The programme highlights significant works of two leading female composers, who still qualify as an insider’s tip. Is starts-off introducing the American composer Laurie Spiegel. Spiegel has worked at the cutting edge of electronic and computer music over many years and is seen as a pioneer of the New York new-music scene. Moreover, Laurie Spiegel has been identified closely with the development of experimental color video, having collaborated with Nam June Paik, Bill and Louise Etra, and Tom DeWitt. She pioneered modes of composition that enabled improvising with computers, as well as the creation of dynamic and interactive software instruments. Her ’Music Mouse – An Intelligent Instrument’ (1986) for Macintosh, Amiga and Atari computers was among the earliest music software available to regular consumers, and most widely used in pop- and rock music.
Laurie Spiegel’s ascousmatic stereophonic compositions were among the first computer generated works realized at Bell Laboratories, using GROOVE, a system of microcomputers interfaced with modular synthesizers developed by Max Mathews and F.R. Moore. Appalachian Grove was composed just after a visit to the Fiddler’s Grove Festival in North Carolina and is indicative of Spiegel’s affection for traditional banjo and fiddle playing. By means of computer control she creates a fascinating interplay of modal stereophonic hockets with changes from pointillistic pulses to more extended ones. As in case of Patchwork, she notes that the piece ’was composed in reaction to an overdose of heavy, sad, introspective contemporary music’.
Teresa Rampazzi created ambient music, long before Brian Eno conceived his idea of Ambient 1: Music for Airports in 1978. Rampazzi was an active and prominent figure in the Italian electronic music scene. Yet until today her work is hardly known, and her music has barely entered our cultural memory. As a former avant-garde pianist, Teresa Rampazzi decided to devote herself to electronic analogue music at the age of 50. In 1965 she co-founded the N.P.S. Group (Nuove Proposte Sonore), an experimental collective to research sound generation with analogue devices. Furthermore, Rampazzi founded and directed the CSC Computer Music Center (Centro di Sonologia Computazionale) at the University of Padua, where also Luigi Nono und Luciano Berio frequently worked. She published professional articles on electronic music and worked internationally: at the Utrecht Electronic studio, at the Catholic University in Washington and the EMS in Stockholm.
We would like to thank an Italian musicologist Laura Zattra for her outstanding research work on music of Teresa Rampazzi.
Bettina Wackernagel (artistic director Heroines of Sound Festival)