Brian Belet - Composer/Performer


Bio.:
Brian Belet lives in Hawaii (island of Oahu), with his partner and wife Marianne Bickett.

His music is recorded on the Centaur, Capstone, Frog Peak Music, IMG Media, Innova, New Ariel Recording, PARMA (Navona and Ravello imprint labels), SWR Music/Hänssler Classic, and the University of Illinois CD labels; with research published in Contemporary Music Review, Organised Sound, Perspectives of New Music, Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference, and Proceedings of the International Web Audio Conference. Belet retired from San Jose State University in 2020 as Emeritus Professor of Music, where he was named President's Scholar in 2017.
www.beletmusic.com

RECENT COMPOSITIONS

All compositions licensed through Broadcast Music, Inc. [BMI]

My Last Tape Piece, a musique concrète work using tape machine and analog synthesis sounds as source material, 2023.

Complete list of compositions found at:
www.BeletMusic.com ("Compositions" tab)

RESEARCH

"Musique Concrète Choir: An Interactive Performance Environment for Any Number of People" (co-authored with William Walker, PhD).
Proceedings of the 2016 Web Audio Conference. Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, 2016.

"Birds of a Feather (Les Oiseaux de Meme Plumage): Dynamic Soundscapes using Real-time Manipulation of Locally Relevant Birdsongs (co-authored with William Walker, PhD.
Proceedings of the 2015 Web Audio Conference. IRCAM/Mozilla Corp., Paris, France, 2015.

Complete list of research found at:
www.BeletMusic.com ("Research" tab)

Music News!

My Last Tape Piece, 2023, was performed at the 2024 New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, June 2024.

Technical Editor (with Stephen Ruppenthal) for reprint of Electronic Music: Systems, Techniques, and Controls, 2nd edition, Allen Strange, 1983. (Toronto: Responsive Ecologies Lab, Toronto Metropolitan University, 2022), 2021-22. Released June 2023.

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Compositions

My Last Tape Piece
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[Excerpt: 0:00 - 2:55]
Like most composers from my now seasoned generation, my early work within electro-acoustic music was created in the classic analog tape studio, with the imposing modular analog synthesizer as the centerpiece and multiple reel-to-reel tape machines connected in support. This was the pre-real-time era of fixed media compositions that were designed to be performed in concert via tape playback in a darkened hall. This was the wonderful hands-on era of tape music, complete with grease pencils and single-sided razor blades.

The primary sound sources for this work emanate from old analog tape machines, specifically the inherent sounds they make during routine operation (the old analog studio was a delightfully noisy place!): clicks from the primary Play/Record/Rewind control switches, machine hums, tape running through the capstan, and tape whirring and flapping at the end of the rewind/fast forward process. Additional source sounds come from some of my old analog synthesis compositions, including those that naturally degraded through years of less-than-ideal tape storage.

This musique concrète composition was constructed as a fond remembrance of my analog studio roots, treating the source sounds both seriously and playfully, starting with a careful plan and then letting the unexpected sound discoveries enter the fray, as that is how work in the analog studios often progressed. As most of the algorithms utilize stochastic processes, each live run through the program produces a unique sonic result on the micro level.
Stellar Nebulae
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[Excerpt: Movement 1]
Stellar Nebulae was composed in 2018 for Bridges, a string orchestra on Bainbridge Island, Washington, and is dedicated to Patricia Strange, founder, director, and concertmaster of that ensemble. The titles (overall and individual movements) emerged after the music was well underway, so there is no direct programmatic or poetic association intended on that level. The main title reflects my long-standing interest in astronomy, as well as in all scientific fields of exploration. Movement titles refer to the general sense of what the music is doing (or where it is going) during each of those structures. “Emergence” (Movement 1) explores active sweeping textural gestures in a pseudo perpetual motion context with tiny bits of melody almost emerging from the primordial swirl. “Contemplation” is inward looking, overall subdued with muted strings throughout, but still quite active in its own way (including several fugal sections). The music is directed towards my mother, specifically her life example and my memories of her. “Expansion” combines aspects of the first two movements, explored in new contexts as summarizing and concluding structures, with several endings that don’t end and fresh starts that expand in other directions.

Stellar Nebulae is published on the album Prisma, Vol. 4, Navona Records (PARMA Recordings: NV6298), 2020. Recorded October 23, 2019 at Artemis Concert Hall in Athens, Greece. Athens Philharmonia Orchestra, Michalis Economou, conductor.
Three by Five
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[Excerpt: Movement 1]
This three-movement work was composed for the Brass Act Quintet (Stephen Ruppenthal, Trumpet 1), who premiered the music in 2018.

I. Two Short Fugues
This double fugue (each actually a fughetta) is written as an homage to both J.S. Bach and Béla Bartók.

II. More Questions (Still Unanswered)
This slow movement is an homage to Charles Ives. The paired trumpets, muted throughout, pose the various ‘questions’ – synchronized with themselves but aesthetically detached from the low brass foundation.

III. Fugal Reflections
An homage to Guillaume de Machaut and George Crumb, this concluding movement (which includes a short fugue and a contrasting chorale) reflects off of the midpoint for a modified palindrome structure.

Three by Five is recorded on the album Brass Tacks, performed by the Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava Brass Quintet. Navona Records (PARMA Recordings: NV6428), 2022. The score is published in the SCI Journal of Music Scores, Vol. 62 (Society of Composers, Inc.), 2022.
Summer Phantoms: Nocturne
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[Excerpt: 0:00 - 2:30]
Summer Phantoms: Nocturne was composed during 2010-11 for pianist Jeri-Mae Astolfi, and the work is dedicated to her.

The piano music was composed first (mostly on flights to music festivals and touring gigs, an environment that I find most relaxing and conducive for composing), with marginal annotations for the electronics. All of the electronics are processed piano sounds (string scrapes, hand dampened tones, soundboard strikes, and a few isolated tones - performed and recorded by the composer), and are constructed as a running commentary to the piano music. Analysis/resynthesis algorithms include Spectral Analysis, Sum of Sines (SOS), and Time Alignment Utility (Tau), plus additional stochastic algorithms using the composer’s COMP2 suite of tools, all operating within Kyma.

Summer Phantoms is published on three audio CDs:
Here (and There), Jeri-Mae Astolfi, piano. Innova Records (Innova 846), 2013;
Insomnia, Kai Schumacher, piano. SWR Music/Hänssler Classic (093.334.000), 2015;
Sufficient Trouble, Keith Kirchoff, piano. Ravello Records (RR7969), 2017.