Dary John Mizelle


Innova 309



Dary John Mizelle (born 6.14.40 Stillwater Oklahoma)studied trombone theory and composition in California (B.A. Sacramento StateUniversity, MA UC Davis, PhD UC San Diego). Mentors include Larry Austin,Richard Swift, Jerome Rosen, Karlheinz Stockhausen, David Tudor, RogerReynolds, Robert Erickson, Pauline Oliveros and Kenneth Gaburo. One of the NewMusic Ensemble (the first free group improvisation ensemble) and and a foundingmember of SOURCE Music of the Avant Garde magazine, he has specialized in the sonicand structural aspects of contemporary compositional practice. He works withelectronic/computer/concrete materials, chamber, solo instrumental, largeemsemble, choral, orchestra, opera and experimental combinations. He performson the trombone, trumpet, shakuhachi, voice, performance art, jazz andintermedia idioms, and conducts. A prolific composer with over 300 works forall media, he is currently engaged in the QUANTA project with visual artistJack Ox in both virtual reality (to open in Linz, Aurstia in 1999) and concertperformance (large orchestra, chorus and vocal soloists in Dresden,Germany in2000). His works have been performed locally, nationally and internationallysince the sixties. He teaches theory, composition, orchestration and world musicat Purchase College SUNY where he serves as head of the composition area. Hemakes his home in Mountaindale, New York. Dr. Mizelle's works were presented ina 25-year retrospective concert at Symphony Space in 1988 to critical acclaim,where he was compared with Ives, Cage, Messien, Bartok, and Xenakis. He islisted in Baker's International Dictionary of Music and Musicians and theGroves Dictionary of American Music and Musicians. He invents and buildselectronic and acoustical instruments and makes sculptures, and visual arts invarious media. His works are published by Composer Performer Edition, LinguaPress and Mizelle Publications: they are recorded on the Furious Artisans,Irida, Lumina and Nataraja labels.


MargaretLeng Tan

 Margaret LengTan is one of the worldŐs foremost new-music pianists. A leading exponent ofJohn CageŐs music, and the toy piano "diva", Tan is "a keyboardvirtuoso like no other (who) turned toys into art" (San FransiscoChronicle). Her recording "The Art of the Toy Piano" (PointMusic/Universal) received major media coverage, appeared on many Top Ten listsand was one of the 25 best-selling Classical Crossover albums of 1998.


TheOberlin Percussion Group/Michael Rosen

 The OberlinPercussion Group is a variable-sized group of percussionists. With a uniquecollection of Instruments and virtually unlimited rehearsal time, the OPG hasdeveloped performance expertise and ensemble cohesion, which is very rare inthe field of percussion music. While concentrating on the very newest music,they also continue to perform the works of earlier composers. The personnel forSoundscape is: Frank Balluffl, John Beck, Peter Cooper, Graham Johns, JohnJutsum, John Kennedy, Gregg Linde, Charles Wood, percussion and Michael Rosenconductor.


Michael Rosen is a former Student of Charles Owen and JackMcKenzie. From 1966-72 he was principal percussionist with the MilwaukeeSymphony. He is best known as a marimba soloist and has performed extensivelyIn both Europe and the U.S. Presently he is Associate Professor of Percussionat Oberlin Conservatory where, in addition to teaching, he conducts the OberlinPercussion Group.



 Brad Carbonegraduated from the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College in May of 1998.Since graduation, he has been playing for numerous theatre companies,orchestras and contemporary music groups in and around the greater New Yorkarea. Some include: Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, NY, Weston PlayhouseTheatre Co. in Weston, VT. The Ethos Percussion Group, The New Music ConsortŐs"Pulse" percussion ensemble and the Talujon Percussion Quartet. Inthe fall of 2000 he will begin his studies for the Masters degree at the AaronCopland School of Music at Queens College, CUNY.




 Metalsong IIwas written at the request of Margaret Leng Tan after hearing my instrument thealumiphone, used in the New York premiere of Winter Suite in the summer of1997. I composed Metalsong as a virtuoso piece for toy piano and alumiphone inwhich the performer is asked to make rapid changes in color and instrumentaltechnique. Never having written for the toy piano, I began by planning astructure and composing some keyboard music. In the course of our work, itbecame clear that I would have to approach this piece as a solo percussionwork, and I made a new beginning, with a happy result. Metalsong is a part ofSPANDA, a complex of 198 compositions designed with a coherent macroformlasting 13 days the composition of which was begun in 1989, and is still inprogress. The title derives from the sound world of the composition, whichconsists mainly of the sound of plastic hammers and mallets striking metalrods. Metalsong II is dedicated to Margaret Leng Tan.




 Soundscapewas composed for the Oberlin Percussion Group and the collection of percussionInstruments at the Oberlin Conservatory, augmented by several of my own.Soundscape is a six-movement work for percussion ensemble composed during thesummer of 1976. The first five movements exhibit essentially differentapproaches to rhythm, structural process, and timbre. The sonic materials foreach of these five movements are derived directly from different materialsubstances; Metal, Skin, Wood, Earth, Glass.

 Thestructural processes of these movements are reflective of universal shapeswhich can be realized in any musical parameter.


 . < Growthprocess


II. > Decay process


III. <> Growth and decay process


IV. >< Decay and growth process


V. –––Stasis: process of no change


The rhythms of each of the first live movements followessentially different processes of organization.


 1.) Modalrhythm based on two cycles: 18 beats arranged as 3,1,1,1,1,3,1,1,1,2,2 and 21beats arranged as 3,3,5,2.4,4. Toward the end of the movement these two cyclesare integrated several different levels of organization.

 2.) Metricalrhythm realized in cross-rhythmic structures (some as complex as 13:17:19:23).Prime numbers are used in realizing this process.


3.) Free rhythm at the microstructural level; the overallduration is controlled in a general way.


4.) Rhythm used texturally. Each part has an independentpolyrhythmic cell which is subjected to an additive-subtractive process whichdetermines the form. The central section using struck stones utilizesunequal-lengthened periods, which come into synchronization at the exact centerof the movement.


 5.) Nodetermination of microrhythm, but exactly timed macrorhythm.


6.) The sixth and final movement accomplishes anIntegration of the timbres, structural processes and rhythmic processes of theFirst five movements: this results in a complex spiral structure.


I think of this piece as an extension of the ancientChinese idea that associates the timbre of various instruments with thematerials out of which they are made. Each movement is designed to be performedin a different area of the performance space, and this idea is reflected in therecording and mixing techniques used.




 Pi/Grace grewout of improvisations I made in San Diego during 1971 with percussionist RonGeorge, who was fond of placing resonant metal instruments on timpani heads sothat the drums would act like an acoustical amplifier for the metal sounds. Theearliest versions of the score were simple colored drawings showing the motionof the timpani pedals and the piece was often performed in the dark with laserillumination of the instruments. I composed the present score in early 1972 andscored it for two percussionists; it was premiered in 1973 at the University ofSouth Florida in Tampa. I developed the solo version heard on this CD withpercussionist Brad Carbone and it represents a unique realization of the score.Unlike most of my percussion music, Pi/Grace contains very few loud sounds andexists somewhere between "normal" acoustical percussion music andlive electronic music using amplified small sounds. The title refers to an IChing hexagram, which speaks of "beauty of form".




 Samadhi wascomposed in 1978 and realized using the Hybrid Studio at the Oberlin CollegeConservatory. The synthesis system in this studio consisted of a digitalsynthesizer designed and built by the Italian computer scientist Sergio Franco,and a DEC PDP8 minicomputer which controlled the synthesizer throughprogramming commands entered through the switch register. The musie attempts todepict the state of Samadhi or the blissful state when the mind is quietedthrough yogic concentration. I had read about this state in the fourteenthchapter of Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramalmsa Yogananda. The form of thecomposition is the hourglass shape with longer sections at the extremes andshorter sections in the middle. The work was premieded at the InternationalComputer Music Festival in 1978 held at Northwestern University in Chicago.


Mizelle's imaginative use of timbre sustains [thelistener's] interest...thesound is excellent."John Story,Fanfare Magazine, Nov/Dec 2000


"Soundscape " is like a percussion thesaurus. The whole record is quitebrilliant." Lukas Foss, Composer,Conductor


"I have always found [Mizelle's] writing to be imaginative, deep-probingand, without question, challenging and original." Kenneth Gaburo,Composer, Publisher


"Polyphonies I... combines the remarkable reathsounds possible on the Japanese shakuachi with an equally remarkable set ofelectronic sounds." TomJohnson, The Village Voice


"...just beautiful, just beautiful." John Cage,Composer


'....an heir to the experimental, spiritual tradition of Ives andCage....' Kyle Gann, Village Voice


"....a shrewd and imaginative manipulator of sound..." Bernard Holland, NewYork Times


"Welive in an era which has as ethical imperative the careful and consciousallocation of energy and resources, beginning with our own. We are part of amusical community that is seemingly aesthetically tired and often paralyzed inits capacity to assert judgement. What we decide to hear -- and not hear --defines our values. We choose our music carefully because we feel it hasmeaning worthy of advocacy and contemplation, and because its appearancefulfills a need in the community. The music of Dary John Mizelle has for too longbeen underground.His steadfast individuality has no doubt served the integrity of his music, butit is timefor his work to receive a broader dissemination. What we hear in his considerable output ofover 300 compositions is music of protean diversity, but unmistakbly his own.It embraces western and eastern traditions, and acoustic and electronicinstruments, with an ease and purity that makes it all seem natural. Mizelle's roots are many, and haveserved him well in forging his own voice. In the western composer in him, thereare shades of Bartok, Messiaen, and Xenakis. His works are designed with acareful sale of macro- and micro-structure, with large-scale and internalrhythms derived from eastern music and American jazz, and with a mathematicalexactitude and concern for detail. Yet within such careful archetecture,Mizelle often gives his performers room to move about or improvise, and toestablish their own sense of space and time. Mizelle takes care to see that thecomplexity and structure of his music mirrors the complexity and structure ofnature: elegance of design co-exists with fortuity. In a work such as LAKE -MOUNTAIN - THUNDER, Mizelleis a landscape artist, exhibiting a reverence for sound and its placement. Heexpands our sense of space and time, and takes us to a vista of the naturalworld where we may experience a revelation of the designs, processes, andsounds he so loves.Dary JohnMizelle is one of our most important composers. We find his music, and where ittakes us, to be essential." JohnKennedy and Charles Wood, Directors of Essential Music