Stephen Crawford

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Stephen Crawford (under construction)

Progress report

What was your path to discovering alternate tunings?
The first step was my introduction to Xenakis, Stockhausen, and Laurie Anderson and the record library in Interlochen Summer Music Camp in the mid-1980's. Those artists me possibilities in music and performance art that I had never encountered before. Then I discovered Stuart Dempster and the Deep Listening Band in the early 1990's. I even remember doing a little dance when I found his book I was so excited. I often spent hours browsing the lonely, dusty shelves of the Music Library where the experimental music was kept. I devoured scores and recordings and joined the New Music Ensemble. Some composer friends of mine and I formed an experimental improvisational music/performance art ensemble, and we often accompanied dance performances and had some "happenings" around campus. I got to meet Stuart Dempster and Ellen Fullman when she was in Austin. When I got to Houston, I found Nameless Sound (formerly the Pauline Oliveros Foundation). I saw Jacob Barton, Dan Sedgwick, Marji Gere and Ben Grow perform as An Exciting Event at the Artery in Houston in 2008, and met the udderbot for the first time. After a hiatus of a couple of years, I somehow heard of the Xenharmonic Praxis Summer Camp in 2011, and after looking at all the implications that explored, I was hooked. (I think I was actually looking for The School for Designing a Society, and stumbled upon XPSC.)
What are your current/past/future particular interests?
I am the band director at a performing arts magnet high school. Because of the format of our school's music program, I have some freedom to introduce more diverse music to my students. I would like to show my students the possibilities that can open up to them by exploring outside traditional Western music. I want to compose as well.
What instruments or means have you had/do you have now/do you want for the making of microtonal music?
Trombone, 2 autoharps, jaw harps; I also have some software: microsynth, ScalaVista, Garage Band, Cubase LE, and I'm trying out Ableton Live to see if it's worth the money to me (I'm disappointed that its soft-synths don't re-tune easily); I'd really like to not get too dependent on electronics, I seem to be a bigger fan of using live instruments; I would really like to get a dan bau and/or a sanxian but also get better at doing these intervals on trombone
What instruments or means have you successfully used in the making of microtonal music? Recommendations?
Trombone, autoharp, jaw harp. Jaw harp is excellent for hearing the harmonic series. H-Pi Software's microsynth is very handy and easy to use. I wish it had more sounds. XENHARMONIC PRAXIS SUMMER CAMP 2012 was AWESOME!
Any good microtonal anecdotes?
There once was a composer from Nantucket...