Following studies in percussion and composition at the University of Victoria and computer science at Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario), Daniel Scheidt pursues an active interest in software as a compositional medium. A respect for improvisation and live performance has led to the development of several personalized, computer-based instruments. Recent work focuses on interactive systems which respond to acoustic input. An associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre (CMC), and once a member of the Canadian Electroacoustic Community (CEC), Daniel Scheidt’s work has been broadcast by the CBC and Radio-Canada and presented in concerts, festivals, and conferences throughout Canada and Europe. He now lives in Banff (Alberta) and performed during the ICMC’95 (International Computer Music Confenrence) at The Banff Centre for the Arts.
[Daniel Joseph Scheidt]
Edmonton (Alberta, Canada), 1956
Residence: Calgary (Alberta, Canada)
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In the press
Alison Appelbe, The Vancouver Courier, February 27, 1991
Weird but appealing sounds bounce off the walls of the clapboard Western Front building on East Eighth Avenue.
Simultaneously, it seems as if some giant, gentle cosmic force is tapping the building with a pair of sticks, an organ reverberates at your back, and the pure, sweet line of a clarinet swirls around the centre of the room.
What is at work is North Vancouver composer Daniel Scheidt communicating through his computer and multi-track synthesizer with Québécois instrumentalist Claude Schryer, to create an interactive work for clarinet and electronics.
“It’s hard to put a finger on what it is,” says Scheidt, when asked to explain the improvisational nature of the computer-enhanced sound. “There’s a relationship that develops between the performer and my software — there’s that dialogue. The computer is following the live perfonnance. There’s a feedback loop, but it’s more like we’re both talking at once than a conversation. Both are listening to one another.”
Well, in the world of music-on-the-edge you don’t ask too many questions; it’s better to just listen.
“I would be very happy for people to say, ‘That was a different way to make music,’” Scheidt continues. “I think we need new wavs of thinking to help solve problems. I think there’s validity to posing the potential for newness. If I’m helping people to loosen up — then that’s my reward.”
Scheidt is one of eight composer/performers taking part in a cross-Canada tour of live electroacoustic concerts called Electro Traces.
The others are all from Montréal, and comprise what has been called “the hottest thing on the Canadian new music scene” — a group called DIFFUSION i MéDIA (co-founded by Schryer) that has made a series of compact discs on the empreintes DIGITALes label.
The tour began in Vancouver last week, with the release of Scheidt’s own new CD, Action/Réaction, featuring interaction with a number of prominent instrumentalists.
And while the Quebec musicians are most interested in the details of sound, Scheidt, who studied at Queen’s University and the University of Victoria, says he’s more into “the working process.”
“I’m making music in a non-traditional way. I don’t work with notation — and I’m using the computer to explore different kinds or relationships.”
He even presents musicians with puzzles and mazes to wander about in, and somehmes his installations invite public participation. However, “sound in the space” is the focus of the Electro Traces tour.
“All the other composers have a history of presentation — of exploring an acoustic space,” Scheidt says.
They use an eight-channel sound systern that will ‘spatialize’ the sound and rnove it around. Called ‘acousmadcs,’ it purports to offer a third dimension to musical works.