The piece will serve as accompaniment and counterpart to a live reading by Woodward of his mind-bending new poem “Uncanny Valley.” The full program is now in the works and is set for performances beginning in September 2012.
“Uncanny Valley” is a long serial poem in 16 sections, meant to be read out loud, with numerous optional repeats throughout the text. These repetitions act as accumulations of sound, maddening as well as hypnotic. Gibson’s piece provides a sonic environment in which the text floats freely, with its pacing determined by the two performers. Digital samples triggered by both performers mirror and enmesh the piano and spoken text.
Jon Woodward’s Uncanny Valley manuscript recently won the Cleveland State University Poetry Center’s 2011 Open Competition and will soon be published by the school. He has two other volumes of poetry published: Rain (Wave Books, 2006) and Mister Goodbye Easter Island (Alice James Books, 2003).
John Gibson’s works have been performed across the world by groups like London Sinfonietta, the Da Capo Chamber Players, the Seattle Symphony, the Music Today Ensemble, Speculum Musicae, and Ekko! He writes sound processing and synthesis software, and has taught composition and computer music at the University of Virginia, Duke University, and the University of Louisville. He is now Assistant Professor of Composition at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.