“In retrospect, this period of time is still stirring strongly inside of my thinking. I am back at work on projects, and life is once again fast and furious, but it is different. I cannot say how the months in New York on my fellowship will affect my work, as only time and the work itself will reveal. But I look forward to realizing new expressions as a result.”
Scott Deal has long made camp at the intersection of technology and music. Deal’s fellowship time was spent in New York City, where he built his knowledge of MaxMSP and Jitter programming environments for musicians and artists. He also set up a schedule of weekly sessions at Harvestworks, an organization dedicated to the research and creation of new and emerging trends in media-enriched music and art.
While in New York, Deal used his time to explore creative ways to notate compositions on a computer. He says, “I personally dislike the traditional notation programs, such as Sibelius or Finale, because their scores are of a fixed style that is not conducive to the kind of music I work with.” So he explored several graphics programs in order to notate the percussion and electronics, and was successful with the effort, creating a printed score that is also on a data disk in pdf format.
Outside his studio, Deal attended nearly twenty-two concerts and performances and visited art galleries, museums, and installations. Serendipitously, Deal stumbled on an important series of electro-acoustic and computer concerts held during his visit: Nine Evenings Plus 50 was a retrospective of the historic event of the same name. Engineers from Bell Labs collaborated with musicians and artists to produce one of the first large-scale arts-technology enterprises.
During the fellowship, Deal found renewal on several fronts. The obvious renewal catalyst was the opportunity to leave his daily routine and to burrow deeper into an artistic mode of thinking. Being away in New York, with no concerts or teaching duties looming was tremendously freeing, enabling him to adopt a mindset of learning and reflection. He says, “Having the Creative Renewal Fellowship enabled me to harness the action of observance and study as a conceptual anchor. I finally had time to explore and research tools very necessary to my work as an artist and teacher.”