A gong suspended over a still pool.

Matthew Goodheart

Artist in Residence, 2015

Artist Statement

I began my career as a free-jazz pianist, and while my work has changed dramatically since those early years, the deep connection between the physicality of performance and the sonic possibilities that emerge from the instrument itself left a signifying mark on my aesthetics. While my pieces take many forms – sound installation, written composition, improvisation – the unifying thread is an exploration of the musical instrument as a unique object, an otherness whose subtle and idiosyncratic natures create the terms with which we can engage them. To explore in this kind of intimacy and immediacy, I draw on heavily computer technology as an analytical and compositional tool, and frequently use transducers (small speakers) to activate the instruments so that they sound autonomously and react to their environment. Most recently, I have begun investigating performance and installation spaces as an extension of the instrument, seeking ways to draw on spatial acoustics as a foundational temporal and sonic element.

While At Headlands

During the residency, I plan to continue working on my large ensemble work For Five Scattered In Ensembles. This large-scale, immersive work sets the audience amidst four instrumental ensembles with an additional “ensemble” of four large gongs placed throughout the space. The work, at least 40 minutes in length, lies in a middle ground between sound-art installation and performative composition. It combines multiple tuning systems within the ensembles and an electroacoustic “re-embodied sound” technique in the metal percussion, where the gongs are controlled by a computer and seem to sound of their own accord. The sounds of each place I have spent time developing the piece have been incorporated into the work itself through the use of local field recordings to generate timing, harmonic, and timbral elements. At the Headlands, I look forward to making and employing additional recordings from natural landscape.

Banner image credit: Brian Wilkes.

Selected Video

naked eye, hidden ear, 2014; multimedia installation (collaboration with Geotz Rogge).

Bracken Tongues Wept (excerpts), 2014; for piano with autonomous viola and metal percussion.

for 17 instruments, 2012; immersive composition for large ensemble.