Tesla (Percussion and Electronics)
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Year Composed: 2013
Premiered by: Tim Perry
Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) was one of the most important inventors of the twentieth century. His work with electricity, specifically the alternating current delivery system, X-Ray, and Radio waves helped to create the world that we take for granted every day. The son of a Serbian Orthodox priest, he came to America in 1884 to work for the great inventor Thomas Edison. Unfortunately, the two men would come to despise each other and were in a state of continual competition. Tesla came in and out of great wealth from his inventions over his life, but his successes were often shadowed by his "Mad Scientist" within.
Instead of Tesla's electrical currents, this work explores alternating sonic currents. In today's world, the 60 Hz hum of industrialism is a constant in our lives. To emulate this, deep electronic drones produce atmospheric elements, while two drums oscillate in and out of phase to create a continuous stream of sonic information. This constant flow of sound, paired with sporadic and often "random" bursts of color, gives this piece its high voltage disposition.