Ted Coffey (UVA) on Story/Time

From Aesthetics to Technique in the Music of Story / Time

Tuesday, March 12, 2013
5:15-6:30 p.m.
Contemporary Arts Center
Colloquium Room (3rd Floor, rm 3201)

Since 2011, composer Ted Coffey has collaborated with celebrated choreographer Bill T. Jones in the creation and constant re-creation of Story / Time — an evening-length work featuring nine dancers, Mr. Jones as storyteller, and music Coffey performs live. Story / Time was conceived as a response to John Cage’s Indeterminacy (1958), and like that work each performance is greatly varied in both form and content. In this presentation, Coffey will describe how the piece as a whole developed, how its diverse musical materials were determined and produced, and how the real-time performance instrument was designed and implemented to achieve the work’s aesthetic objectives.

Ted Coffey makes acoustic and electronic chamber music, interactive installations, and songs. His work has been presented in concerts and festivals across North America, Europe and Asia, at such venues as Judson Church, The Knitting Factory, Symphony Space, and Lincoln Center (NYC), The Lab, New Langton Arts, Southern Exposure, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (SF), the Walker Arts Center (MN), Wolf Trap (D.C.), Art Basel Miami, the Korean National University of the Arts (Seoul), Tiatro Eliseo (Rome), Carre Theatre (Amsterdam), and ZKM (Karlsruhe, Germany). Most recently, Coffey has collaborated with celebrated dancer-choreographer Bill T. Jones in the creation of Story / Time, a continuously evolving evening-length work that he is performing widely with the Company. Coffey’s electroacoustic composition has been featured at ICMC (2004, 2005, 2006), SEAMUS (2001, 2009, 2010, 2011), the Spark Festival (2009), the Third Practice Festival (2005, 2008, 2009), and the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival (2010), among others. In Open Space, Newton Armstrong described Coffey’s music as “subtle, weird and devoid of heroics. It’s the kind of music that resonates for days after you’ve heard it, and its spaces and gestures continue to form into new and extraordinary geometries.” His writings on the aesthetics and social politics of transmissive networks in the arts have been honored with significant awards from the Josephine De Kármán and Andrew C. Mellon Foundations. Coffey studied composition with Jon Appleton, Christian Wolff, Pauline Oliveros, Paul Lansky, and others, earning degrees at Dartmouth (AB), Mills College (MFA) and Princeton (MFA, PhD). Recordings of his work are available on the Audition, Ellipsis Arts, Everglade, and EcoSono labels. He is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Virginia, where he teaches courses in composition, music technologies, critical theory, and pop.