September 3rd, 2011: Sam Pluta & Jim Altieri


Sam Pluta is a New York City-based composer and improviser working in the fields of acoustic and electronic music. He has been commissioned and premiered by Wet Ink Ensemble, Yarn/Wire, ICE, Timetable Percussion, RIOT Trio, So Percussion, Dave Eggar, and Prism Saxophone Quartet and has performed internationally as a laptop soloist and chamber musician. As a founding member of the improvising quartet GBL and performing with groups like the Peter Evans Quintet, he has focused in recent years on fusing the worlds of acoustic and electronic instruments through improvisation.  A devoted pedagogue, he teaches electronic music at the Manhattan School of Music and holds the John Plude Faculty Chair in Computer Musicianship at the Walden School. His music is released on quiet design and Carrier Records, a recording label he runs with Jeff Snyder and David Franzson.
Here are some details on Sam’s presentation:
Over the past three years I have been developing a software improvisation environment.  Based on a modular design inspired by 1960′s synthesizers like the Buchla 100/200, the program can be rearranged in real-time to create a very large number of different patches with infinite sonic possibilities.  Furthermore, the modules exist in a multi-dimensional array that allows the user to traverse through multiple sonic environments over the course of an improvisation or as quickly as in a few moments.  The implications of this structure are wide-reaching, allowing an electronic improviser to create environments, leave them, and then return.  In other words, the performer is able to create large scale complex forms, something until this point virtually impossible in an electronic improvised environment.

Here is a video of Sam’s trio with Peter Evans and Jim Altieri at the Tank NYC in November 2010:


Jim Altieri loves listening. His music often explores the rhythms and harmonies of the harmonic series, and the relationship between attention and awareness. Jim plays violin and accordion with many different musicians in the contexts of pop, folk, rock, experimental, and fancypants music.
You can find his music and a more extensive biography on his website:








Here are some details on Jim’s presentation:

I’ll lead a presentation and discussion on how American composers in the 20th and 21st century have used the harmonic series as a rhythmic composition tool. We’ll take a look/listen to Cowell, Tenney, and John Luther Adams, as well as a bit of my own music.

And some videos regarding Jim’s presentation:

Henry Cowell’s Quartet Romantic (1/2)

James Tenney’s Spectral Canon for Conlon Nancarrow

Expect a duet or two with Sam and Jim, both of whom are incredible improvisors with a long history of collaboration including the projects Glissando Bin Laden and His Musichideen with Alex Ness and Caroline Mallonee and the Sum and Difference trio with Peter Evans.