After a relatively short career as a mechanical engineer, Michael Pounds turned his energies toward composition, studying at Bowling Green State University, Ball State University, the University of Birmingham in England, and the University of Illinois, where he completed his doctorate. He specializes in computer music composition and collaborative intermedia projects. His awards include the ASCAP/SEAMUS Student Commission Award, a Residence Prize at the Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition, a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship for studies in England, and residencies at the MacDowell Colony and I-Park. His music has been performed throughout the United States and in Canada, Mexico, England, Ireland, France, Spain, Austria, Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Recent performances include the International Computer Music Conference, the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the US National Conference, the Society of Composers, Inc. Region VI conference, and the ElectroAcoustic Barn Dance Festival. He was a co-host of the 2005 national conference of the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the U.S. Michael is the Assistant Director of the Music Media Production program at Ball State University, where he teaches composition, acoustics, music perception, recording and computer music.

Compositions

Hajiki (Pluck)



"Hajiki (Pluck) was composed using only recordings of a Japanese shamisen. It is an exploration of the various possibilities of the instrument and the sounds it can make (and many that it cannot). The piece is loosely structured around the idea of a plucked string, with it's excitation and resolution as a metaphor for life experience. Thanks to Kyoko Kidd for playing her shamisen in the recording studio.


Collection



"Collection" was created using sounds that the composer "collected" in Japan using a portable recorder. Walking around with a recorder always ready in one's pocket is a great way to study a place or culture from an aural perspective. This particular collection of recordings reveals Japan as a fascinating place with many contrasting aspects. For example, the quiet environment of a mountainside forest or a Buddhist temple differs dramatically from the often noisy and energetic urban soundscapes. In creating this composition, the composer wanted to explore these contrasts. Most of the recordings in "Collection" received only minimal processing--mainly filtering, amplitude changes and occasional reverb. At points in the piece the recordings are presented in a simple way so the listener can experience the original sonic environments directly. At other points various sounds are layered, shaped and juxtaposed to create more complex textures and gestures. The composer is particularly interested in layering sounds in different frequency ranges to create a more complex whole.