The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts supports embedded arts research through critical exchange

Momilani Ramstrum: Double Bass, Technology, and Animation – A Community Concert by Director BertTuretzky

Momilani Ramstrum (San Diego, Music) Faculty

MOMILANI RAMSTRUM is a hybrid musician – a composer, performer and a musicologist. She is also an opera trained singer, PD programmer, and interface designer. Her interests include investigating the impact of technology on music, semiotics, and culture. Her most recent composition, “Gloved Water” for voice, with MIDI Glove and computer, has been performed at the University of Central Missouri New Music Festival, the New York City Electroacoustic New Music Festival, and the San Francisco Chamber Wind Festival. This piece uses a MIDI glove that Dr. Ramstrum developed and programmed to control the computer. As the composer sings, she uses the embedded sensors of the MIDI glove to trigger the computer to record and loop up to 12 tracks in real time. Dramatic vocalizations feature multilayered chanting, wordless melismas, gutteral explosions, muttering, long tones, melodic lines over pedals, chorused swells, dips, and swoops. The live sounds are recorded and transformed in an interactive real-time digital signal processing environment programmed by the composer in Pure Data.

Her other compositions include an adaptation of Chekhov’s comic story “Romance with a Double Bass,” for bass, narrator and animation. In “Grass, Metal, Water,” she programmed an interactive real-time digital signal processing environment in Pure Data for a dance performance in which she improvised vocally while controlling signal processing on the computer with a Radio Baton. CyberLife, a one-act, multimedia opera, combines electronic music, a live ensemble and opera singers synchronized with 3D animation. Preliminary and partial performances have taken place at a UCSD CSEP Forum, a College Music Society Annual Southwest Pacific Chapter Meeting at SDSU, the San Diego New Music Festival, and The San Diego Performance and Video Forum.

Dr. Ramstrum holds a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, a Master of Arts in music composition from San Diego State University, and a Ph.D. from the Critical Studies and Experimental Practices area of the Department of Music at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

As a musicologist Dr. Ramstrum investigates the impact of technology on music. A year-long residency in 2002 – 2003 at IRCAM in Paris was funded by a Chateaubriand grant from the French Embassy in Washington D.C. and a Humanities Grant from UCSD. Working as a writer, videographer, musicologist and producer she created a DVD-ROM exploring Philippe Manoury’s electronic opera K…, published by IRCAM in 2005 and entitled From Kafka to K…. In the DVD she investigates the impact of technology on the opera, exploring the links between Kafka and Jewish mysticism, and an analysis of motivic, structural, dramatic and symbolic elements. She wrote a chapter in Simoni’s Analyzing Electroacoustic Music, published by Routledge.

Dr. Ramstrum is a tenured faculty member at San Diego Mesa College. As Associate Professor of Music she directs the music theory and ear training programs.

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