Visual Music: Simon Steen-Andersen's Run Time Error and Black Box Music
Fahey, Peter William
Danish composer Simon Steen-Andersen is one of the most successful and widely performed composers of his generation. It is surprising then that there is relatively little serious scholarship on his music. The present thesis attempts to go some way towards addressing this scarcity of writing on the topic. After a brief introduction surveying the composer’s career and achievements to date, Chapter 1 gives an overview of some of the most salient features of Steen-Andersen’s music. It discusses the composer’s focus in recent years on 'integrating concrete elements' into his music and on foregrounding elements of the live concert performance itself. While Steen-Andersen initially focused on the physical-choreographic elements of performance, there is a clear shift towards a more explicit focus on the visual elements of performance in works such as the Next to Beside Besides series and the Studies for String Instruments. Chapter 2 discusses Run Time Error, a work that develops some of the ideas introduced in Next to Beside Besides and the Studies for String Instruments, but which is also more visual in conception than the earlier works. The chapter includes an extensive treatment of the inherently visual aspects of the concept, staging and set-up of Run Time Error as well as a consideration of its evolution since its first performances. Chapter 3 discusses Black Box Music, a work that represents a culmination of Steen-Andersen’s exploration of the visual elements of musical performance and remains his most sophisticated exploration of the relationship between visual and sounding elements in his music. The chapter concludes with a detailed formal analysis of the same work.
Piekut, Benjamin D.; Bjerken, Xak
Doctor of Musical Arts
dissertation or thesis