Kerry L. Hagan
Bio
Kerry is a composer and researcher working in both acoustic and computer media. She develops real-time methods for spatialization and stochastic algorithms for musical practice. Her work endeavours to achieve aesthetic and philosophical aims while taking inspiration from mathematical and natural processes. In this way, each work combines art with science and technology from various domains. Her works have been performed in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America.
Kerry performs regularly with Miller Puckette as the Higgs whatever.
As a researcher, Kerry's interests include real-time algorithmic methods for music composition and sound synthesis, spatialization techniques for 3D sounds and electronic/electroacoustic musicology. Her research has been presented in international conferences around the world.
In 2010, Kerry led a group of practitioners to form the Irish Sound, Science and Technology Association, where she served as President until 2015.
Currently, Kerry is a Lecturer at the University of Limerick in the Digital Media and Arts Research Centre. She is the Principal Investigator for the Spatialization and Auditory Display Environment (SpADE).
Upcoming
Recent
Selected Works
2018. Improvisations, improvised electronics by John Bowers and Kerry Hagan.
2017. Who Was That Timbre I Saw You With?, improvised electronics by Miller Puckette and Kerry Hagan.
2017. plangent/perdu, Pd composition for WFS or high-density loudspeaker array.
2017. wave/particle for bass, A clarinet and computer.
2016. resolution, Pd composition for the Cube at the Moss Center for the Arts, Virginia Tech.
2016. Homage to Saariaho, laptop improvisation by Kerry Hagan.
2016. Hack Lumps, improvised electronics by Miller Puckette and Kerry Hagan.
2015. s/d, real-time Pd composition, multichannel.
2014. requiem for B-flat clarinet and computer.
2014. Cubic Zirconia, fixed medium (124 channels) for the Cube at the Moss Center for the Arts, Virginia Tech.
2012. ...of pulses and times..., real-time Pd composition.
2011. (bass) for bass.
2011. Morphons and Bions, real-time Pd composition, multichannel.
2007. ophelia's revenge for violin duet and computer.
2002. t.R.,m.f.a.c-c. for cello.
2000. consacré à for piccolo.
2000. (duo) for percussion and cello.
1999. gewidmet for violin.
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Improvisations
2018. Improvised duo, John Bowers and Kerry Hagan
John Bowers and I hung out in Newcastle for a few months, designing our own improvisation instruments with laptops and a variety of old, new, and off-the-shelf interfaces. Then we took some time to record a few performances. We're using chaos, cellular automata, non-linear feedback oscillators (by Bowers and Miller Puckette), and a variety of other crazies.
We're always looking for a place to hang out and make noise. If you're interested in having us come to you, or, if you're interested in joining us somewhere to make noise together, drop me a line.
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Who Was That Timbre I Saw You With?
2017. Improvised duo, Miller Puckette and Kerry Hagan
The current project of the Puckette/Hagan duo. See more here.
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plangent/perdu
2017. WFS or multichannel, Pd composition.
plangent/perdu is a real-time Pd composition inspired by the spatial possibilities afforded by WFS. There is one source sound created with the z12 algorithm (see Puckette 2015, SEAMUS) premiered in the work Cubic Zirconia (2014). However, this sound is 'invisible' throughout the majority of the piece. Instead, it is the source for 8 different resonators, all different processes that can only make sound as a consequence of an input source. At first, we hear the source sound exposed. But it soon disappears, and all we hear are the resonators responding to an unheard influence.
In my previous works, I aimed to create an immersive experience of frenetic but incoherent motion around the listener. However, WFS permits sound to move through or next to the listener. So this piece explores placing sounds in various points of space, still or moving.
Later, I needed to translate plangent/perdu for the 124 speaker system at the Cube at Virginia Tech. Both the technology and aspects of the spatial aesthetics had to change. The 8-channel version is a re-spatialized version of the Cube performance, which can be recorded to fixed media.
The title comes from the concept of the work: plangent, English for resonant or ringing, and perdu, originally a French word meaning 'lost' that was absorbed into English and changed to mean 'hidden'.
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More coming soon
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wave/particle
2017. Bass, clarinet in A, and computer.
wave/particle came about as a response to the challenge of writing for Annick Odom, a dual instrumentalist on double bass and clarinet. In working to create a unified work with such drastically different instruments, played by the same performer, images of mathematical representations of light as both wave and particle came to mind. Given the resonances between waves and particles in texture-based music, the idea for the work became a re-construction of a starting phrase. The coda of this work is an improvised phrase originally used in another composition. That phrase is deconstructed, rearranged and stretched within each section, sometimes presented as 'particles', sometimes as 'waves'. However, the deconstruction is presented in reverse, from the most remote articulation of the phrase, ending in the final reveal of the line unaltered.
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resolution
2016. 64-channel, Pd composition.
resolution was the second work I composed for the Cube at Virginia Tech. Unlike Cubic Zirconia, it has 32 independent channels assigned to multiple speakers in the Cube.
The word resolution takes on several nuances depending on its context. In literature and musical form, it means the ending of a narrative. In musical phrasing, it can mean the way in which a statement cadences. In media, resolution means the quality of the sound or image, determined by the number of bytes and the size of grain or pixel. This piece, resolution, resolves in pitch, rhythm, spatialization and granularity in one long textural change. The sounds and the piece are realized in real-time in Pd. The piece can be presented as a fixed-medium work (a studio realization) or be performed live. Ideally, the piece requires at least one tier of elevated speakers.
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Homage to Saariaho
2016. Improvised laptop composition.
Inspired by the work of Kaija Saariaho, Homage to Saariaho blends textures and long gestures using random processes and spectral information from sieves and a multiphonic flute tone. It also uses low frequency noise for different timbres.
Some of the processes are controlled by typed-in keyboard values. The performer types portions of a text taken from the liner notes of Maa in four languages discussing Saariaho's use of timbre and noise.
This piece was composed with a series of actions that control parameters of fixed and random gestures and textures. Following the score, one could perform this work as originally composed.
However, once the sounds and results of different actions become familiar, this work may be entirely improvised by the performer.
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Hack Lumps
2016. Improvised electronics by Miller Puckette and Kerry Hagan.
Hack Lumps is an improvised duo with three unstable oscillators, 72 stochastic samplers and eight loudspeakers, which form a single musical system, in which one player's influence is gestural and the other's textural. These opposing origins combine to form an intricate, inter-related instrument. Built into this instrument is a moderate degree of unpredictability and instability, so the musicians are also contending with the dynamics of the system itself. The instrument variably lends itself to making large formal shapes and disruptive, unexpected discontinuities. Real-time spatialization clarifies the sonic results and immerses the listener in the musical processes.
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s/d
2015. Real-time multichannel Pd composition.
s/d is a real-time Pd composition that continues previous threads of musical exploration while introducing new sound synthesis methods. Kerry works with "textural composition," an aesthetic that relies entirely on large, static sound masses consisting of inner details rather than perceptible sound objects. Similarly, spatialization techniques suggest high degree of sonic motility with little to no perceptible spatial trajectories or paths of sounds.
s/d utilizes an algorithm designed in collaboration with Miller Puckette, first used in Cubic Zirconia (2014). These processes are dealt with in depth in Puckette's paper, "Maximally uniform sequences from stochastic processes." (SEAMUS 2015). s/d also uses a new synthesis method developed by Miller Puckette: coupled oscillators created through non-linear feedback. By sending impulses into the oscillators, complex and rich sonorities can emerge. s/d uses 12 crafted timbres from the oscillators, which are triggered by the z12 outputs and impulse chains.
The piece follows a fixed form, where larger shapes are the unchanging scaffolding. However, random and stochastic processes make moment-to-moment decisions, meaning that each performance of the piece is unique while retaining a consistent musical identity.
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requiem
2014. B-flat clarinet and computer.
requiem was started in 2004 in Paris. For such a short work, it has probably been the most difficult to write. After living on a shelf for a few years, it was further developed in San Diego, California. Again, it mouldered on a back shelf until 2013. It was finally completed in Limerick, Ireland in 2014.
The work was originally intended as a tribute to my father, but the time it needed to grow has made it more of a musical exploration of loss and remembrance in much more general and less personal ways.
The materials and clarinet-computer interaction suggest echoes and memories of itself. The clarinet part is almost choreographed instead of notated. Specific fingerings and performance techniques are given, regardless of the resulting pitches or sounds. So different instruments will sound unique. This means that every performer will bring a particular sound to the piece. These choreographed passages are intended to act as interruptions or thin echoes of the more conventional notes. The computer part both supports the clarinet material as accompaniment and echoes the clarinet material.
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Cubic Zirconia
2014. 124-channel, fixed medium electroacoustic music.
Cubic Zirconia is a work composed specifically for the Cube at Virginia Tech.
Miller Puckette proposed an alternative to Markov chains, the z12 algorithm. z12 outputs chains of 12 numbers using percentages of previous outputs. In collaboration, Puckette and Hagan developed a synthesis method using z12. The processes are dealt with in depth in Puckette's paper, “Maximally uniform sequences from stochastic processes.” (SEAMUS 2015)
This work continues Kerry's work with textural composition, an approach to computer music aesthetics that relies on large sound masses developing intricate inner details over time with little to no gestural content. The sound object as a unit of sound is still relevant, but the object itself is a meta-object that the audience inhabits and experiences from within. Similarly, the spatialization is designed to immerse the audience in the object. It creates maximum motility without relying on trajectory-based mimetic movement.
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...of pulses and times...
2012. Real-time Pd composition.
...of pulses and times... was inspired by interactions with students at the University of Limerick. The work is an exploration of pulse-based composing using closely related metric modulations. Many aspects of the piece are created through stochastic processes, but the performer can control the parameters. The piece can also be automatically generated with one click.
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(bass)
2011. Bass.
I first met Dan Bodwell in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1992. We lost touch for many years shortly after that. One day, almost 20 years later, a Dan Bodwell was lined up to play in Limerick, Ireland. I thought: there is no way it's the same Dan Bodwell. Of course, it was. Dan asked me for a piece in 1992. I finally wrote it in 2011.
The recording of (bass) was made by Christopher Williams.
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Morphons and Bions
2011. Real-time multichannel Pd composition.
Morphons and Bions is a real-time Pd composition that explores noise-based synthesis techniques and random processes to create the impression of living mechanisms. These mechanisms live and grow independently until reaching a critical mass, when they become a single organism. The morphologically independent sounds combined with the sounds that behave together as a single organ give rise to the title. As a real-time piece, the details of each realisation changes from performance to performance. However, the consistent timbres and overall form of the work retains the piece's identity.
All sounds in the work are synthesised. The sound sources rely fundamentally on white noise and digital noise mediated by classical synthesis techniques and random processes. Since the work is built on a substrate entirely made of noise, the piece is situated within certain philosophical and aesthetic issues surrounding noise, its use, and its definition. This piece is not, however, 'noise music.' Despite the acoustic groundings in noise, the sounds exhibit harmonic and quasi-harmonic behaviors, especially as the sounds develop in the course of the work. Ultimately, the piece crosses back and forth over the thin line of “sound” and “noise,” where both are valid musical materials.
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ophelia's revenge
2007. Violin duet and computer.
The violin parts in ophelia's revenge are much like chorused lines of thought, each reaching the same conclusion in concurrent and parallel fashion. The computer presents the material from the violins as either a simultaneous reflection of the violins, slowed and examined more closely, or as distant reminiscences that, like aftershocks, fade over time. The computer does not introduce any new timbres; these thoughts come from the same mind that is coming to one, considered decision.
Commissioned by János Négyesy and Päivikki Nykter, this work for two violins and computer explores musical suspension. Through a sudden shift in material, echoed in places by the computer material, the piece runs frantically up a cliff and jumps off. The moment of time before the fall is frozen, the musical material is suspended, hovering in air.
Special thanks to Miller Puckette, Christopher Tonkin, and Ben Hackbarth for assistance and resources. The computer part was realized at the Center for Research in Computing and the Arts, UC San Diego, California.
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t.R.,m.f.a.c-c.
2002. Cello.
This piece was written for Reynard Rott.
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consacré à
2000. Piccolo.
This piece is part of the dedicated to series, including gewidmet for violin, tiomnú for clarinet, and dedicated to for Disklavier and computer.
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(duo)
2000. Percussion and cello.
(duo) is the first work where I attempted to create a non-normative experience of musical time and space. By writing for the instruments with pitches and techniques designed to blur which instrument is creating each sound, very small pitch and timbre spaces are magnified and frozen for exploration.
The piece was originally composed for Hugh Livingston and Ivan Manzanilla. The recording provided here is by Reynard Rott and Ivan Manzanilla.
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gewidmet
1999. Violin.
This piece is part of the dedicated to series, including consacré à for piccolo, tiomnú for clarinet, and dedicated to for Disklavier and computer.
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Publications
Kerry L. Hagan
Contact
Want patches in a different speaker layout? Want a recording in a different format? Need a score? Feel free to contact me.