Iannis Xenakis: “…I think that the music that I write is not important for most of the people. It is like an island. …maybe after my death [people] will be more interested in what I have done during my life. But that is not a problem because I cannot do anything else. I am writing music…”
Nisi was composed for hornist Adam Unsworth, motivated by his highly personal approach to the horn. It is dedicated to composer Iannis Xenakis to commemorate his 90th birthday (May 29th, 2012), inspired by Xenakis’s singular spirit, his totally unique sonic palette, and the uncompromisingness of his ideas. It’s materials are drawn from several of Xenakis’s works, notably Eonta (1963-64), Anaktoria (1969), and N’Shima (1975)
Nearly all of the electronic sounds of for Nisi are drawn from Unsworth’s own instrument(s)–recorded together at Cornell University in 2011 and 2012–with the exception of several “vocal” sounds derived from the sung text, “in vanum laboraverunt” (“labor in vain”) from Claudio Monteverdi’s Nisi Dominus (from Venetian Vespers, 1610) that appear in the last coda.
Kevin Ernste is a composer, performer, and teacher of composition and electronic music at Cornell University where he is Director of the Cornell Electroacoustic Music Center. He was the Acting Director and lecturer at the Eastman Computer Music Center and Co-director of the ImageMovementSound festival.
His recent music includes Palimpsest for the JACK Quartet–the result of a 2011 Fromm Foundation Commission, Nisi [nee-see] (“Island” in Greek) for hornist Adam Unsworth released on Equilibrium Records “Snapshots” (CD111), Numina for Brooklyn-based Janus Trio (flute, viola, harp) presented recently at the Spark Festival in MN, Seiend for brass quintet premiered by Ensemble Paris Lodron (Salzburg, Austria, Roses Don’t Need Perfume for guitarist Kenneth Meyer (gtr. and electronic sounds, 2009) recently presented by Dr. Meyer on his 2010 Hungary/Romania tour, a piece for saxophone and electronics called To Be Neither Proud Nor Ashamed (recently released on Innova Records), and Birches for viola with electronic sounds for John Graham performed on Mr. Graham’s recent China tour (Beijing, Wuhan, Xiamen, Hong Kong) as well as at the Aspen Summer Music Festival. Mr, Graham presented Birches again in August 2011 at the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC) in Huddersfield, UK and again in 2012 at CCRMA for the Linux Audio Conference.
Performer Biographical Sketch
Soloist and recording artist Adam Unsworth is Associate Professor of Horn at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. As a performer he is dedicated to commissioning and performing works of living composers, with a goal of expanding repertoire and redefining the boundaries of the horn. Prior to his appointment at the University of Michigan, he was Fourth Horn of The Philadelphia Orchestra (1998-2007) and Second Horn of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (1995-1998). He has performed as a guest with the St. Louis, San Francisco, Pittsburgh and Chicago symphonies. Adam plays and has recorded with the Grammy nominated Gil Evans Centennial Project in New York City and regularly performs with the Slee Sinfonietta, a new music group out of the University of Buffalo.
His recent CD release, Snapshots, on Equilibrium Records, is a compilation of previously unrecorded music, much of which Adam commissioned since starting at Michigan 2007. His newest release titled Balance is a jazz recording for horn, jazz quintet, and chamber orchestra, which features arrangements of his original compositions. In 2006 Adam released his first jazz CD entitled Excerpt This!, which received critical acclaim from jazz and classical horn reviewers alike. Since then he has completed a second jazz CD, Next Step, and contemporary music CD Just Follow Instructions, a recording of the chamber music of crossover saxophonist/composer Daniel Schnyder. In April 2010 the University of Michigan Symphony Band featured Adam as a soloist on the premiere recording of Dana Wilson’s Concerto for Horn and Wind Ensemble. He appeared as soloist on this work with the Aurora Wind Orchestra in Funabashi City, Japan in February 2011.
A former faculty member at Temple University, Adam has appeared as a recitalist and clinician at many universities throughout the United States, and has made several solo and chamber appearances at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall. Unsworth received his formal training at Northwestern University, where he studied with former Chicago Symphony Orchestra members Gail Williams and Norman Schweikert. He continued with graduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with Douglas Hill. He later recorded Jazz Set for Solo Horn, released in 2001 as part of 'Thoughtful Wanderings', a compilation of Hill's works for horn. The University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music named him their Distinguished Alumnus of the Year in 2000.