Jones has worked extensively in computer music, composing in residence at the Elektronmusikstudion (EMS) in Stockholm, at L'Institut de Recherche et de Cooordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM) in Paris, and at Bregman Electronic Music Studio at Dartmouth College (where he co-founded, with Jon Appleton, the Dartmouth graduate program in Electro-Acoustic Music). In his role as an instrumental/vocal composer, Jones has served as Composer-in-Residence at York University in England. His compositions have been recognized by first prize awards from the Premio Ancona Festival (Italy), the MACRO Composition Competition (US), and the American New Music Consortium National Composition Competition, and by awards and honorable mentions from the Bourges Electroacoustic Music Competition (France), the Prix Ars Electronica (Austria), the National Opera Association, the Atlanta Clarinet Associaion Composition Competition, the Sejong Society International Composition Competition, the Longtree Opera International Competition, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
News from Afar (Jones 2016 CD released by Centaur) presents five compositions (2010-2015) by David Evan Jones (b. 1946) all of which integrate computer-processed news broadcasts with instruments performing live. These pieces transform reports of the difficult news of our day and bring them into the contemplative frame of the concert hall.
Each piece in this collection refers to a recent news event with local and international significance: the seminal 2013 Gezi Park demonstrations in Istanbul, the massive 2011 Tsedek Chevrati (“social justice”) demonstrations in Israel, the 2010 attack by North Korea on South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island, the ongoing protests over the construction of a naval base on South Korea’s Jeju Island... Each broadcast is in the language of the country in which the event occurred. In performance, translations are projected as supertitles; in this CD, translations are presented in the notes below.
The news broadcasts were selected for their content and with close attention to voice qualities, speech rhythms, and intonation contours of the speakers. The broadcast voices were slowed (time-stretched) and gently stabilized into intelligible pitches in a way that generally preserved the original intonation contours. The stretched speech rhythms were edited somewhat so as to correspond occasionally to points of rhythmic emphasis.
As with most text-setting, the news broadcasts and the music imply interacting narratives. What makes the current project unique is the unification of these two elements by means of the detailed integration of speech rhythms and pitch intonations from “found audio” with the melodic/harmonic/rhythmic structures of the music.