Composer and violinist Charles Nichols, an assistant professor of composition and creative technologies in the School of Performing Arts, presented his composition, “Traffic SONATA,” for amplified violin, oud, and qanun, sonified traffic data, and traffic simulations on November 1 at the National Conference of the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities, which was held at the University of Georgia Center in Athens, Georgia.
The piece is a collaboration between Nichols, transportation engineer and oudist Monty Abbas, qanunist Anne Elise Thomas, and transportation engineer Qichao Wang.
School of Performing Arts faculty members Eric Lyon, an associate professor, and Ico Bukvic, also interim associate dean for graduate studies and research, along with Tanner Upthegrove, ICAT Media Specialist, presented three sets of live, immersive music on October 10 at Envelop SF, an immersive audio venue in San Francisco.
The Envelop Concert featured the following compositions by Lyon: “3D Stomp Fracture,” “NJ Honcho Wing,” “Coventry,” “From A to Z,” and “Wild Echos.” The music demonstrated spatialization techniques and software developed at Virginia Tech for use in the Cube.
Violinist and composer Charles Nichols, who is also an assistant professor of composition and creative technologies in the School of Performing Arts, premiered Badstar: A Concert of Immersive Audio and Video, an hour show in three movements inspired by fusion, old-time, and drone metal, for electric violin, electric banjo, electric guitar, electronic drums, and computers, with multiple projections of interactive processed video mapped to custom architecture.
The performance was a collaboration with banjoist and composer Holland Hopson, guitarist and composer André Foisy, drummer and music major Denver Nuckolls, video artist Zach Duer, and architect Jon Rugh. It took place October 11–13 in the 134.2 spatial audio system in the Cube of the Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech.
Two members of the college community were among the five Virginia Tech faculty and administrators selected to represent the university as part of the 2018–2019 ACC Academic Leaders Network: Bernice Hausman, Edward S. Diggs Professor in Humanities and chair of the Department of English, and Patty Raun, School of Performing Arts and director of the Center for Communicating Science.
During its June meeting the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors conferred the emerita title on Patricia Lavender, associate professor of theatre arts.
Lavender brought significant visibility to theatre at Virginia Tech through numerous publications and presentations, by marketing and publicizing the theatre program and theatrical productions on campus, and through active participation with regional and national arts and education organizations. She taught a range of undergraduate courses in theatre, including arts management, community engagement, nonprofit structures, audience development, and arts marketing, advising and supporting hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students, as they prepared for successful careers in diverse fields. Lavender joined the Virginia Tech community in 1984; she earned her bachelor’s degree from Maryville College and a master’s degree from the University of Maryland.
The compositions of Charles Nichols, an assistant professor in the School of Performing Arts, were presented in three venues in August. On August 9 he performed his compositions Anselmo and What Bends, for electric violin, interactive computer music, and processed video, in collaboration with video artists Jay Bruns/noway and Zach Duer, and presented a workshop on composing for spatial audio at the Audio Engineering Society International Conference on Spatial Reproduction, through the 5.1.4-channel immersive audio system in the 100th Anniversary Hall of Tokyo Denki University in Tokyo, Japan. At the same conference, his Shakespeare’s Garden, for processed environmental sounds, recited poetry, and video of the art installation, a collaboration with directors Amanda Nelson and Natasha Staley and lighting designer John Ambrosone from the School of Performing Arts, was played continually through the 22.2-channel immersive audio system in Studio B of Tokyo University of the Arts on August 8 and 9. Nichols’ composition Beyond the Dark, for computer music and video of the Dense Space art installation, a collaboration with architect Paola Zellner Bassett, was also played continually at the International Computer Music Conference, on the Lotte Facade jumbotron in Daegu, Korea, August 6–10.
Richard Masters, an assistant professor in the School of Performing Arts, served from June 13 to July 22 as the associate head coach for the Pittsburgh Festival Opera, where he coached young singers and mainstage artists, played rehearsals, and performed in the orchestra for productions of Wagner’s Das Rheingold and Richard Strauss’s Arabella.
In addition, Masters was invited to be part of the faculty at the Druid City Opera Workshop at the University of Alabama Tuscaloosa May 16–24 and to serve as music director for the Blacksburg Summer Arts Festival Production of Fiorello! from July 23 to August 11.