December 5th: Brooks De Wetter-Smith

Brooks de Wetter-Smith, James Gordon Hanes Distinguished Professor of Music Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Brooks de Wetter-Smith combines his flute genius with his acquired photography artistry in an improvised work performed live at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 2017. dia-METRICS explores new sonic spaces which are improvised to relate to the extreme contrasts of deserts and rainforests presented in the video. Those contrasting climates have a nearly primal impact on the senses. Time stops. All feels strange, and we experience a level of emotional disorientation. Toward that end, the music traverses a landscape that does not rely on traditional western pitch relationships of half and whole steps. The subtle but steady, undeniable changes in our natural environment find voice in the subtle and seeming instability of pitches. Non-western cultures often create within this micro-tonal plane, which can seem foreign to those steeped in traditional pitch content. This performance is totally improvised by the four musicians (flutes, alto saxophone, digital and analog sound generation), but interweaves its sonic impressions with the more familiar tone of the video, created by flutist Brooks de Wetter-Smith. dia-METRICS begins with a brief Prologue, followed by Part I - Deserts; and Part II - Rainforests. Natural sounds were recorded on location. I captured the desert video in White Sands, Death Valley, and Great Sand Dunes Nat'l parks. Rainforest footage was taken in Brazil, Panama, and Costa Rica. What you experience in this video is totally spontaneous, fully improvised, and unrehearsed. We are on a journey. Join us!

A discussion and demonstration on improvisation will follow.

Brooks de Wetter-Smith, is active worldwide as a recitalist, concerto soloist, and masterclass teacher, having performed in more than 20 nations (Eastern- and Western-Europe, the Far East, the Middle East, and South America) and nearly all 50 states. His recordings have been released on the Albany, Aurophon, Centaur, Christophorus, Crystal, and Paulinas labels, spanning baroque, romantic, twentieth-century, and jazz-inspired repertoire; and his live performances have been featured on broadcasts in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. A number of his music editions have been published by International Music Company and Southern Music, and he is an internationally recognized authority on extended performance techniques. Dr. de Wetter-Smith was awarded a Fulbright Senior Professorship to teach at the Hochschule für Musik in Munich and Cologne, and at the Music Conservatory of Lisbon, Portugal. In addition to his music accomplishments, he is a published photographer, creating multimedia collaborations, having worked in the Himalayas above Mt. Everest base camp, the Peruvian Andes, Lebanon, the deserts of Syria, Jordan, and Egypt, the Amazonian jungle of Brazil, the rainforests of Panama and Costa Rica, the high Arctic regions, and Antarctica. A former president of the National Flute Association, he is the James Gordon Hanes Distinguished Professor of Music Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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