Composition doctoral candidate Mike Lukaszuk recently traveled to Utrecht, Netherlands to present an original piece at the 42nd International Computer Music Conference, an annual event that connects computer music practitioners from around the world in a series of presentations and concerts of new music.
Lukaszuk is in his third year at CCM, where he studies with composition professor Mara Helmuth. At the conference, he not only had the opportunity to present his new electronic music piece Przypadek, but also learned about new music and techniques from international musicians. Lukaszuk said he was fortunate to be included in the same concert as the conference’s keynote speaker, Ake Parmerud — an influential electronic musician.
“Attending these kinds of events is an extremely effective way to improve yourself,” Lukaszuk said. “You really get a sense of the standard that the top people in the field are working at and then can challenge yourself to aspire to that same level in your own music.”
“I think that the experience of attending and sharing my music with the many wonderful performers and researchers allowed me to get a sense of the direction I wish to take with my work.”
Przypadek is a Polish word for something that happens by chance, which is a reflection of the aspect of “randomness” that Lukaszuk incorporated into the music. “I feel that the use of randomness can fill a piece with a strong sense of mystery, but also a kind of relatable quality since our lives are often unavoidably affected by luck, coincidence and other forces beyond our own control,” he said. “So although the piece might sound quite calculated there’s a lot of random selection — within a controlled framework — going on behind the scenes deciding various subtle details.”
In his music, Lukaszuk often blends real-world acoustic sounds with computer-generated sounds and uses a variety of studio techniques to create new, abstract material. You can listen to an excerpt from Przypadek here:
Lukaszuk also had the chance to hear new music. One piece that stood out to him was Starboard by Canadian composer David Berezan. He said that Berezan created a powerful sound by juxtaposing elements of melody and noise. Lukaszuk described the piece as “beautiful without being excessively sentimental.”
He hopes to incorporate what he learned at the conference into the Cincinnati Composers Laptop Orchestra Project (CiCLOP), a group formed at CCM in 2011 that is directed by Lukaszuk.
“I like the idea of developing and using tools that make this kind of music more accessible to people regardless of their skill level with music technology and expanding the notion of what can be considered a musical instrument.”
About Mike Lukaszuk
Michael Lukaszuk (b.1989) is a Canadian composer based in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is currently in the third year of a DMA in Composition at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music where he studies with Mara Helmuth. Michael holds degrees in music theory and composition from the University of Western Ontario. His music has been performed at events such as the International Computer Music Conference, the Toronto International Electroacoustic Symposium, the SEAMUS National Conference, the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, Electronic Music Midwest and New Music Edmonton’s Now Hear This Festival of New Music. In 2015, Michael received first prize in the SOCAN Foundation’s Hugh Le Caine Awards for electroacoustic music. While much of his recent output consists of fixed electronic works, improvisation with electronic and computer music instruments is an important part of his creative practice. Michael is the director of the Cincinnati Composers Laptop Orchestra Project (CiCLOP). He is particularly interested in designing new musical instruments that allow users with any level of experience to create and perform electronic and computer music.