Retrospective | Prospective: Peter Elsea - April in Santa Cruz Festival of Contemporary Music

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 7:30pm
Music Center Recital Hall (UCSC)

A mix of recorded and live electronic music, celebrating the career of the esteemed Santa Cruz composer, technologist, and multi-media artist.


free admission


Doors open at 7:00 pm

parking $4


April in Santa Cruz 2013 is proud to feature distinguished technologist and composer Peter Elsea in a portrait concert (4/17), presenting a range of his electronic, electro-acoustic, interactive, and multi-media compositions.

Elsea learned the craft of electroacoustic composition as a graduate student at The University of Iowa, where he studied with Peter Todd Lewis, Richard Hervig and Lowell Cross. He earned the Master of Arts in Education (with an emphasis in teaching music technology) in 1974. After receiving his master's degree, he joined the staff of the Iowa Center for New Music as technician and instructor in the electronic music studio. During 6 years in that position, he was able to hone his electronics design skills building equipment for the studios and Cross's laser projection system. He also had the opportunity to work closely with many visiting composers such as Robert Ashley, Salvatore Martirano and Morton Subotnick.


Elsea joined UCSC in 1980, recruited by Gordon Mumma to become the studio engineer and instructor in the rapidly growing Electronic Music Program. When Mumma retired in 1994, Elsea became program director. Over the years he has developed the curriculum into a minor in electronic music and the program has gained an international reputation for breadth and rigor. Alumni of the program have gone on to establish academic and commercial studios, win Oscars and Clios, and become headliners in pop acts. Elsea has also built up the electronic music facilities from a single cluttered room to a six studio state of the art complex which is among the finest in American academia, and certainly the best facility dedicated to undergraduate teaching. He has also been instrumental in the development of the Digital Arts and New Media MFA program, and is currently one of the core instructors.


Elsea has continued to develop new systems for electronic music, turning from hardware to software in the 90s and recently back to hardware. (Some of these will be demonstrated tonight.) His best known package is the L-objects, an extension to MaxMSP, a software composition and performance platform that is in use worldwide. Elsea is also known internationally for his written tutorials on MaxMSP and other topics. These tutorials have been freely distributed on the world wide web since 1994. His textbook "The Art and Technique of Electroacoustic Composition" is in press with AR Editions and should be released later this year.