a section of Michael Shannon's "Matrix" as completed by Tanith Lanzillotta
"Fans of the avant should investigate Eye Music whose existence shocks and pleases me. I'm appalled that no local college or university in Washington has an ensemble dedicated to performing graphic scores—nontraditional notation usually made up of lines, words, and symbols. So I'm grateful that Eye Music, which includes Stuart Dempster, Dissonant Plane cofounder Eric Lanzillotta, Esther Sugai, and Dean Moore, continues to champion such overlooked music." - Christopher DeLaurenti, The Stranger
Originally formed in August 2006 to perform a student composition by Sune Smedeby, Eye Music has continued to focus on playing graphic scores since that time. Graphic scores are written music compositions that rely on visual information rather than standard notation to convey musical ideas. Often these scores are beautiful to look at just as they are intriguing to play. In addition to graphic scores, Eye Music has also played text scores which consist of verbal instructions for music making. In all cases, the scores used by the ensemble allow for certain amount of openness in interpretation. These are musical pieces selected for the possibilities they inspire. They often require improvisation on the part of each performer because much can be interpreted differently each time a piece is played. However, they maintain a sense of form in one or more areas making the pieces a group activity in reaching a common goal. The openness of these compositions allows Eye Music to draw its membership from a wide range of musical backgrounds, instrumentation, and musical skill. Whenever possible, the ensemble works with guest composers on their pieces to gain a greater appreciation for possible approaches and considerations in performance of these works.Members of the ensemble include:
Stuart Dempster – Sound Gatherer - trombonist, composer, didjeriduist, et al, and Professor Emeritus at University of Washington, is best known for creative beautiful, rich acoustic drones in reverberant natural spaces and for commissions for trombone by Berio, Erb, Erickson, Krenek, Oliveros, Suderburg, and many others. He has recorded for numerous labels including Columbia, Nonesuch, and New Albion. The latter includes In the Great Abbey of Clement VI at Avignon - a "cult classic" - and Underground Overlays from the Cistern Chapel consisting of music sources for a 1995 Merce Cunningham Dance Company commission. Grants include: Creative Associate at SUNYAB; Fellow, Center for Advanced Study, University of Illinois; Fulbright Scholar (Australia); NEA Composer Grant; US/UK and Guggenheim Fellowships. Dempster, a leading figure in development of trombone technique and performance, published his landmark book The Modern Trombone: A Definition of Its Idioms in 1979. Dempster has had a front row seat in the world of avant garde music having played in the world premiere of Terry Riley's minimalist masterpiece In C and the US premiere of Cornelius Cardew's Treatise. He has worked with artists as diverse as Merce Cunningham, Luciano Berio, Folke Rabe, Jani Christou, The Nihilist Spasm Band, Yuji Takahashi, Lesli Dalaba, William O. Smith, Sheri Cohen, Dave Knott, Ellen Fullman, David Tudor, John Cage, Wu Man, and Greg Powers. Most important of his musical collaborators is Pauline Oliveros, with whom he founded the Deep Listening Band.
Amy Denio is a multi-instrumentalist composer and singer based in Seattle, WA. Home-taper since the Dark Ages of Analogue, she started her label Spoot Music in 1986, with the release of her first cassette, 'No Bones.' Since then, she's recorded & released other cassettes, LPs and 35 CDs created solo and with an array of international musicians. She has been creating & producing soundscores for dance, theater and film since 1983.
Jay Hamilton studied music composition at Fairhaven College on the campus of Western Washington University with Americole Biasini and Dr. E. LaBounty. He has attended the workshops of Kenneth Gaburo, David Mahler, Meredith Monk, and Pauline Oliveros. Since 1973 Jay has been active as a composer/performer working primarily with instruments of his own design and construction, using just intonation for the basic tuning. In 1982 he formed the Quixotic String Ensemble with adults who had little musical experience.
Robert j Kirkpatrick is a self-taught performer of the wire strung harp which he plays with various preparations and electronics.
Dave Knott: (Animist Orchestra, Greasy, No Clocks No Clues, Anomalous Records Thursday Nights above the Artificial Limb Company, Messenger Girls Trio, Ready Made Ensemble, Metaphonic Orchestra, inscrutable-d). Solo and group electro and/or acoustic improvisation & composition using natural & artificial materials, original as well as traditional stringed instruments. With particular interests in timbre, listening practice, the tension between utility and aesthetics of music & the forms exposed through exercises in instability.
Susie Kozawa, a sound artist, composer and performer, works mostly with sound collages and site-specific installations, in which the gathering of sounds is a primary activity. She explores different acoustic spaces using musical instruments she makes out of found objects, kelp, modified toys and human voice. She creates live sound design for dance and theater productions. She was a founding member of Aono Jikken Ensemble and has been a Foley type sound artist to Guy Madden's "live spectacle performance" of his silent film Brand Upon The Brain! that performed in Seattle, Portland, Sao Paulo and Winnipeg. Recently she designed the sound score with Esther Sugai for Serge Gregory's film "When Herons Dream". Most recently she had been featured in the artist portrait documentary "Degrees of Inspiration" along with Britta Johnson and Lori Goldston by filmmaker Gabriel Miller. She also creates sound collages from field recordings of found sounds. She is a member of the Seattle Phonographers Union. She has permanent public art installations with visual artist Erin Shie Palmer for the new Wing Luke Asian Museum in Seattle.
Eric Lanzillotta is the director of Eye Music and founder of Anomalous Records, Ri Be Xibalba and the magazine Bixobal. Recordings of his work have been released on CD and vinyl by Selektion, Alluvial Recordings, Beta-lactam Ring Records, RRRecords, EE Tapes and Jnana Records. He has had no formal musical training.
Carl Lierman is a self taught visual artist and sound composer. He is co-founder of FotoCircle Gallery in downtown Seattle in the 90’s, and a member of Gyre. His work has been heard in Iancu Dumitrescu's 1st Annual Computer Music Festival in Bucharest, and the Center on Contemporary Art's "People Doing Strange Things With Electricity Too”.
Dean Moore is a versatile percussionist who performs with many ensembles and also as a solo performer. Over the past two years he has specialized in playing gongs and other resonant metals. Dean has been working with Garrett Fisher and the Fisher Ensemble since 2005. He has performed with The Aono Jikken Ensemble. Starting with their piece 'Eclipse', and most recently part of a live foley team performing an original foley sound score for Guy Maddinís latest silent film 'Brand Upon The Brain'. Dean has performed and composed music for local dance companies and was also a founding member of Circus Contraption.
Michael Shannon - composer, multi-instrumentalist, sound designer, recording artist, and founding member of Seattle’s multi-media Aono Jikken Ensemble, member of the Animist Orchestra.
David Stanford: First instrument was saxophone. Began theory lessons, piano lessons, and self-instruction on guitar several years later. Graduated Cornish College of the Arts (B.M., 2000). Has played with Gamelan Pacifica, Seattle City Gamelan, animist orchestra, and has collaborated with a number of different choreographers and video artists. Current focus is on playing natural objects, amplification/electronics, and (when access permits) prepared piano.
Esther Sugai is a flutist and composer. She is a founding member of the Aono Jikken Ensemble and also performs with the Fisher Ensemble. She has a Masters degree in Music Composition from the University of Utah, where she studied with electronic music pioneer Vladimir Ussachevsky. Esther has received grants from Meet The Composer and ASCAP and is a past Seattle Arts Commission Composer-in-Residence.
Jonathan Way is a translator of Asian texts as well as a sound artist. He is probably best known for playing with the Seattle Phonographers Union. He has also released a CDR on Greg Davis' Autumn Records and a track on the phonography.org 7 compilation.
Other members of the ensemble have included Marshall Bialas, Rachael Jackson, Taina Karr, Rob Millis, Tanith Lanzillotta, Matt Shoemaker, and Marcia Takamura.