Aaron Cassidy and Diego Castro Magas
University of Huddersfield, UK
The Pleats of Matter / The Matter of Pleats
Day 2, 10 November, De Bijloke Auditorium, 17:30–18:30
This presentation comprises two intertwined components—“The Pleats of Matter” and “The Matter of Pleats”—as the perspectives from both composer and performer, respectively, on the Deleuzian concept of the fold as exemplified through the case study of Aaron Cassidy’s The Pleats of Matter for solo electric guitar and electronics.
The composition The Pleats of Matter (2005–7), which takes its title from the first chapter of Deleuze’s The Fold, is a work that explores the nature of folds, bends, and pleats, and their concomitant implications of surplus, enveloping, collapsing, and obfuscation. It is a work in which overflowing trajectories of material and process collide, overlap, collapse, and slide, where strata melt and rupture and deform, and where form and shape are only the final by-product of lines folding into one another, of shapes subsumed by other shapes, of forms twisted within other forms.
The guitar itself is a folding: the interaction between finger and string and fret, the bending and wrapping of strings with the nut and bridge and tuning pegs, the folding and slackening from the tremolo bar. . . . In this work, these folds are all made independent—not so much layered as merely simultaneous. The two hands traverse the fretboard independently, freed from their conventional roles and geographies, the actions of the hands as likely to appear behind or above an already-depressed fret as below. Joining this interface between finger and string is the tremolo bar, itself bent and folded by both hands and the occasional elbow, two foot pedals that bend and shape and twist pitch and timbre, and a further array of amplification and processing modifications on two additional electronic strands.
In “The Matter of Pleats,” presented from the performer’s perspective, the fold is examined as a concept likely to inform processes of individuation of physical gesture. The fold, as an operation that projects towards two infinities (or an infinity in two directions: “pleats of matter” and “folds in the soul”), sets a context for discussing the differences between the inside and the outside of physical actions and musical objects. And given that both physical actions and musical objects become one and the same in Cassidy’s work, a paradigm shift from sonic means-end-oriented training (for example, of traditional virtuosity) is required, implying the claim that music exists not only in the exclusive realm of sound.
Aaron Cassidy is an American composer and conductor based in England since 2007. His work has been programmed by leading international contemporary music specialists including ELISION, Ensemble SurPlus, musikFabrik, EXAUDI, Ictus Ensemble, ensemble recherche, Talea Ensemble, and the Kairos, Diotima, and JACK string quartets at major international festivals and venues including Donaueschingen, Ultraschall, Warsaw Autumn, Huddersfield, Darmstadt, Gaudeamus, Dark Music Days, Bludenz, June in Buffalo, the ISCM World Music Days, Southbank Centre, Merkin Hall, Miller Theatre, Le Poisson Rouge, and Monday Evening Concerts. He has received grants and commissions from Südwestrundfunk, allerArt Bludenz, the Yvar Mikhashoff Trust for New Music, Haupstadtkulturfonds Berlin, New York Foundation for the Arts, ASCAP, the American Music Center, AHRC, British Council, and London Cultural Olympiad 2012. Recordings of his work are available on NEOS, NMC, HCR, and New Focus Records. Cassidy currently serves as Professor of Composition and Research Coordinator for Music and Music Technology at the University of Huddersfield.
Web: http://aaroncassidy.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Diego Castro Magas was born in Santiago de Chile in 1978. He started music lessons (guitar performance and music theory) under the guidance of Chilean composer Fernando Carrasco in 1992. Later, he studied guitar performance at the Catholic University of Chile with Oscar Ohlsen (diploma in guitar performance with summa cum laude in 2000) and in University Ramon Llull with Ricardo Gallén and Fernando Rodríguez (MA in guitar performance, 2005). His first solo CD was released in 2009, featuring the first published recording of Ferneyhough’s guitar duo No Time (at all) alongside brilliant Chilean guitarist José Antonio Escobar. He was Lecturer in Guitar Performance at the Catholic University of Chile between 2006 and 2012. Currently, he is a PhD student in contemporary performance at the University of Huddersfield under the supervision of Philip Thomas.