Enriquez” (Mexico City). His research on acoustic ecology and environmental sound-based composition has been presented and published in the proceedings of the Computer Music Multidisciplinary Research conference and the Jefferson Journal.

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About Splinter Reeds

Splinter Reeds is the West Coast’s first reed quintet, comprising five innovative musicians with a shared passion for new music. The ensemble is committed to presenting top tier performances of today’s best contemporary composition, showcasing the vast possibilities of the reed quintet, commissioning new works, and collaborating with fellow musicians and artists.

As a relatively new chamber music genre, the reed quintet is an evolutionary detour from the traditional woodwind quintet with the advantages of a more closely related instrument family. With approximately 20 professional reed quintets worldwide, Splinter Reeds is explicitly dedicated to cutting edge composition and expanding the existing reed quintet repertoire through the development of new works by emerging and established composers.

Splinter Reeds formed in 2013 with the coming together of five colleagues highly active in multiple facets of the Bay Area’s vibrant music scene: Kyle Bruckmann (oboe), Bill Kalinkos (clarinet), David Wegehaupt (saxophone), Jeff Anderle (bass clarinet), and Dana Jessen (bassoon). The sum of their wide ranges of experience – in settings including free jazz, improvisation, electronic music, pop, punk and metal as well as classical – has enabled them to rapidly zero in on a distinct aesthetic identity.

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