Lake Worth, FL
Environmental Studies


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About Me

Third beep Practice boop beep

November 25, 2014

A few weeks ago, I found myself wearing all black and whispering bad jokes into microphones, trying desperately to not screw up or break something. Being backstage for the Third Practice Electroacoustic Festival (abbreviated 3P) was the most exciting moment I’ve had on campus thus far. I had once again stumbled upon a unique opportunity to do something I hadn’t considered before. 


     Here’s the dummy definition for electroacoustic music. Essentially, it consists mostly of instrumental sound transformed by electronic means. Music can range from fixed media pieces (purely electronic, with no performers), to motion-sensing gloves that modify audio effects through gestures, such as a violinist drawing their bow across a violin’s strings.

   So there’s your basic vocabulary (trust me, there is a learning curb. To tell you the truth, I had no idea what I was getting into with being a part of Third Practice. I just knew it was going to be stellar and potentially a little weird. And I was not dissatisfied. 

     I had the chance to meet brilliant people, including some well-known composers who rock the electroacoustic scene. One of my personal favorite performances was by Joo Won Park, an aficionado who has worked on 3P for 10-ish years. Joo Won performed a piece titled “Receding Hairline” with a mixing board, an electromagnetic pickup, a synthesizer, and a dancing toy cat.  I’ll leave interpretations up to you, but I found his performance enthralling. 

Joo Won

      Of course, our very own ensemble-in-residence Eighth Blackbird performed compositions by Matthew McCabe and Christopher Chandler, two of the masterminds of 3P who work with UR professor and electronic guru Ben Broening (3P is originally the brain child of Dr. Broening.) I also feel it is important to mention Evan Wilbur who showed me the ropes and is a total digital boss. Of course, a couple of other UR students helped with 3P besides myself and were awesome compadres. (creds to Tucker, Estelle, and David.)

       The electroacoustic music community is a small, yet intensely dedicated group with an encyclopedic knowledge that few possess or understand. I tried perfecting many skills that I’d never thought I’d have to learn, such as the sacred art of cable coiling. My tasks working behind the scenes for 3P involved making badges, moving expensive equipment, ordering Jimmy Johns, and transporting a harp out of one of the performer’s mini-van. No task is menial in creating 3P, as chaotic audio cables and hungry organizers could prove disastrous for the fluidity of the show.

       After being a stagehand for 4 performances that weekend, I experienced some kind of electroacoustic withdrawal. Silence was startling. I thought birds outside my window were actually electronic flutes. I relished the experience though- the near exhaustion, the intense (and occasionally abrasive) sounds coming out of the speakers, the ushering of performers and the moving of toy (and full-size) pianos.

     Third practice was a huge success, and our small crew was complemented on how smoothly the performances looked. Many of the Third Practice organizers have been doing it for 15+ years, which is a dedication that is understandable once you’ve had immersed yourself in this electro-environment. It’s hard work for just two days and four concerts, but incredibly rewarding. There is a a classic 3P tradition where the tape from the mixing board is put on display for every year of the festival. A triumphant moment indeed for the whole 3P crew.


    After we stripped the stage of every last cable, Joo Won ordered us all delicious Asian dishes from Mekong’s. Sitting down at a large table with folks who I consider brilliant is why I’ll probably work Third Practice next year (and the year after that, and the year after that…)

Make sure you are there too!

Another performance from 3P, featuring Elizabeth Hoffman and flutist Jane Rigler:


My name is Isabella, casually known as Izzy. I'm a kid from the swamp (South Florida) who came to Richmond to explore- my surroundings, my academic and artistic interests, and my personal self. When I stumbled upon UR, I was a high-school senior at Dreyfoos School of the Arts who was swimming (or perhaps drowning) in a sea of college applications and presentation, unaware of where I would be in less than a year. It's exciting to be a newly born spider, one who is released upon this beautiful campus, with no other goal than to get as much out of my educational experiences as possible. As a Spider diarest, I will try to recount my adventures in their fullness as I foray across The Commons, The James River, and the downtown art scene with only a bike and a backpack. Hold on to your handlebars folks, I'm intent on chasing the opportunities and the oddities just beyond the pointed arches....