May 15, 2006
San Francisco, CA

BEAM Foundation to Offer Commissions to Composers

The BEAM Foundation is commissioning two new works for TrioMetrik. Composers should submit a CV and work examples by June 15, 2006. Scope of the piece and fee structure will be tailored to each applicant based upon experience and proclivities. Selections will be announced July 7.

Compatibility with TrioMetrik's tools and esthetics is a must. To this end two Colloquia are scheduled to familiarize composers with these requirements:

May 23rd 7 PM at BEAM Studios in Berkeley
May 24th 5 PM at CCRMA - Stanford Campus

Examples of previous musical works from a recent performance and descriptions of the technologies employed are available at ( Abstract of the colloquium follows:

MACIAS - a new software application that intelligently couples advanced instruments. Based on the concept of enhanced instruments coupled through an intelligent network, MACIAS is the sophisticated integration of live instruments that are extended beyond their original function with an advanced music program and interface system. MACIAS is a specialized network that receives, interprets, and operates on the sounds, notes, gestures, and intentions of the musicians. The result is an interactive musical esthetic for the 21st century (named "NuRoque") that encourages complex structures and sonic adventure. NuRoque takes its inspiration from the Baroque (Fr. for bizarre) revolution that new instruments and esthetics caused in Europe in the 1600s. TrioMetrik (Ashley Adams, Marielle Jakobsons, and Keith McMillen) is the live performing group using these technologies. Paul Dresher has called TrioMetrik "the modern composer's dream come true." Samples can be heard at (

Keith McMillen describes MACIAS as a system in which "knowledge and control is distributed among the musicians and guided by the composition. Direction to the performers is conveyed through an array of graphic windows on a display that replaces the traditional score and music stand. The musician's gestures, the score, audio processing, and other structures are permitted to interact with each other in ways that lead to modifications in performance. The result is a system designed to augment and control the compositional structure beyond notes and transitions. While these concepts have been explored individually, MACIAS represents the first time a refined and integrated approach has been evenly and fully applied across all of the components that comprise a musical entity." It has taken the last 25 years for Keith to build the enhanced instruments and refine MACIAS.

The instruments and external devices are tied to a computer running the program, a tuned assembly of over 200 individual screens and patches written in Max/MSP. When instantiated, MACIAS occupies more than 125MB of program memory not including audio buffers or data. All the components of a piece are contained within a score that sets and continuously updates thousands of parameters during performance. MACIAS executes the score and defines the timbres, harmonic and rhythmic structures, interaction trees, video selection and manipulation, etc. It determines the capture of audio and musicians' gestures and prompts the musicians to play at the correct times and either suggests politely a motif or demands and enforces a rhythmic harmonicity and a specific timbre.

Composer Jay Cloidt, who has written for TrioMetrik, has remarked that the MACIAS system is "a tremendously flexible composer's and performer's toolkit. Orson Welles once said, that a movie studio was '...the biggest electric train set a boy ever had.' I think MACIAS just may be the modern composer's electric train set."

Description and live demonstrations will illustrate the system's capabilities and lay a basic understanding of how one composes in this style. The BEAM Foundation (the non-profit organization behind TrioMetrik, MACIAS and NuRoque is actively commissioning pieces for the Trio. These sessions will be an excellent introduction for interested composers.