In the summer of 2012 I had the opportunity to go to the Global Composition Conference during the World Forum on Acoustic Ecology in Darmstadt, Germany. Presenter Luís Alberto Bittencourt discussed water percussion and we became quick friends. Through our conversations about water percussion, we began discussing the possibility of composing a piece for water percussion and electronics. This had never been done before and presented several engineering challenges. However, I was determined to make these two combative fields (water and electronics) work together. Therefore, Água Eletrônica is dedicated to Luís. Additionally, this piece could not have come to completion without the construction and lighting expertise of Jim Pearson and Eric Stehl, the programming wizardry of Kyle Vanderburg, the musical guidance of Konstantinos Karathanasis, the patience of Ricardo Souza, and the unusually supportive nature of my wife, Christa, who never doubted any of my crazy ideas (at least not out loud).
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a marine biologist (as most kids do at some point). My family had a set of Jacques Cousteau books that I would look at for hours on end. The most memorable point of my maritime fascination was when my mom got a video from a “real” marine biologist that the family knew. The video was raw footage of an ultra deep submarine dive off the coast of the Galapagos Islands. I sat in our living room and watched amazing, alien creatures in complete awe of this dark and foreign environment. Although there was no sound, just the chatter of the submarine operator on the radio, I wondered what this world would sound like. There were fangtooth fish living miles below the ocean’s surface, the vampire squid with the largest eyes (proportionally) of any animal on earth, the lantern or angler fish which lure their victims with bioluminescence, and the wolf fish which crushes crustaceans in its mighty jaws along with lots of other weird and terrific creatures. The sounds you will hear tonight were primarily inspired by the ultra-deep sea creatures that inhabited my imagination as a child.
Composer and conductor David Ikard is currently pursuing a DMA in composition from the University of Oklahoma. Ikard’s music has been described as moving, innovative and exciting. Recent and upcoming performances include the Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium, Sound Travels sponsored by NAISA, ICMC, the Sonorities music festival at the Sonic Arts Research Center in Belfast, the Global Composition conference in Darmstadt, the Music Since 1900 conference at Hope University in Liverpool, the Symposium on “Water Memories and Tomorrow’s Landscapes” with a live broadcast in Tunis, Brisbane, Byron Bay, Hong Kong, Northampton, Keene and Buenos Aires, NAISA in Toronto, Canada, SEAMUS, Electronic Music Midwest, as well as national and regional conferences of the Society of Composers Inc. Composition teachers include Marvin Lamb, Konstantinos Karathanasis, Kim Archer and David Maslanka among others. Mr. Ikard’s work is published by Media Press Inc. out of Chicago Illinois.