John A. Yannelli

BPh, Thomas Jefferson College, University of Michigan. MFA, Sarah Lawrence College. Composer, innovator in the fields of electronic music and music for theatre and dance, composer of traditional and experimental works for all media, specialist in improvisational techniques, and director of the Sarah Lawrence Improvisational Ensemble. Toured nationally with the United Stage theatre company and conceived of, and introduced the use of, electronic music for the productions. Freelance record producer and engineer; music published by Soundspell Productions. SLC, 1984–

Current undergraduate courses

Chamber Music Improvisation

This is an experimental performing ensemble that explores a variety of musical styles and techniques, including free improvisation, improvisational conducting, and various other chance-based methods. The ensemble is open to all instruments (acoustic and electric), voice, electronic synthesizers, and laptop computers. Students must be able to demonstrate a level of proficiency on their chosen instrument. Composer-performers, dancers, and actors are also welcome. Performance opportunities will include concerts, collaboration with other programs such as dance, theatre, film, and performance art, as well as community outreach.

Faculty

Dance Making

Year

Individual choreographic projects will be designed and directed by seniors and graduate students with special interest and experience in dance composition. Students and faculty will meet weekly to view works-in-progress and to discuss relevant artistic and practical problems. Whenever possible, the music for these projects, whether new or extant, will be performed live in concert. Dance Making students are encouraged to enroll in Lighting Design and Stagecraft for Dance.

Faculty

Experimental Improvisation Ensemble

Spring

This class explores a variety of musical and dance styles and techniques, including free improvisation, chance-based methods, conducting, and scoring. We will collaboratively innovate practices and build scores that extend our understanding of how the mediums of dance and music relate both to and with one another. How the body makes sound and how sound moves will serve as entry points for our individual and group experimentation. Scores will be explored with an eye toward their performing potential. The ensemble is open to composer-performers, dancers, performance artists, and actors. Music students must be able to demonstrate proficiency in their chosen instrument. All instruments (acoustic and electrical), voice, electronic synthesizers, and laptop computers are welcome.

Faculty
Related Cross-Discipline Paths

Experimental Improvisation Ensemble

Spring

This class explores a variety of musical and dance styles and techniques, including free improvisation, chance-based methods, conducting, and scoring. We will collaboratively innovate practices and build scores that extend our understanding of how the mediums of dance and music relate to and with one another. How the body makes sound and how sound moves will serve as entry points for our individual and group experimentation. Scores will be explored with an eye toward their performing potential. The ensemble is open to composer-performers, dancers, performance artists, and actors. Music students must be able to demonstrate proficiency in their chosen instrument. All instruments (acoustic and electric), voice, electronic synthesizers, and laptop computers are welcome.

Faculty

First-Year Studies: Music and Technology

FYS

Note: This is a full Music Third open to students at any level interested in the study and performance of music.

Each student in First-Year Studies in Music will be enrolled in a full music program—a Music Third—that reflects Sarah Lawrence’s educational philosophy of closely integrating theory and practice in the study of music. The music program (Music Third) consists of a number of components: individual instruction in voice, an instrument, or composition; courses in history and/or theory; participation in an ensemble; and concert attendance. In addition, all students in this course will be members of a weekly seminar, which provides a forum to explore a broad range of musical topics in both artistic and critical ways. The focus of the seminar will be the development and role of music technology—from the evolution of traditional instruments, such as the piano and electric guitar, to the invention of the synthesizer, the iPod, and the use of laptop computers as musical instruments. We will explore all genres of music, including both traditional and experimental electronic music. In order to develop and improve their insights and their ability to share them with others, students will write regular response papers and give short presentations. In the spring, they will also undertake a larger research project. First-Year Studies in Music is designed for students with all levels of prior music experience, from beginning to advanced.

Faculty

Introduction to Electronic Music and Music Technology

The Sarah Lawrence Electronic Music Studio is a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to the instruction and development of electronic music composition. The studio contains the latest in digital audio hardware and software for synthesis, recording, and signal processing, along with a full complement of vintage analog synthesizers and tape machines. Beginning students will start with an introduction to the equipment, basic acoustics, and principles of studio recording, signal processing, and a historical overview of the medium. Once students have acquired a certain level of proficiency with the equipment and material—usually by the second semester—focus will be on preparing compositions that will be heard in concerts of electronic music, student composer concerts, music workshops, and open concerts.

Faculty

Recording, Sequencing, and Mastering Electronic Music

This course will focus on creating electronic music primarily using software-based digital audio workstations. Materials covered will include MIDI, ProTools, Digital Performer, Logic, Reason, Ableton Live, MaxMsp, Traction, and elements of Sibelius and Finale (as connected to media scoring). Class assignments will focus on composing individual works and/or creating music and designing sound for various media such as film, dance, and interactive performance art. Students in this course may also choose to evolve collaborative projects with students from those areas. Projects will be presented in class for discussion and critique.

Faculty

Studio Composition and Music Technology

This component is open to advanced students who have successfully completed Studio for Electronic Music and Experimental Sound and are at or beyond the Advanced Theory level. Students work on individual projects involving aspects of music technology that include, but are not limited to, works for electro-acoustic instruments—live and/or prerecorded works—involving interactive performance media–laptop ensembles, Disklavier, and improvised or through-composed works.

Faculty

Current graduate courses

Dance Making

Year

Individual choreographic projects will be designed and directed by seniors and graduate students with special interest and experience in dance composition. Students and faculty will meet weekly to view works-in-progress and to discuss relevant artistic and practical problems. Whenever possible, the music for these projects, whether new or extant, will be performed live in concert. Dance Making students are encouraged to enroll in Lighting Design and Stagecraft for Dance.

Faculty

Experimental Improvisation Ensemble

Spring

This class explores a variety of musical and dance styles and techniques, including free improvisation, chance-based methods, conducting, and scoring. We will collaborately innovate practices and build scores that extend our understanding of how the mediums of dance and music relate to and with one another. How the body makes sound and how sound moves will serve as entry points for our individual and group experimentation. Scores will be explored with an eye toward their performing potential. The ensemble is open to composer-performers, dancers, performance artists, and actors. Music students must be able to demonstrate proficiency in their chosen instrument. All instruments (acoustic and electric), voice, electronic synthesizers, and laptop computers are welcome.

Faculty

Previous courses

MIDI: Sequencing, Recording, and Mastering Electronic Music

Component

This course will focus on creating electronic music, primarily using software-based digital audio workstations. Materials covered will include MIDI, ProTools, Digital Performer, Logic, Reason, Ableton Live, MaxMsp, Traction, and elements of Sibelius and Finale (as connected to media scoring). Class assignments will focus on composing individual works and/or creating music and designing sound for various media such as film, dance, and interactive performance art. Students in this course may also choose to evolve collaborative projects with students from those areas. Projects will be presented in class for discussion and critique.

Faculty

Orchestra Projects

Component

Throughout the year students will have the opportunity to experience and participate in a broad range of musical styles from the Baroque to symphonic and contemporary repertory, including improvisation and experimental music.  The Sarah Lawrence Orchestra is open to all students as well as to members of the College and Westchester communities by audition. It is required for all instrumentalists taking a Music Third.

Faculty