Board of directors
Aaron Krister Johnson is the founder and creative/artistic director of UnTwelve. He is also Chicago-based multi-keyboardist, teacher and composer. Ever eclectic and multi-faceted as a virtuoso keyboard artist, his experience ranges from the Western classical keyboard tradition, to folk music, and to modern electro-acoustic free improvisation. The Chicago Sun-Times called his composition 'evocative', and his keyboard improvisations have been hailed by Keyboard Magazine as "challenging and creative". His work has been hailed by Chicagocritic.com, the Chicago Tribune, the Windy City Times, and the online music journal Tokafi.com
Aaron's music has been featured several times internationally in the 60x60 project, and at Electronic Music Midwest. He has collaborated with the Fine Arts Chamber Players, The Artistic Home, Lyric Opera, Lira Ensemble, Chicago Children's Choir, Kiltartan Road Ensemble, Lakeside Shakespeare, and the International Music Foundation, among others. Aaron has appeared 12 years straight in Chicago's annual Do It Yourself Messiah, on the stages of the Harris Theatre and the Lyric Opera, keeping the massive "audience choir" together from the manual of an organ. As a "crossover" classically-inspired pianist in a Celtic setting, other appearances include Chicago Irish Fest, Milwaukee Irish Fest, and the Old Town School of Folk music. From 1998-2012, he was the pianist, organist, and choir director at Temple Sholom of Chicago, the largest Reform Jewish congregation in Chicago, and home of a historic 4-manual Wurlitzer organ.
In 2003 he started writing music and designing sound for theatrical productions. His score for The Artistic Home's production of Peer Gynt was nominated for a 2005 Joseph Jefferson award for outstanding original incidental music for a play. Other credits with AH include Petrified Forest, Clash by Night, Madwoman of Chaillot and Natural Affection, and Lakeside Shakespeare of Michigan's productions of Twelfth Night and Julius Ceasar.
His education includes the Manhattan School of Music Preparatory division, SUNY Purchase (BFA Magna Cum Laude) and Northwestern University (MFA Magna Cum Laude) for his graduate studies.
A (growing) sampling of his works (post-dismantling of his old webpage) is available here and here.
Christopher Bailey is a composer (and, occasionally, performer) of acoustic and electro-acoustic music. His interest in microtonality bloomed in the late '90s. Nowadays, he sees microtonality as a basic fact of contemporary composition in a wide variety of styles and aesthetics, similar to the fact that it is more vivid to see the world in color than in black-and-white. In 2007 Chris aided Aaron Krister Johnson in co-founding MidwestMicrofest, which has since become UnTwelve, and put up their first concert.
Born outside of Philadelphia, PA, Christopher Bailey's first ambition was to take over the world with an army of robots of his own devising. He quickly discovered that this would take too much work, though, and so he turned to music composition in his late 'teens, studying first at the Eastman School of Music, and later at Columbia University.
Recent performances of his music occurred in Taiwan, Germany, Montreal, New York, Chicago, Miami, New Orleans, Houston, Minneapolis, and in Seoul, Korea, where he was a 2nd-Prize recipient in the International Composers Competition. Other awards include prizes from BMI and ASCAP, and the Bearns Prize. For more information, mp3's, software, and fun, informative and interactive paraphernalia, see his webpage..
Richard E. Lange currently Co-Directs Friends Of The Arts, a Chicago based fine arts support organization that helps emerging artists establish themselves in the Chicago art scene. He has a B.A. degree in Music and German as well as a M.Ed. in Educational Administration. He studied organ as well as liturgical musicology in Heidelberg, Germany, and wrote church hymns in high school for a local parish. He has a M.Ed. in educational administration and a M.S. in elementary education. Richard is also an adjunct instructor at National-Louis University where he teaches graduate courses on teacher education and supervises student teachers at the high school level. Having organized dozens of group art shows in the Chicago area, he brings a rich background of fine arts administration knowledge to our board of directors.
" I attended my first microtonal music concert at the invitation of Aaron in the fall of 2007. I was totally mesmerised and wanted to learn more about how these rich sounds of musical notes are composed. I was offered a position on the board and have been exited ever since to play a role with helping to move the goals and objectives of the organization forward. It was honored to have a part with organizing our August 2008 concert at a brand new venue in Evanston. I look forward to future enriching experiences and remaining an active board member."
Jacob A. Barton started composing at age 5, which, along with his parents' unwavering support, made it possible to release a 10-year retrospective album at age 15. He has studied composition with Kurt Grossman, BJ Leidermann, Timothy Bandy, Andrey Kasparov, Karim Al-Zand, Kurt Stallmann, Edward Applebaum, and Arthur Gottschalk. He has a Bachelor of Music degree from Rice University. He received a BMI Student Composer Award in 2006 for composing Xenharmonic Variations on a Theme by Mozart for microtonal player piano.
Jacob tends to write music for his friends and/or himself to play. He plays piano reluctantly, and many wind instruments wishing they could do microtones more easily. He avidly collects odd musical instruments and hoards raw materials for making new ones. One such instrument is the "udderbot", a slide bottle discovered in 2005.
He has performed in New York, Houston, and Ann Arbor in An Exciting Event, an ensemble which takes microtonality as seriously as it takes puppetry and round-singing. He has participated in the Garden Performance Project, a series of workshops and concerts which elicit and present new local musics among neighbors, and the School for Designing a Society, a project for making formulation, especially formulation of desires, relevant to now (and vice versa).
Jacob's interest in microtonality is driven by its persistent (and juicy) problems: What is it, exactly? Who notices and who doesn't and why? What can I make out of it? How can the difficult bits become easy? And then what happens? To pursue these questions socially, Jacob has started such projects as Thirty-one Tone Singing Camps, the Seventeen Tone Piano Project, the Xenharmonic Wiki, and Make Microtonal Music Day.
Chris Vaisvil grew up as a south side Bridgeport Chicagoan. He was educated at South Suburban College and Governor's State University and holds degrees in Music and Chemistry.
Chris became interested in microtonal music when his music theory teacher mentioned in passing that at one time F sharp and G flat were not the same note and later that the composer Charles Ives was guided into quartertone music by his father who built contraptions for exploring "notes in the cracks between the keys of the piano". Unfortunately, exploring non-twelve music in a twelve equal world was not an easy task. Until personal computers arrived. Chris' first microtonal pieces were performed on computer using a program called a "tracker" that was bent to do something it wasn't made to do - make microtonal music - by the brute force method of loading and tuning by ear samples of classical guitar in 22 note per octave tuning. This satisfying microtonal experience led to further computerized microtonal solutions. Presently Chris composes in a variety of tunings using computers to re-tune normal instruments or samples and also builds his own instruments to further explore microtonality. Chris' compositions have been performed in Chicago, New York and other cities across the world with the Vox Novus 60x60 Untwelve mix, the 60x60 International mix and the Vox Novus Composer's Voice series. Chris has performed in Urbana IL; Kokomo IN; Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and the greater Chicago area, and maintains an active internet presence. See www.chrisvaisvil.com for music and more information.
Chris' interest in microtonality is one of discovering new emotional expression and intellectual exploration of a the many possibilities that microtonal tunings provide. Chris' perspective is that tuning should be simply another choice a composer can make just like the other more conventional choices a composer makes, such as which instruments and tempo to compose in. To make this happen the ability to tune to something other than the western hegemony of 12 equal has to be made easy to do, easy to understand and most importantly be used to make music that inspires others to explore the vast possibilities of microtonality.
Bruce Hamilton (b. 1966) composes and performs music in a variety of genres. His music is published by Non Sequitur Music and can be heard on the Albany, Amaranth, and/OAR, black circle, blank space, Capstone, Ilse, [ink | fuel], Linear Obsessional, Memex, Phill, SEAMUS, Spectropol, split-notes, Three Legs Duck and Mark labels.
Hamilton's creative output is eclectic, exploring multiple styles and genre hybrids. He has received honors, awards and commissions from ALEA III, AMC, ASCAP, PAS, Barlow Endowment, Carbondale Community Arts, Indiana University, Jerome Foundation, National Society of Arts and Letters, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Whatcom Symphony, Russolo-Pratella Foundation, and SEAMUS. Recent performances of his music have included those at the NWEAMO Festival, ICMC, Friends of Rain, Electronic Music Midwest, JMU Contemporary Music Festival, New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, and the Percussive Arts Society International Convention.
Recently completed commissions include Attractors (piano, vibes & electronic sound-2013) for Iktus+; Night Trips (percussion duo & electronic sound-2012) for Drumartica; Motion Stasis (drum set & electronic sound-2012) for Wesley Stephens; and Hennecker's Ditch Fantasy (acousmatic text-sound-2014) for The News Agents on Resonance FM. Over the past nine years Hamilton has performed laptop-based electroacoustic music under various monikers at the Decibel Festival, Hempfest, Sonarchy Radio, and other venues around the Pacific Northwest. His most recent full-length albums are drams, released on Linear Obsessional (UK) in December 2012, Compulse (as Skiks), released on split-notes in October 2011; and mash hits vol. 1, released on Spectropol in January 2012. A new ambient album is set for release in summer 2014.
A graduate of Indiana University (BM, MM, DM), Hamilton is Associate Professor of Music at Western Washington University, where he teaches music theory, composition, and directs the electroacoustic music studio (WWEAMS). He is a co-organizer of the Bellingham Electronic Arts Festival, a board member of Make.Shift and the Washington Composers Forum, and runs the Spectropol netlabel. Hamilton lives in Bellingham with composer Lesley Sommer and their son Miles.
Clem Fortuna is a composer, musician, and piano technician. Born in Detroit, MI in 1957, Fortuna is a self taught classical pianist, playing since the age of 11. His microtonal exploration begin in the 1980’s when he formed the 5 piece quasi- world music band World 48, which played in a Seven Equal or Siamese tuning. Other groups included the sextet Xenharmonic Gamelan, and an ongoing duo with singer Jennie Knaggs doing original songs in Just Intonation and other tunings.
Though Fortuna considers piano the only instrument he plays somewhat well, he has dabbled and performed on violin, flute, organ, vibraphone, glass harmonica, pedal steel guitar, accordion, recorder, crumhorn, washtub bass, and others. He has also built instruments including several xenharmonic xylophones and zithers.
Fortuna has been working to introduce microtuning to musicians around Detroit for the last 25 years. He has conducted workshops, been a guest lecturer for university music students, and organized a microtonal concert. His compositions have been played in various venues around Detroit, including a 2015 commission for New Music Detroit using 5, 10 and 15 tone tunings.
Generally favoring live performance and acoustic sounds, Fortuna has hauled a small acoustic piano to gigs rather than use an electronic keyboard. He hopes to join the 21st century some day and get more proficient at using his computer to create music. His greatest aspiration is to find a way to “un-twelve” the masses of guitar players whose frets lock them into a single tuning paradigm.
Ralph Lewis (b. 1986) is a composer whose work seeks meeting points between sonorous music and arresting noise, alternative tunings and timbre, and the roles of performer and audience. Recent performances of his work include the premiere broadcast of “Penelope’s Endless Book of Magic,” a radio serial opera for all ages during an artist residency at WGXC’s Wave Farm, Radiophrenia Glasgow’s broadcast of “Drive to the Edge,” the Chicago premieres of “Ruckus from the Quiet Zone” and “I Was On the Side of the Highway” at Slate Arts Gallery, and the premiere of “social pressures on the moon” during the 2016 Fresh Inc Festival.
In addition to composing, Lewis pursues opportunities to share the joy of contemporary music in inclusive community spaces with All Score Urbana, a Kickstarter-funded monthly community composition workshop held at Urbana Free Library, and Radio Monster Party, an electroacoustic music education radio program for children this summer at WGXC.
Lewis is currently studying with Erin Gee as a doctoral student in Music Composition at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, previously studying Music Composition (M.A.) and Electronic Music (M.F.A.) at Mills College, Music Composition (B.M.) at Oberlin Conservatory, and Classical Civilization (B.A.) at Oberlin College.
Previous honors include commissions from WGXC 90.7-FM, the Rogue Trio, the Music for People and Thingamajigs Festival, Xenharmonic Praxis Summer Camp, Willie Winant for the Mills College Percussion Ensemble, and WOBC 91.5-FM, and has had artist residencies at the Banff Art Center and WGXC’s Wave Farm. He has participated in Master Classes with composers including Alvin Lucier, Christian Wolff, Julia Wolfe, and David Lang, as well as readings with the Eclipse Quartet.