Composer. Improviser. Trombonist. President of Musikmacher Productions. Director of the Music Now Ensemble. Articulate spokesman for the Avant Garde. Frequent collaborator with Professor Musikmacher.
God, Freud, students’ evaluations of their professors, the artwork of Robert Ryman, text from Herman Hesse, a “not so hip” jazz trio, whining narrators, indecipherable text, and unusual combinations of instruments are just a few of the elements in Stanley Schumacher’s unique compositions. Consisting primarily of theater pieces and works for small ensembles, most of Mr. Schumacher’s compositions combine pre-planned, aleatory, and improvised elements. Several of them employ narrative texts which often exhibit a humorous theatrical element, and some use graphic notation or a combination of traditional and graphic notation.
Some of the varied venues in which these interesting, creative pieces have been performed are 55 Mercer Gallery (New York, NY), Music Now Series (Columbus, OH), Galapagos (Brooklyn, NY), Trenton Avant Garde Festival (Trenton, NJ), County College of Morris, Pikeville College, Lafayette College, and Ryder College. The RASA Ensemble recorded “The Lecture” and “Order” (version for narrator and 3 trumpets). Mr. Schumacher’s music has been featured on “New Arts Alive,” a television series documenting contemporary artists which is produced by the New Arts Program, Kutztown, Pennsylvania. “Symmetries” is available from Media Press, Chicago, Illinois. “The Lecture” is in the American Music Center Collection at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, and the scores of his other compositions may be acquired from the American Music Center or directly from the composer.
A trombonist and vocalist as well as a composer, Mr. Schumacher actively combines these skills to perform improvised contemporary art music. He is director of the Music Now Ensemble and founder and president of Musikmacher Productions. The Music Now Ensemble is his primary vehicle for performing and recording improvised music. He founded this collective of improvisers in 2003 to present performances in both acoustical and electroacoustical formats and to promote the diversity and spontaneity of contemporary art music.
A multi-faceted musical background informs his improvisation. Mr. Schumacher has performed with contemporary art music ensembles, Dixieland jazz bands, concert bands, swing bands, orchestras, and blues and rock bands. His resume in improvised music includes performances at the Red Room (Baltimore, MD), High Zero Festival (Baltimore, MD), AIRSpace Gallery and UCAL (Philadelphia, PA, Bowerbird Productions), Trenton Avant Garde Festival (Trenton, NJ), Galapagos (Brooklyn, NY), Downtown Music Gallery (New York, NY), and Connexions Gallery (Easton, PA) among others. Some of his collaborators in improvised music are Ricardo Arias, Rosi Hertlein, David Hofstra, Evan Lipson, Toshi Makihara, Matthias Müller, Hans Tammen, and Nate Wooley.
Mr. Schumacher founded Musikmacher Productions in 2005 to produce recordings of improvised and composed contemporary art music by small ensembles. Musikmacher Productions released its first CD in 2006. All releases from Musikmacher Productions are available from www.cdbaby.com.
Mr. Schumacher holds a Ph.D. in Music Theory from Ohio State University. In addition, he has studied composition with Herbert Brun and Joel Thome and trombone with Dee Stewart and David Baker. He belongs to the American Composers Forum, International Trombone Association, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and American Federation of Musicians. .
The most interesting and most consequential of men tend to elude easy categorization, inspiring strong feelings in all quarters. Meet Professor Musikmacher, the white-gloved hero of New Music!
Following in the footsteps of John Cage, Morton Feldman and Earle Brown, who prepared the way for Him, The Professor is a true champion of the Avant Garde. He is a vigilant crusader against the complacency of the past as well as the vulgarity of the popular culture. Using all of the structural parameters (including the feared indeterminacy) at his disposal, The Professor helps His listeners on their road to salvation by engaging them in creative thinking.
In addition to exploring all aspects of the aural world, The Professor helps His listeners to further their understanding of music’s place in the universe. This is accomplished through the interactive experience of the various arts. Especially noteworthy are His “instructive lectures,” many of which are found on Musikmacher Productions CD’s.
In addition to composing and improvising (again the feared indeterminacy), The Professor has created numerous audio/visual aids (e.g. www.stanleyschumacher.com ) to assist in spreading The Word.
In conclusion, we have one of His favorite proverbs: “Many are called but few are chosen” OR “If you are not in the Avant Garde, then you are in the Rear Garde.”
Describe your music
Duration = 2:00
Instrumentation = 4 instruments (Choose one from each of the following groups.) -- Group A: flute or violin; Group B: clarinet or soprano saxophone or viola; Group C: bass clarinet or bassoon or trombone; Group D: contrabass
Description = At last, a composition that is as much fun for the student of music theory to analyze as it is for the performers to play. As the title suggests, “Symmetries” is the personification of structure and order. Form, duration, pitch, rhythm, even the titles of the four movements all contain symmetrical relationships. Wow, the Second Viennese School, Edgard Varese, and jazz all rolled into one tight symmetrical package!
BEAT ME DADDY, EIGHT TO A BAR
Duration = 3:00
Instrumentation = trombone, piano, contrabass
Description = Three be-bop musicians get in their “licks” in this parody of a “not so hip” jazz trio. The dramatic high point of this theatre piece is reached when the piano player depresses the sustain pedal, picks up a ball peen hammer, moves inside the piano and strikes the metal braces which support the sound board. Like, a piano tuner’s worst nightmare, man! [Like, NO, it doesn’t hurt the piano, man!]
Duration = 2:30
Instrumentation = trombone, 1 female narrator, 2 male narrators
Description = The 3 narrators assume positions of arrogance, indifference and thoughtfulness to project their various “messages.” But is there any “Dialogue”? The trombone comments and elaborates on these “messages.” But is there any “Dialogue”? You can put this theater piece together quickly and have a lot of fun doing it. But is there any “Dialogue”?
Duration = 5:00
Instrumentation = 3 trombones, 2 clarinets
Description = Homage to the glissando. The three trombones are “all worked up” and sliding every which way. There are even glissandi within glissandi. Meanwhile, the two clarinets do their best to rein in all this madness, while all the players try to work their way through the graphic notation. Bring your mutes for this unusual textural piece.
Duration = 5:00
Instrumentation = solo trombone with trumpet, clarinet, violin, piano, and voice
Description = First Superman saved the universe; then Batman saved Gotham City; now “Brassman” saves music. Through the dreamlike trance created by a progression of very mellow chords in the piano part, our hero plays a series of interactive duets with the remaining ensemble members in this through-composed piece. By utilizing the 3 T’s (Temerity, Tenacity, Technique), “Brassman” is able to vanquish the 3 B’s (Boredom, Banality, Blindness). “Who is ‘Brassman’?” you ask. I’ll give you a hint. He has seven positions!
Instrumentation = trombone, piano, narrator, solo dancer, dance ensemble (3)
Description = Ah yes, the dichotomy between gestures and substance or, if you prefer, between quantity and quality. Do you really want to live in a world of meaningless gestures? This humorous multi-media piece is easy to put together and will give you a chance to get to know some dancers. The dance ensemble and pianist provide a visual/aural foundation while the solo dancer and narrator spew forth a steady stream of gestures. As for the trombone, well, you will have to decide if his part has substance or is just some more gestures. Remind you of life?
Duration = 9:15
Instrumentation = clarinet, piano, narrator
Description = Remember those student evaluations you wrote in your college courses? Bet you never thought they would become the text of a counter culture theater piece. Be sure your narrator knows how to whine.
VARIATIONS FOR UNACCOMPANIED CLARINET
Duration = 9:00
Instrumentation = unaccompanied clarinet
Description = The clarinet player kept “bugging” me for a solo to play so I gave him the clarinet part from “The Lecture” and told him to play it as an unaccompanied clarinet solo. You don’t think this will work? Well, if the composer planned it that way, it just might! But you better listen again.
Duration = 8:15 minimum
Instrumentation = narrator and any number of brass, woodwind, or percussion
Description = Establish some order in this six movement work. Follow the flow chart. All the permutations work. Some traditional notation with lots of graphic notation. Play with whatever band musicians happen to be around. Sorry strings, maybe next time.
Duration = 21:00 (short version) or 42:00 (long version)
Instrumentation = 3 trombones (short version) or 6 trombones (long version)
Description = “Trombones Rule” in this texture-based piece. No technique in the traditional sense but rhythmic activity keeps it moving. Long reflective 21-minute piece or use the relief squad (3 additional trombones) to turn it into a 42-minute piece with the second half being a mirror of the first half. Makes a nice contrast with “Musography” on a recital program. Your complete recital program could be:
1) “Musography” (2nd squad)
2) “No Technique” (42-minute version) (1st and 2nd squads)
3) “Musography” (1st squad)
WHITE ON WHITE
Duration = 12:15
Instrumentation = string quartet
Description = Ever see the paintings of Robert Ryman? Lean, Spartan, and nothing but white paint on white paint. Forces you to look everywhere in a desperate attempt to establish order, coherence, and form. No detail is too small in this search. Imagine the relief you feel in finding something to hang onto. Imagine the joy you feel when you realize your powers of visual perception have been expanded. Want to hear the aural counterpart to these paintings?
WAY COOL (CD) Hey Stanley, Thank you so much for sending us your cd Way Cool. Its awesome and is being added to the stacks. Can't wait to receive more music. (Tali Link, KDVS, Davis, CA)---------- HAVE YOU SINNED? (ESSAY BY PROFESSOR MUSIKMACHER) Oh my god, that cracks me up! Does the Professor have any more essays at this point in time? (Donna Knudson, Flutist, Bethlehem, PA)---------- JIVE AT 5:05 (CD) I've enjoyed the record, and I've played it on the show, and plan on doing it more! (Andrew Weathers, WUAG, Greensboro, NC)--------- DON’T ABANDON YOUR BABY (CD) I enjoyed your cd - I guess you have a strong affinity with Arnie Schoenberg and his Pierrot Lunaire - well I heard some historical links anyway. (Jon Rose, Violinist, Australia)------ MUSIC NOW ENSEMBLE Wow, I am sorry to say that I was unfamiliar with your work until now; I'm really liking what I hear. (Gabe, Toledo Bellows/Robinwood Concert House)---------- SOUND TEXTURES (CD) listening to your cd. WoW! super stuff!!! (Hans Grüsel, Electronic Music Improviser, San Francisco, CA)---------- UBER BRASS (CD) You made a wonderful "Uber Brass" CD. Although only 3 brass instruments, the cd is rich on colours and alternations. It’s hard to mention some favorites but I love your lyrical solo on "New Idiom Now II" and "Heterodoxy". (Christofer Varner, Trombonist, Munich, Germany)---------- SOUND TEXTURES (CD) Wow! Now that was something else! I really really enjoyed this CD. Talk about shapes, and colors and movements and all kinds of sensations going through the body when listening to it! And it's hard not to listen to it without what you see visually and feel tactilely mixing in with it all. I felt a sudden breeze through the window and I thought it was part of the music, or I thought it *was* the music. And no I'm not on drugs or schizophrenic. It's just that this music lends itself to these kinds of experiences for me and it was great..... I loved Stanley Schumacher’s vocal stuff. Ending that one piece with the snoring was hilariously funny, and I thought the vocal sounds Stanley made while playing the trombone were really neat. Some of it reminded me of some of the vocal stuff I used to do while improvising. Where it just happens and you aren't doing it anymore..... And the last one was such a powerful way to end the CD. Really really neat. All of it. I'll definitely listen to it again. What a trip. (Donna Knudson, Flutist, Bethlehem, PA)---------- MUSIC NOW ENSEMBLE “sincere, creative music” (Chris Cogburn, No Idea Festival)--------- MUSIC NOW ENSEMBLE Pointallistic? Contrapuntal? Metatextural? Klangfarbenmelodie? Contrapointallistic? No thanks, I'll just take that ham sandwich over there, I don't need anything fancy. Well, GET LOST. This concert is extremely fancy improvised music..... The “Music Now Ensemble” (convened by avuncular white gloved new music hero, trombonist Stanley Schumacher from Pennsylvania) sports the powerful minds of Evan Lipson (bass) from Philadelphia and Rosie Hertlien (violin, voice) from NYC. This is a "high action" ensemble. (John Berndt, redroom.org)---- SOUND TEXTURES (CD) and UBER BRASS (CD) “Thanks for sending us your albums. They were both added to our night rotation. I really appreciate you sending them to us, they were both really strong.” (Chris Pool, WREK, Georgia Tech)--------------- DON’T ABANDON YOUR BABY (CD) “Your ensemble is really great at performing improvised music. I tell my ol’ buddy to visit me and we will listen to Robert Ashley’s ‘Wolfman’ and eat ice cream with small spoons. Now, I will tell him that we will listen to Stanley Schumacher’s ‘Don’t Abandon Your Baby’ and eat ice cream with small spoons.” (Gerald Plain, Composer, LaGrange, KY)-------------------- DON’T ABANDON YOUR BABY (CD) love your cd have had occasion to play it several times on my sun night improv jazz show love it sounds great (Kenn Michael, WDIY, Bethlehem, PA)---------- MUSIC NOW ENSEMBLE I'm listening to you now and loving it. It makes me happy to imagine you creating this music. It's heartfelt and that means it's the best. (Ron Pellegrino, Author of “The Electronic Arts of Sound and Light”)
CD Baby - http://www.cdbaby.com/artist/StanleySchumacherandtheMusicNowEnsemble
Media Press - http://www.mediapressinc.com/pages.php?pageid=2&composer=68