[Oct 22] Toneburst Maps and Fragments by David Tudor (1926 – 1996) and Sophia Ogielska

Saturday, October 22, 2016  – 7pm

Tickets: $15

ISSUE Project Room
   22  Boerum Place, Brooklyn, NY 11201

In 1995-96 David Tudor collaborated with Sophia Ogielska on a visual language for representing David’s music compositions created in analog circuits. Focusing on Tudor’s composition Toneburst for Merce Cunningham’s Sounddance, they developed Toneburst Maps and Fragments — a collaborative installation work which used visual elements derived from David Tudor’s scores. The work was first exhibited at the Ezra and Cecile Zilka Gallery at Wesleyan University in 1996.

ISSUE Project Room partners with Harvestworks to present an exhibition of their selected visual works – Toneburst Maps and Fragments — and a contemporary interpretation of the works accompanied by a panel discussion. This event is presented as part of the 50th anniversary of Experiments in Art and Technology.

Described as the essence of the music of David Tudor, the event marks a unique opportunity to see and hear Toneburst. The early evening panel is moderated by John Driscoll, with context and background presented by John D.S. Adams and You Nakai. Further, Sophia and Andy Ogielska discuss details about their collaboration with Tudor.


Toneburst Wesleyan 1996 – Map 4 © S Ogielska

Following the panel, a performance by Michael Johnsen highlights his current research in the circuit-level documentation of David Tudor’s “folkloric” homemade instruments at Wesleyan University. Serving as the only remaining clues to these pieces, Tudor’s exquisite score diagrams are simultaneously explicit and opaque to the would-be performer. Using electronic instruments of his own making, Michael references the “Maps,” which can be entered at any point and traversed in any direction producing multiple performances of the works.

“Structure and a certain natural order emerge from visual associations imposed by the mind”Sophia Ogielska

“David Tudor’s circuit diagrams describe the performance instrument for ‘Untitled’ and ‘Toneburst.’ The Maps and Fragments that Tudor and Sophia Ogielska made can be seen as a description of the performance and the possibilities inherent in multiple performances of the work. Tudor felt that they had created a language through which the performance of his work could be described. The Maps can be read as scores, which can be entered at any point and traversed in any direction, producing one performance or many performances.”  c. 1996 by Billy Kluver and Julie Martin

“Toneburst turned out to be a very important piece for Tudor. He described it in 1994 as being a direct translation of his mind into music. Toneburst represents the culmination of a decade of experimentation and is considered to be the definitive Tudor composition. It wraps up in one complex package the mysterious ideas and elusive philosophies behind the concept, realization and performance of his music. Toneburst is David Tudor.”c. John D.S. Adams

Andy Ogielski is a scientist and entrepreneur. He was the founder and president of Internet analytics company Renesys, and a research professor at Rutgers University. Earlier, at Bell Communications Research in Morristown, NJ Andy was a director in Information Sciences Lab, and at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, NJ he was a research scientist (MTS) working on supercomputing and complex systems. In the 1980s and 90s Andy and his wife Sophia lived near Bell Labs, next to Billy Kluver and Julie Martin, and gradually got engaged with Experiments in Art and Technology. Andy holds a Ph.D. in theoretical physics.

Sophia Ogielska is a visual artist and designer. In the 1990s she has been involved with Experiments in Art and Technology, which culminated in her collaboration with David Tudor. They have developed a project to combine Sophia’s methods of visual synthesis of complex structures in her paintings with David’s way of composing and performing his music. Their project produced Toneburst Maps and Fragments, a series of colorful translucent works and larger panels, which could act as a visual representation of David’s music. The inaugural exhibition and performance of Toneburst Maps and Fragments took place in Zilkha Gallery at Wesleyan University in 1996. Sophia graduated from School of Arts, and holds a Master’s degree in Engineering and Economics.

John Driscoll is a composer/sound artist who is a founding member of Composers Inside Electronics and collaborated on David Tudor’s Rainforest IV project since its inception in 1973. He has toured extensively in the US and Europe with: CIE, Douglas Dunn & Dancers, David Tudor, and also as a solo performer. His work involves robotic instruments, compositions and sound installations for unique architectural spaces, rotating loudspeakers, and music for dance. In 2014, he was artist-in-residence at Harvestworks Inc. developing a work for robotic-driven highly focused speakers, and has recently completed new works for an array of ultrasonic instruments. He is working on the revival of David Tudor’s Pavilion works in conjunction with CIE, E.A.T., Wesleyan Univ. and the David Tudor Project. In 2015, he was the David Tudor Composer-In-Residence at Mills College and is currently performing Tudor’s original Rainforest work as part of a reconstruction of Merce Cunningham’s dance RainForest by the Stephen Petronio Company. He is collaborating with Phil Edelstein and Matt Rogalsky on Rainforest V (a self-running installation version) with two variations of the work. Rainforest V (variation 1) has been acquired by the Museum of Modern Art (NY) for their collection and Rainforest V (variation 2) has been acquired by Museum der Moderne Salzburg for their collection.


John D.S. Adams is an award winning producer, recording/mix engineer, sound designer and experimental sound artist having worked on a wide variety of projects in film, television, music and dance. John’s incredible range and experience make him a highly sought after producer / engineer. John’s client list is broad and impressive including music recording/mixing for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s award winning ‘Beach Birds: For Camera’, twelve CDs and 2 DVDs for Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Sony BMG artists Yo Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax, PSI Factor (Alliance-Atlantis TV series), Anton Kuerti’s final Beethoven Piano Sonatas as well as composition/sound design for Barishnykov’s White Oak Dance Project. John’s work has been honoured with multiple Juno Award for his collaborations with James Ehnes, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Jane Bunnett. In addition to the many independent recordings, Adams has worked with artists Suzie LeBlanc, Paul Halley, St. Lawrence String Quartet, Old Man Luedecke, Andy Stochansky, Eve Egoyan, Emilie-Claire Barlow, Kevin Fox and Neil Young. In 2000 the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles sought the skills of John when embarking on a massive music archival project. Between 2007 and 2009, John was Senior Recording Engineer at The Banff Centre.

Following the completion of his Masters of Music in Sound Recording (McGill University class of ‘91), John spent an inspirational five years in New York City. While in New York he worked intensively as a musician and multi-channel sound designer for the cutting edge Merce Cunningham Dance Company and acted as a hands-on assistant to electronic music pioneer David Tudor. Adams was requested by Tudor to realize and perform his music in the US, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, and Taiwan. In 1998 Adams joined ranks with New York based Composers Inside Electronics to perform Tudor’s Rainforest IV at the Lincoln Center Festival 98, and for the 2001 realization of Rainforest IV at the Getty Research Institute (Los Angeles) Symposium on David Tudor. Adams continues to perform the works of David Tudor and creates music using his modular analogue electronics.

Adams has had the privilege of collaborating with some of the great musical pioneers of our time, including John Cage, Pauline Oliveros , Walter Zimmerman, Takehisa Kosugi, Steve Lacy and Stuart Dempster and Christos Hatzis. He is currently affiliated with suddenlyLISTEN (Halifax based improv collective), F.F.O.B. (Toronto based multimedia/electronic ensemble), JERK (Atlantic Canadian experimental improv quintet) and EHRES with Pauline Oliveros.

Michael Johnsen [Pittsburgh] is known for live-electronic performances with a menagerie of custom devices whose idiosyncratic behaviors are revealed through their complex interactions. His work is characterized by a relative lack of ideas per se, and an intense focus on observation, the way a shepherd watches sheep. The extensive patching of large numbers of devices produces teeming chirps, sudden transients and charming failure modes; embracing the dirt in pure electronics. His current research concerns the circuit-level documentation of David Tudor’s “folkloric” homemade instruments. His work has been shown widely at MoMA, SF Cinematheque, Radio France, Idiopreneurial Entrephonics, and Musique Action. He co-edits ubu.com/emr which is devoted to technical resources concerning the experimental practice of sound. He also designs analog circuits for Pittsburgh Modular.

You Nakai either conducts research on music and other curiosities and writes about his findings, most notably a dedicated study on David Tudor’s works which has recently been coalesced into the doctoral dissertation “On The Instrumental Natures of David Tudor’s Music“ (New York University, 2016), or makes music, dance, and other types of work as part of No Collective (http://nocollective.com), which also co-runs the independent publisher Already Not Yet (http://alreadynotyet.org), and has recently been featured in the Leonardo Music Journal as one of the artists under 40 doing interesting things with technology. You is currently working on a book about Tudor, with financial support from the Society for the Promotion of Sciences.

Thanks to Julie Martin for agreeing to use the essay “Sound into Image: The Collaboration Between David Tudor and Sophia Ogielska.” Thanks to John D. S. Adams for his permission to use his essay “Giant Oscillations.” Partial support provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New Music USA’s NYC New Music Impact Fund made possible by the Scherman Foundation’s Katharine S and Axel G Rosin Fund.


Founded in 2003, ISSUE Project Room is a pioneering nonprofit performance center, presenting projects by more than 200 interdisciplinary artists each year that expand the boundaries of artistic practice and stimulate critical dialogue in the broader community. ISSUE serves as a leading cultural incubator, facilitating the commission and premiere of more than 25 innovative new works each year.

Founded by artists in 1977, Harvestworks is a leader in the art and technology field, educating, commissioning and producing work by composers, sound, visual and multi-disciplinary artists that reach an ever-expanding and receptive audience. The T.E.A.M. (Technology, Engineering, Art and Music) lab is a unique facility that offers technical expertise and resources to support the artist in the creation of new work. Creativity + Technology = Enterprise Program fosters an entrepreneurial spirit that encourages artists to consider new business models to sustain their practice and develop their careers. In line with the historical E.A.T. (Experiments in Art and Technology) Harvestworks provides an environment for experimentation with technicians, instructors, and innovative practitioners in the electronic arts. Former residents, who have used new technology in their art include established artists Christian Marclay, Luke Dubois. Pauline Oliveros and Cory Arcangel. Support for this event was provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New Music USA’s NYC New Music Impact Fund made possible by the Scherman Foundation’s Katharine S and Axel G Rosin Fund.


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