The Bard Music Program offers students a wide range of courses in electronic music, all focused on the immense potential for circuits and computers to act as creative tools and musical partners.
The curriculum is designed to be open to a wide variety of aesthetic interests and interdisciplinary pursuits. Course topics include music composition, sound art, coding/programming, circuit design, recording/audio production, improvisation, and electronic music performance, among many others. The program includes two ensembles—electroacoustic and electric guitar—both of which workshop and perform works by Bard students.
Students enrolled in electronic music courses have access to the department recording studio facilities, which include a variety of industry-standard microphones, outboard gear, software, a Steinway piano, and an extensive analog synthesizer collection (ARP, Serge, and Moog). Students are also able to utilize the studio facilities to record their own albums and pursue independent creative projects.
The requirements for electronic music majors are:
Theory and History (12–16 credits)
- Music Theory / Ear Training I and II (or) Jazz Harmony I and II (Students with prior proficiency may test out of Music Theory I or Jazz Harmony I at the discretion of the instructor.)
- History of Electronic Music
- Electroacoustic Composition Seminar
Sound and Technology (16 credits)
- Introduction to Electronic Music
- One course from each of the following topic areas: Topics in Music Software (i.e., Topics in Music Software: MAX/MSP); Topics in Sound Studies (i.e., Topics in Sound Studies: Introductory Psychoacoustics; a sound studies course under Experimental Humanities and/or in the ethnomusicology focus area may fulfill this requirement with approval of electronic music adviser); Topics in Music Production (i.e., Topics in Music Production: Sound Recording I)
Ensemble and Lessons (4 credits)
- Two semesters of performance ensemble (Electroacoustic Ensemble or other)
- Two semesters of private lessons or tutorials on an electronic music subject
Total credit hours: 32–36 credits
Moderation requirements: The following courses must be completed prior to Moderation: Introduction to Electronic Music; History of Electronic Music (or) Electroacoustic Composition Seminar.
It is strongly encouraged that students complete Music Theory I/II or Jazz Harmony I/II before Moderation.
Electronic Music Faculty
Matt Sargent is a composer, guitarist, and music technologist. He teaches a variety of courses at Bard on topics including music composition, experimental music, music technology, audio engineering, and contemporary music performance. Sargent has recently received commissions from the [Switch~] Ensemble, Ensemble Mise-En, and the Chesapeake Orchestra, among others. His music has recently been heard in concerts and installations at Constellation (Chicago), the Reykjavik Art Museum, the Wulf (Los Angeles), Mise-En_Place (Brooklyn), Spectrum (New York), Real Art Ways (Hartford), I-Park International Artist-in-Residence Program (East Haddam), the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, and the Center for New Music (San Francisco). He was the recipient of a 2017 NewMusicUSA Project grant for “Unwound Path,” a new chamber work premiered and recorded by the [Switch~] Ensemble in spring 2018. His music is included in Jennie Gottschalk’s Experimental Music since 1970, published by Bloomsbury in 2016. Ghost Music, a CD of Sargent’s music for solo percussion, performed by Bill Solomon, was released by Weighter Recordings in 2018.
Richard Teitelbaum has been active as a composer and performer for more than four decades, performing throughout the world. His music includes notated compositions and free and structured improvisations in acoustic, electronic, and electroacoustic media, often combining traditional Western and non-Western instruments with electronics. After receiving his Master of Music degree from Yale in 1964 he spent two years on a Fulbright in Italy, where he studied with Luigi Nono. While there, Teitelbaum cofounded the pioneering live electronic music group Musica Elettronica Viva with Frederic Rzewski and Alvin Curran in Rome. In 1970 he formed one of the first intercultural improvisation groups, the World Band, at Wesleyan University and has continued to work with traditional musicians from many non-Western cultures. In 1976–77 he spent a year in Tokyo on a Fulbright, studying shakuhachi with the late master Katsuya Yokoyama, while composing “Blends” for shakuhachi, Moog synthesizers, and percussion. A recording of it was released in 2002 by New Albion, on an album of the same name; Blends was named one of the 10 best classical albums of the year by Wire magazine in London.
Teitelbaum has worked with many jazz and improvising musicians such as Steve Lacy, Anthony Braxton, George Lewis, Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Carlos Zingaro, and many other important artists, including John Cage, Morton Feldman, Philip Glass, Nam June Paik, the Living Theater, and many others. In the 1970s he began composing live, interactive computer music. His “digital piano system” combined mechanically played acoustic pianos with computers to play complex “acoustic computer music” on three grand pianos simultaneously. He performed solo with this system in Berlin’s Philharmonic Hall, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Almeida Theatre in London, and many other venues. While on a DAAD residency in Berlin, a commission from West German Radio in Cologne enabled him to compose his Concerto Grosso (1985), which expanded the piano system by adding synthesizers and two wind players as part of the interactive mix. The piece was awarded a prize from the Austrian Radio and the Ars Electronica Festival, and a recording was released on the Hat Art label.
Teitelbaum has created two operas dealing with Jewish mystical expressions of redemptive hopes: Golem, An interactive Opera (1989), and Z’vi (2001– ) based on the 17th-century Jewish-Moslem Messiah figure Sabbatai Z’vi. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship to create this piece, which has since been performed at Bard College’s Fisher Center, the Venice Biennale, and the Center for Jewish History in New York City. He has also composed works for pianists Aki Takahashi and Ursula Oppens, the latter with the support of the Meet the Composer / Reader’s Digest Fund grant, and “SoundPaths” for chamber group and computer, which was commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation and the Da Capo Chamber Players and premiered in New York City in 2009. In the fall of 2012 he performed with Musica Elettronica Viva in residency at Bard College and at the Kitchen in New York CIty.
In addition to the labels mentioned above, Teitelbaum has recorded for Arista-Freedom, Centaur, Incus, Matchless, Moers, Music and Arts, Nippon Columbia, Silkheart, Tzadik, Victo, Wergo, and others. Solo Live, a recording of a live solo concert, was issued on the Mutable Music label in 2012. Piano Plus, a collection of six piano works written between 1963 and 1998, was released by New World Records in 2013.
Teitelbaum is professor of music at Bard College, where he has taught in the undergraduate and graduate programs for more than 25 years.