microtonal music | xenharmonic music | front page news
UnTwelve, in collaboration with the Partch Quartet from Honolulu, Hawaii, is proud to present the String Quartet Initiative. In late 2020, the quartet put out a call for scores and chose works or proposals by eight contemporary composers — plus (naturally) Harry Partch — for a filmed performance in May 2021. Check out our String Quartet Initiative page for more information.
We are honored and pleased to support the work of composer and multi-instrumentalist Matthew Davis through our first Equity in Artistry Grant. Matthew is a graduate of Oberlin College, and has studied Jazz Performance and Hindustani Music. For the last decade he has performed professionally in the Chicagoland area and toured across the US and Europe. His project will "explore microtones within the concept of Hindustani Music and the 'shruti'. . . . analyze both 1) shades of pitch as it relates to the tonic “Sa” and 2) motion of pitch through the use of meends and andolean . . . . and incorporate multiple genres including Jazz, Afro-Cuban, and contemporary concepts to develop these realms of sound. " We look forward to hearing the results!
Here's a cool and casual followup interview/conversation with all the members of The Mercury Tree. This was a transcription of a recorded restaurant conversation while they were in Chicago for a show in May 2019.
UnTwelve has just launched a brand-new experimental discussion mailing list! Hopefully, we can generate some interest and at least a small community of people who want to discuss all things tuning-related, xenharmonics, musical practice, etc., in an old-skool mailing-list way. A nice alternative to the Facebook paradigm, anyway, for those that want such a thing. Searchable, too!
Happy New Year everyone! It's been a while since there has been news, but there are some cool things brewing in the background, nonetheless. One of these is of course the next iteration of our summer Xenharmonic Convergence Camp. You can check out the details here. Update: We may be adjusting our summer plans in light of the world situation. Look for a further update in early May.
On July 21st, the world lost noted microtonal composer Ben Johnston. Kyle Gann wrote a nice retrospective article on his life and work.
Approximately 10 years and one month ago (on 2009-06-06), guitarist Dante Rosati delighted our Chicago audience with a one-night only fantastic concert of his original compositions for various custom-designed re-tuned classical guitars. You can now hear the tracks from this historic concert in streaming FLAC files from our site!
The interview with The Mercury Tree has arrived!
We are wrapping up the promised Mercury Tree interview; in the meantime, check out some of the new polished work by veteran microtonal artist Jon Lyle Smith...
It already appears that April of 2019 is shaping up to be a great month, with a most significant release: The Mercury Tree's Spidermilk. Stay tuned for an upcoming interview with some members of The Mercury Tree. Hot off the press too, is a new release from Zia called Trapezoid.
Finally, check out John Moriarty's new tutorial on Pajara temperament.
We are pleased to post our invitation for in-person musical collaboration this coming August: UnTwelve's Xenharmonic Workshop and Showcase, which will happen August 4-13 this year at and around Patch Adams' Gesundheit! Institute (Hillsboro, West Virginia). Save the date! Fill out our intent to participate; take the friendliest audition ever, and let us know your thoughts, plans and dreams!
The final remaining interview from the UnTwelve 2018 Composition Competition is now up, this time with 2nd place winner Omar Peracha!
Interview with Pedram Diba is now up! Pedram won 3rd place in the 2018 Microtonal Composer Competition.
Interview with Brian Riordan is now up! Brian won first place in the 2018 Microtonal Composer Competition.
Interview with Frank J. Oteri is now up! Oteri won the 2018 Microtonal Pedagogy Award, and is a well-known composer and writer.
In a rare NYC appearance, Jacob A. Barton is performing next weekend, Saturday November 3rd at the Lethe Lounge in Manhattan. On the program (among more paucitonal offerings) are two microtonal (17-tone) world premieres composed by UnTwelve board members, Rain Lullaby by Christopher Bailey and Ebullient Vessel by Ralph Lewis. RSVP to Facebook event. Hope to see you there!
Check out the concerts from the 2018 Xenharmonic Adventures Festival. It was a fantastic experience for all who participated! The lectures will be up soon as well. concert 1 | concert 2 | concert 4 |
We now have the results of the 2018 Composition Competition! Thank you to all who entered, and to our guest judges: Charles Corey, Robin Meiksins, and Mathew Rosenblum. We hope you enjoy listening to the wide variety of unique music available on the competition page.
UnTwelve will make a Saturday, August 11th @ 5pm set appearance at Chicago's only classical music street festival, Thirsty Ears Festival! Music by Yvonne Freckmann, Christopher Bailey, Ralph Lewis, Stephen Weigel, and Aaron Krister Johnson. Performers include Robin Meiksins, Emily Mehigh, Ralph Lewis, Eric Deuce Heidbreder, Connor Thummel, Stephen Weigel, Amy Pickering, and Aaron Krister Johnson. More info is available at the Thirsty Ears Festival website
Our board member Chris Vaisvil has a page of student piano compositions in various tunings up. The pieces are designed to give anyone with modest piano skills and a MIDI keyboard capable of being retuned an opportunity to try out various non-12 tunings, and perhaps to be inspired to write their own pieces as well!
Untwelve is proud to announce the results of its call for works!
The selected pieces will be performed on Friday, September 21, 2018 at Slate Arts and Performance in Chicago by flutist (and Un12 board member) Robin Meiksins, clarinetist Emily Mehigh, bassoonist Annie Lyle Mason, and trombonist Connor Thummel.
- Micro-Etude by Jean Ahn
- Spiritus by Jessie Cox
- placing ceremony by Inti Logan Figgis-Vizueta
- One by Yvonne Freckmann
- Deflection by Paolo Griffin
- home feels...different by Colin Kohrs
- Inversion, Opus 80 by Henry Miller
- The Night of Enitharmon's Joy by Tiffany M. Skidmore
A long-awaited interview with compelling Finnish composer Juhani Nuorvala is now up! Nuorvala teaches at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, and is well-known for his beautiful and evocative work that often uses microtonal tunings and just intonation.
We are pleased to add a great event to our roster: The festival/conference known as Microtonal Adventures Festival, which will happen on May 18-20th.
The event will take place in the beautiful surroundings of the Pacific Northwest, in Bellingham Washington.
Check it out!
The 2018 International Composition Competition rules have been posted! We expect to start taking submissions within the next few days. We are excited to see what the next crop of excellent compositions will look like! This year, the theme is Béla Bartók-inspired microtonal pedagogy, ala Mikrokosmos.
We are happy to announce the arrival of a new board member, Robin Meiksins, who was approved unanimously by the current board, at the beginning of March, to join our efforts. Robin is an outstanding flutist in Chicago, and an active member of the contemporary music scene. She will be performing some solo and wind ensemble UnTwelve-commissioned microtonal works at a concert in Chicago in September of 2018. Her presence and efforts will surely help us grow and attract new interest. Welcome aboard, Robin! We are also sad to see the departure of Clem Fortuna from our board. Clem leaves due to pressing personal and professional commitments, and has been a highly valued member, due to his vast knowledge and highly visible activity on the microtonal scene for several decades. Clem will be most missed, but will surely be still engaged, but in a lower profile. Best wishes and many thanks for your work, Clem!
In an exciting interview, the creative artists behind the MikroJazz! project, Philipp Gerschlauer and Dave Fiuczynski, discuss the genesis of their innovative work together, the creative process, and their thoughts on microtonality in the music of the future.
We are please to announce a call for scores for a September 2018 concert in Chicago. The instrumentation is: flute, clarinet, bassoon, and trombone. Electronics are welcome, as is the composer appearing in their own work. This call is open to composers of any background, age, or nationality, but will prioritize works from composers who are women, non-binary, genderqueer, gender-non-conforming, or agender. You can submit for this event at our Google docs page for the call.
As promised, we have Elaine Walker in the house!
She has much of interest to say about past, present, and future projects.
Coming soon: 2 new interviews with:
- Elaine Walker (aka ZIA)
- Phillip Gerschlauer and Dave Fiuczynski, co-creators of the new MicroJazz! release
We think this video on Renaissance-era tuning is very entertaining, interesting, and informative!
The dimension of pitch in music (how high or low a certain musical sound is) remains largely tied to a standardized set of 12 notes. This is akin to a painter being stuck with only 12 standard colors.
UnTwelve is dedicated to exploring the current and historical frontiers of music beyond the 12-equal note tuning system. Our mission and vision is to commission and perform musical works which display the excitement and beauty of this frontier to both audiences and musicians.
In addition, we seek to set up musical education programs that highlight the wide-open expressive possibilities of such systems, and to promote and foster their usage by the current and next generation of musicians and composers.