Nosedive is an interactive duet for wind controller and touch controllers, composed in close collaboration with saxophonist Nathan Mandel, which seeks to explore the musically expressive capabilities of purely digital instruments. Initially conceived as a work “for wind controller,” the emphasis subtly shifted as the piece developed, producing a work that gives unique but relatively equal roles to the two performers. Although the wind controller is a prominent visual feature of the performance, the computer is the true “instrument” being played, and the two performers share (and sometimes compete for) control over musical parameters through a variety of physical interactions. The aesthetic of the work attempts to blend a historically-informed electroacoustic style with elements of pop-electronic dance music.
Eli Fieldsteel, serving as Director of the University of Illinois Experimental Music Studios since 2016, is a composer specializing in music technology with a diverse history of cross-disciplinary collaboration. He is the recipient of the 2014 James E. Croft Grant for Young and Emerging Wind Band Composers, first prize in the 2012 ASCAP/SEAMUS Student Commission Competition, as well as awards and recognition from other organizations, including the Bandmasters’ Academic Society of Japan and the Frank Ticheli Competition. His music has been performed nationally and internationally by ensembles such as the Dallas Wind Symphony, the North Texas Symphony Orchestra, the Kawagoe Sohwa Wind Ensemble of Tokyo, and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Wind Ensemble. His music is published under Lovebird Music, and has been recorded on the SEAMUS and Aerocade Music record labels.
Fieldsteel's music and research engages with the intersection between music technology and performance, focusing on topics such as human-computer improvisation, interactivity, and sensor-driven music. Utilizing new technologies and real-time environments, his works are highly gestural, expressive, and richly detailed. As an active collaborator, he has worked closely with dancers, choreographers, lighting designers, architects, and video artists, resulting in a variety of unique and site-specific installations and performances. He is fluent in several contemporary music programming languages, and maintains an active teaching presence online through a well-trafficked series of SuperCollider tutorials.
Performer Biographical Sketch
Exploring the relationship of saxophone technique, art, musical progression, and the relationship between the performer, music, and audience, Saxophonist Nathan Mandel is dedicated to presenting programs that explore listening further, with programs that include blending contemporary music with pop culture, new tonal realities with traditional overtones, multi-disciplinary performance with dance, art, poetry, and music, and exploring true computer and live audio design duo music.
Nathan is the co-Director and saxophonist for Suono Mobile USA along with artistic Director Philipp Blume. Nathan is currently a Business Administrative Associate Operations Manager at the University of Illinois School of Music. He also Associate-Faculty at McKendree University teaching music online courses.
Nathan has served as Associate-Faculty, Instructor of Saxophone, at McKendree University from 2010 to 2013. He also has 8 years of band directing experience. He founded and directed the Champaign Youth Summer Band from 2008 to 2012. Nathan has worked in Music Administration since 2005, and has served as the University of Illinois Stage Crew Manager, Illinois Summer Youth Music Head of Work Crew, Allerton Music Barn Festival Technical Director, and acted as a consultant to the Assistant Director of Operation and Finance at the University of Illinois School of Music from 2012 before gaining a full-time position there in late Fall of 2013.
Nathan holds the Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Illinois, and degrees from Bowling Green State University (2005) and the University of North Texas (2003). His principle teachers include Debra Richtmeyer, John Sampen, and Eric Nestler.