Artificial – Translating Electronics

Composer Daniel Wohl is known for music that blends electronics with acoustic instrumentation to often “surprising and provocative effect” (NPR). His newest project is Artificial, a ten-minute work that forgoes electronics and challenges acoustic instruments to sound digital.

Here’s what Wohl has to say about Artificial:

I’m thrilled to be working with Alarm Will Sound on Artificial, a ten-minute piece I initially composed for them in 2021, which will premiere in January 2023 at the Sinquefield Music Center in Columbus, MO. Since its inception in 2001, Alarm Will Sound has been committed to pushing the boundaries of classical chamber orchestra repertoire through innovative performances and recordings. Their groundbreaking album, Acoustica, examined how electronic music can inform new acoustic concert works by transcribing seminal artist Aphex Twin’s Richard D James album. Our interests were very much aligned: my work has focused on blurring the line between electronics and acoustic sounds to create concert performances that merge both into a seamless whole.

However, Artificial marks an important departure from my usual practice. For the first time in over a decade, I’m working with the electronic and acoustic elements separately to find points of inspiration and answer questions that have always fascinated me: how can abstract electronic sounds be translated for performance by an acoustic chamber orchestra? How can the limitless palette of electronic sources be convincingly realized by human performers playing traditional instruments that have existed for hundreds of years? Artificial, which the RPM Commissioning Fund commissioned, is specifically composed with these questions in mind and is designed to be heard in two ways, first as an electronic track:

and then its counterpart, acoustically performed by Alarm Will Sound. The transcription to acoustic instrumentation, the instruments’ inherent qualities, and their physical limitations have led to changes in the original sound and composition of the music. The result is a new and unique interpretation of the original, which I hope provides fresh insights and perspectives and expands its potential as a concert work.

About Daniel Wohl

Born and raised in Paris and currently residing in Los Angeles, Daniel Wohl’s music blends electronics with acoustic instrumentation to often “surprising and provocative effect” (NPR). He has produced albums, orchestral and chamber works, film, television, and ballet scores and has received critical praise as one of his generation’s “imaginative, skillful creators” (New York Times).

Wohl’s work has been programmed by the Cincinnati Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, ensembles from the San Francisco Symphony and  Chicago Symphony Orchestra, London Contemporary Orchestra, Bang on a Can All-Stars, American Symphony Orchestra, So Percussion, and Calder Quartet, among many others. He has also worked on albums, performances and media projects with artists such as Jóhann Jóhannsson, Arooj Aftab, Josephine Decker, Luca Guadagnino, Morgan Neville, David Lang, Julia Holter and Son Lux.

Wohl is a graduate of the doctoral program at the Yale School of Music.

Share Button