Maggi's long and winding bio
When I was nine I heard a flute. I don't remember how or where I heard it, but I do remember that the timbre of the instrument was what drew me to it. I was so fortunate that although I grew up in a small town (Amarillo, TX), my first flute teacher, Harold Gilbert, encouraged me (not that I needed encouragement) to continue my early explorations of all of those wonderful air sounds, whistle tones, humming while playing, key clicks, and so forth that beginners tend to do. I seem never to have grown out of that stage of exploration and the joy that came with it. I obtained a tape recorder at age ten and recorded everything possible, slowing down and speeding up the tape to reveal more detail while reveling in altered sounds of all kinds.
At Northwestern University Elise Ross, Daniel Stepner, Peter Takacs and I formed an improvisation group that was dedicated primarily to the exploration of timbre (voice, violin, piano, and flute). I studied with flutist Walfrid Kujala and composers Alan Stout, William Karlins, and Ted Ashford, and critic Tom Willis. I also played in professional recording sessions, learning recording engineering more thoroughly in the process. The ability to layer tracks and add effects further expanded timbral possibilities for me.
In graduate school at the University of Illinois at Urbana I got my first chance to work with electronic music in an acoustics course I took with James Beauchamp. I also worked with composers Gordon Mumma, Ben Johnston, Sal Martirano, and choreographer Al Huang, and played in the contemporary music ensemble under Ed London.
I pushed the boundaries further while at Mills College in the newly established MFA in electronic music and recording media program there, where I studied with composer Robert Ashley and Technical Director Nick Bertoni, and later had the opportunity to work with composer David Behrman.
After composing electronically generated music for several years, I turned to the acoustic world for an even richer, more constantly variable sound palette. I push these boundaries as well, so far that most sound sources are no longer identifiable, yet there is still a thin thread of a connection to the real world. Sound sources vary from tiny stepper motors to signals traveling through space to faulty faucet valves to my flute. Processes involve layering sounds, convolution, granular synthesis, time stretching, digital signal processing, and extreme equalization. I create immersive environments, inviting listeners/participants to enter the sound and be carried with it, experiencing it from the inside out in intimate detail. The sounds are almost tactile, visible, tangible. The music is based on location recordings, with each sound carefully selected for its potential—its slow unfolding revealing delicate intricacies—and its inherent spatialization architecting and sculpting the aural space All of my work is sound-driven: each grows and evolves as do crystals forming under the microscope.
I often incorporate visuals in my work, from my earlier days of electronically generated (oscilloscope, video feedback) transparencies, films, and videos to my video works of crystals growing in real time under the microscope to the abstractness of the desert (as seen from space as well as from earth) to live imagers (dancers) outfitted with vibrant electroluminescent wire (System Test (fire and ice)). Abstract visuals are analogous to timbre for me, revealing textures and details, complexity and great beauty.
I have always had an interest in interdisciplinary work and have enjoyed many collaborations across disciplines, especially collaborations with choreographers Carla Blank Reed and Jody Roberts, and video artist Ed Tannenbaum. I have also created installations involving visuals and sound. As artists-in-residence at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, Nick Bertoni and I collaborated on an elaborate flame speaker.
Although I primarily compose electroacoustic works I also enjoy composing for acoustic instruments. My compositions for flute range from solo works to a work for over fifty flutes (Aeolian Confluence, a "fixed" piece). Several instrumental works are very specifically notated, others are more flexible—a cross between graphic notation and fully notated sections, depending on what is most appropriate. Most are worked out sound by sound, event by event, but some, such as fff, are developed through improvisation. I have also written works for piano (with three eBows), three pianos (with various items inside), 2 spatially separated women's choirs, voice and piano, eight trombones, and other instrumental combinations.
Recent performances include Cinesonika, SIAT-SFU, Vancouver; Nuit Blanche, Festival Futura 2010, Crest, France; Intermedia Festival, Music and Arts Technology at IUPUI (Informatics and Communications Technology Complex at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis), IN; CHAT (Collaborations: Humanities, Arts & Technology) Digital Arts Festival, The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Concrete Toronto, 8th Annual SOUNDplay Festival; Musica Viva-Sound Walk 2009, Lisbon, Portugal; Boston Cyberarts Festival - Wired for Sound, 2009; Festival Synthese 2009 at the 39th Festival International de Musique et Creation Electroniques of Bourges, France; Athens International Film and Video Festival; San Francisco Tape Music Festival; Mid-Autumn Harvest Moon V Festival at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada; PIXILERATIONS [v.5]: Fragments & (W)holes, Providence, RI; REDCAT in LA; Sonic Residues in Stony Brook, NY; Interpretations at Roulette, NYC; An Ear to the Earth (EMF) in NYC; Electro Acoustic Review (EAR) in Dublin; LAIM & CECh & RedAsla Cycle of concerts in Santiago de Chile; College of Santa Fe Atrium; University of Virginia, Florida International University; UNCG New Music Festival (University of North Carolina at Greensboro); EMF @ Chelsea Art Museum; Arizona State University West; Toronto's New Adventures in Sound Art; the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, CEAIT at CalArts; Ought-One; Merkin Hall; "Imaginary Space," Australasian Computer Music Conference at Victoria University of Wellington; the Annual Santa Fe International Festival of Electro-Acoustic Music; Pacific Marathon III (West-Coast) at Cultuurcentrum de Oosterpoort in the Netherlands; SEAMUS, Zeppelin 2004 Festival de Arte Sonoro, Barcelona; Women of Vision series on PBS KCSM-TV; Vidarte Festival at the National Center for the Arts in Mexico City; and the Bourges Festivals. She was an Artist in Residence at the Exploratorium in San Francisco in the early 80s and Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, CA in winter, 2007/08.
Works appear on Lovely Music, Innova, Ubuibi, Starkland, and/OAR, Music and Arts, New World, MMC, Asphodel, Frog Peak, Centaur, Mills College, and Digital Narcis labels. Her work, Desertscapes, for two spatially separated women’s choruses, is available through Treble Clef Press.