in Live Electronics

Alfonso Belfiore, Mara Helmuth, Sergio Kafejian,

Cort Lippe, Paola Lopreiato and Jorge Sosa




           in live electronics



Prelude                                                           5:56    

Duo                                                                5:43

Concerto                                                      9:23

Cort Lippe /Esther Lamneck


Irresistibile Flux                                            10:43

Mara Helmuth /Esther Lamneck


Con forze che si svolgono sferiche             10:31

Paola Lopreiato/Esther Lamneck


Construção                                                      7:09

Sergio Kafejian/Esther Lamneck


Enchantment                                                 9:48

Jorge Sosa/Esther Lamneck  


Quanti di luce e suono

Alfonso Belfiore/Esther Lamneck                12:01  


                                               total:               71:16






The music for tárogató and electronic music presented in this recording project is a result of my collaborations with composers who have worked in computer music composition throughout their careers. The most fruitful and rewarding experiences for me during my career have been my collaborations with composers. All of the tárogató music has been originally generated by me. The works have evolved over several seasons and numerous performances which have provided me with an intricate knowledge of the sonic possibilities of the pieces.


In this album, each composer has designed a musical world which reacts to what I play by triggering electronic sounds which then influence the direction of my improvisational composition. In the works which are exclusively designed in live real time, I have the freedom to explore an undetermined musical space and time. All of these musical environments have propelled me to use the extreme sonic possibilities of the tárogató.


The tárogató is a single reed woodwind instrument with a hauntingly beautiful sound. It is originally a folk instrument from the regions of Hungary and Romania whose music has been handed down aurally. Folk music has greatly influenced my style of improvisation as have other improvisation genres and many contemporary music composers. This album contains references to more primitive folk music, along with folk art and gypsy melodies which are woven throughout. The instrument provides a rich sound, full of harmonics and has allowed me to broaden the range of the instrument including another octave of high harmonic material above its standard range. Because of the key structure it is possible to explore glissandi throughout much of the body of the instrument. The structure allows for the exploration of “new techniques” which are not possible to such an extent on the clarinet nor on other woodwind instruments with extensive key mechanisms.


From the provocative works created with Cort Lippe, to the mesmerizing journey I explored with Belfiore, each composer provides a different and unique electronic music environment.


Esther Lamneck Clarinet and Tárogató

The New York Times calls Esther Lamneck “an astonishing virtuoso”. She has appeared as a soloist with major orchestras, with conductors such as Pierre Boulez, with renowned chamber music artists and an international roster of musicians from the new music improvisation scene. A versatile performer and an advocate of contemporary music, she is known for her work with electronic media including interactive arts, movement, dance and improvisation. Ms. Lamneck makes frequent solo appearances on clarinet and the tárogató at music festivals worldwide. She is recognized for her collaborative work with composers on both the clarinet and the tárogató in creating electronic music environments for improvisation. Many of her solo and Duo CDs feature improvisation and electronic music and include “Cigar Smoke”; “Tárogató”; “Winds Of The Heart”; “Genoa Sound Cards”; “Intentions”; “Tornado Project” ; “Stato Liquido” etc. Computer Music Journal calls her “The consummate improvisor.” Musica Jazz, [“the microtonal richness of the sound of the tárogató is exceptional’] ALIAS, [“ of pure poetry, of incantation, of true dialogue.”] Dr. Lamneck is a full professor at New York University's Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions and is artistic director of the NYU New Music Ensemble, an improvising flexible group which works in electronic settings using both fixed media and real time sound and video processing.


Cort Lippe studied composition and computer music with Larry Austin, and followed composition and analysis seminars with various composers, including Boulez, Donatoni, K. Huber, Koenig, Messiaen, Penderecki, Stockhausen, and Xenakis. He spent three years at the Instituut voor Sonologie working with G.M. Koenig and Paul Berg, three years at Xenakis’ studio CEMAMu, and nine years at IRCAM. His compositions have received numerous international prizes, been performed at major festivals worldwide, and are recorded on more than 30 CDs. His research includes more than 35 peer-reviewed publications on interactive music, granular sampling, score following, spectral processing, FFT-based spatial distribution/delay, acoustic instrument parameter mapping, and instrument design. He has been a long-term visiting professor at universities/conservatories in Japan, Denmark, Austria, Greece, and the USA, and since 1994 he has taught in the Department of Music of the University at Buffalo, where he is an associate professor of composition and director of the Lejaren Hiller Computer Music Studios.


The compositions Prelude, Duo, and Concerto (2014) comprise a trilogy of collaborative, improvisational pieces for tárogató and interactive computer system. These pieces evolved over the course of concerts and recording/editing sessions, in a variety of locales, including Corfu, Potenza, and Montreal, between the years 2009 and 2014.  Esther’s imaginative and masterful approach to the tárogató, with its unusual tuning and unique timbral possibilities, offered us a practically unlimited source of rich musical and sound material for development. As the computer tracked parameters of the tárogató, such as pitch, amplitude, spectrum, density, rests, articulation, tempi, etc., the information was used to trigger specific electronic events and continuously control the computer sound output by directly controlling digital synthesis and compositional algorithms in real-time. Thus, Esther was able to interact with the computer, not simply triggering, but continuously shaping the computer output, while I performed on the computer, musically reacting to Esther’s playing and the computer responses to her playing. Some of the sounds in the electronic part come directly from the tárogató, so that certain aspects of the musical and sound material for the instrumental and electronic parts are one and the same. Stored sound material, other than the tárogató, is also manipulated via a variety of techniques. The digital synthesis algorithms focus on frequency domain processing, as well as more standard time-based processing such as harmonizing, delay, frequency shifting, phasing, reverberation, spatialization, etc. In Prelude the computer accompanies the tárogató as it “tunes up”, not unlike the first section of a Baroque French overture. In Duo the tárogató develops a melodic figure in more and more detailed fashion in a duet with the computer, while in Concerto the relationship between the tárogató and computer is more akin to a Concerto with the computer serving an orchestral function, and Esther as virtuoso soloist. These pieces are dedicated to Robert Rowe, whose work in interactive music continues to inspire us. CL


Mara Helmuth composes music often involving the computer, and creates multimedia and software for composition and improvisation. Her recordings include “Lifting the Mask” on Sounding Out! (Everglade), Sound Collaborations, (CDCM v.36, Centaur CRC 2903), Implements of Actuation (Electronic Music Foundation EMF 023), and works included on Open Space CD 16 and the 50th Anniversary University of Illinois Experimental Music Studios commemorative collection. Her music has been performed internationally at conferences, festivals and arts spaces. She is Professor of Composition at the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati and Director of the CCM Center for Computer Music. She holds a D.M.A. from Columbia University, and earlier degrees (M.M., B.A.) from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her software for composition and improvisation has involved granular synthesis, wireless sensor networks, user interfaces, performance over Internet2, and contributions to the RTcmix music programming language. MH


Irresistible Flux (2014) was inspired by Hungarian folk music as played by the rich-sounding tárogató which digitally manipulates the source material to create an expanded environment. Mara Helmuth and Esther Lamneck collaboratively created the work as it evolved over several years. The composer used granular synthesis software and MaxMSP patches with RTcmix scripts to create diverse transformations of the source sounds in real time. Delays, reverberation, granulation and complex windowing expand the already powerful and expansive tárogató’s sound into dynamic and timbrally-defined environments. This work has been performed in Athens (the International Computer Music /Sound and Music Computing Conferences 2015), New York (the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival 2014) and at the Electroacoustic Barn Dance in Fredericksburg, VA. The recording was done at Mary Washington University in November 2014.


Paola Lopreiato is a part time PhD student in New Media Art at the University of Plymouth.
She received an MPhil in composition from the University of Sheffield. Her work has been performed in the UK at the University of Chester and of Bournemouth, Sheffield Drama Studio, Belfast SARC, University of Plymouth; in the U.S.A . at SEAMUS, New York City Electro acoustic Music Festival, NYU, Stedman Art Gallery NJ; in Greece at the Corfu Academia Yonica, Cephalonia ICAC gallery, Athens the Athenian I-Club and ICMC; in Mexico at Fonoteca National; in Slovenia Ljubljana ICMC; in Australia Perth ICMC; in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro CAC4; in Turkey Istanbul, the Halka project; in South Africa Johannesburg Fak’ugesi conference; ISEA conference-HONG KONG; and CAIROTRONICA-CAIRO, Obras foundation Portugal. Her research interests include multisensoriality, acoustics, new technology and virtual reality. She is production manager of the Multimedia festival "Diffrazioni" in collaboration with the Cherubini Conservatory of Florence. (


Con Forze Che Si Svolgono Sferiche

with forces that evolve spherically is a composition that emphasizes the awareness of the importance of a soul launched in the adventure of life. The sounds are processed and altered using unexpected effects, broken, complicated by particular resonance, forced breaks; in an attempt to bridle the energy in music. The vital impulse that filters through the musical structure is fragmented by the explosion of unquenchable energy. PL


Sergio Kafejian earned his Masters from the Brunel University (London), PhD from UNESP and is currently conducting Postdoctoral Research at NYU Steinhardt as a Composer in Residence with the NYU New Music Ensemble under the artistic direction of Esther Lamneck. Sergio Kafejian has won numerous composition prizes including Concurso Ritmo e Som (1994 and 1998) and the Bourges International Electroacoustical Music Contest (1998 and 2008). In 2008 his piece “...Gritei, e o pássaro do equilíbrio perfeito apenas mexeu o rabo...” won first prize at the Gilberto Mendes Contest for Orchestra. In 2009 he received support from FUNARTE for two important projects related to Brazilian soundscapes and in 2015 he was awarded the Classical Composition Prize from FUNARTE. Since 2001 Kafejian, has been a faculty member at Santa Marcelina College, teaching composition, electroacoustic music and contemporary music. Sergio Kafejian has served as artistic director of the Brazilian Contemporary ensemble Camerata Aberta from 2010 to 2015. During this period the ensemble has performed more than 40 concerts in Brasil and has performed in EUA (2010, 2011 and 2014), Belgium (2012), Holland (2012) and Portugal (2015).


Construção is a collaborative work involving the composer’s research into machine interactive systems and Esther’s work in compositional improvisation. The interactive system built by Sergio Kafejian was modeled for Esther Lamneck’s performance on the tárogató. One of the main ideas underlying this research is that a composition can occur simultaneously in the system’s routines and in the musician’s architectural propositions. The machine changes its behavior according to what and how the player performs and at the same time coordinates the recording of live material, with playing live-recorded and pre-recorded material. Esther's performance determines the form and content of the composition based on exchanges with the parameters and routines of the patch. The result is a collaborative composition in which the conditions established by Sergio Kafejian during the system development are molded by the sounds and time structural thinking of Esther while performing. Sergio’s research has been made possible through the support of Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo/FAPESP (São Paulo Research Foundation), proc. No 2016/15484-1.


Jorge Sosa is a Mexican-born composer currently residing in New York. Dr. Sosa's first full- length opera, “La Reina,” commissioned by the American Lyric Theater (ALT), was selected for the Fort Worth Opera 2015 Frontiers Festival. In 2014 Jorge’s operatic setting of Man Ray’s film “L’Etoile de Mer” was premiered in Kansas City by the Black House Collective, receiving critical acclaim. In 2012, Jorge was commissioned to write “Song of the Last Crossing”, which was included in the “Opera America Songbook”. His “Trés Sonetos de Quevedo” for soprano and guitar quartet were recently released by the Cuarteto de Guitarras de la Ciudad de México in their CD “A 5”. Jorge’s “Refraction I” was included in the CD “Quirk” by clarinetist Mauricio Salguero.  Jorge’s CDs  “Plastic Time” and “Enceladus” are available on all the major music download sites and through the website


Dr. Sosa has served as composer in residence with the NYU New Music Ensemble for several seasons. He is currently Assistant Professor of music at Molloy College in Long Island.

Enchantment is a collaborative composition for tárogató and computer by Esther Lamneck and Jorge Sosa. The work uses a Max/Msp patch, which contains a fixed back track and a suite of effects that are applied to the tárogató in real time. The piece is improvisatory in nature and allows Esther to draw on her knowledge of Hungarian folk material, while Dr. Sosa adds effects in real time. There is a musical dialogue between the performers as they react to each other. “Enchantment” was premiered and recorded during the “Diffrazioni Festival” in 2014 in Florence, Italy.


Alfonso Belfiore is chair of electronic music and coordinator of the department of music and new technology at the Conservatory "Luigi Cherubini" in Florence. He was the president of the "Institute of International Art and Technology" and Artistic Director of "Progetto Fortissimo". For several years, he actively took part in research, as employer of the National Council of Research, in the Department of musical information technology. In this context he realized his first work of computer music with the system "TAU2" (1977-1982), a special prototype designed and constructed especially for the research in the domain of sound synthesis by the institutes of the C.N.R. His musical works are regularly performed at international music festivals and music conferences.


“Quanti di luce e suono” is the result of the long standing artistic collaboration which Esther Lamneck and Alfonso Belfiore have enjoyed throughout the years. It is written for the tárogató and for both interactive sound and video. Every performance is unique as a result of the realtime interaction of the performer to the live audio and visual processing. The principal focus of this multimedia work is to reveal the distribution of energy generated by the acoustic spectrum of the tárogató. The sound is captured digitally and broken into fragments which are repositioned in different times and spaces as are quanti di energia, which has inspired the title of the work. The performer is free to create the sonic material which is then processed via algorithms designed using the software, Max/Msp and Jitter. The result is an enticing production of delicate colors, hues and varying shades of sound possibilities.




Recording engineer: Alfonso Belfiore

Mastered by Greg Reierson at Rare Form


A special thank you to each composer for their engineering expertise.


This album has been funded in part by the NYU Research Development Fund.


Photos: José Pita Juárez (Lamneck),

Alfonso Belfiore (instrument images)


Innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation.

Philip Blackburn, director, design

Chris Campbell, operations director

Tim Igel, publicist