Ian Dicke and Bill Alves: Cowboy Rounds and Gamelan

Cowboy Rounds by Ian Dicke reimagines a collection of folk songs from the John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern States Recording Trip archive at the Library of Congress.

Bill Alves presents new compositions for gamelan instruments and video with guests Maggie Parkins, cello, and Jeff Gauthier, violin.

Sunday, October 30, 2022, 7 p.m.
Drinkward Recital Hall

A side view of Bill Alves sitting on stage and performing in the gamelan. A few other musicians and instruments are in the background. Bill Alves. Photo courtesy of the artist.
A side view of Ian Dicke seated at a grand piano and reaching an electronic music device that is placed on the music stand of the piano. Ian Dicke. Photo courtesy of the artist.


Cowboy Rounds (2016)
   I. Christopher Columbo
   II. Peafowl Holler
   III. Worry Blues
   IV. Down by the Rocky Mountains
   V. The Dying Cowboy
   VI. Ox Driving Song
   VII. Home on the Range
Ian Dicke

Ian Dicke, voice, piano, electronics


Gending Chilao
Bill Alves

Maggie Parkins, cello
The HMC American Gamelan: Bill Alves, Gus Gil, Michael Lin, Alexis St. John

Liminal Landscape
Bill Alves

The HMC American Gamelan

Elegy for Bill Colvig
Bill Alves

Jeff Gauthier, violin
The HMC American Gamelan

Cowboy Rounds is a song cycle for piano/vocalist and live electronic processing. This work “remixes” pre-existing source material culled from the John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern States Recording Trip, an ethnographic field collection hosted online by the Library of Congress. Cowboy Rounds reexamines oral tradition and ownership through the lens of today’s internet-driven free culture movement. The folk recordings within the Lomax archive do not represent a final, unchangeable document, but rather a snapshot of each song, unique to its time, place, and performer. The lack of copyright in these field recordings invites current and future generations of musicians to continue developing the songs, either through digital manipulation of the recorded material itself or reconstructing elements of the recording through live performance. In that sense, Cowboy Rounds is a work deliberately caught between the ideological constructs of permanence and ephemera while building an intersection between new technologies and old traditions.

Ian Dicke is a composer inspired by social-political culture and music technology. Praised for his “refreshingly well-structured” (Feast of Music) and “uncommonly memorable” (Sequenza 21) catalogue of works, Dicke’s music has been commissioned and performed by ensembles and soloists around the world, including the New World Symphony, Alarm Will Sound, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Paul Dresher Ensemble, pianist Vicky Chow, The MATA Festival, ISCM World New Music Days, and the Atlantic Coast Center Band Director’s Association. Dicke has received grants, awards, and recognition from the Hellman Foundation, Barlow Endowment, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, New Music USA, New York Youth Symphony, ASCAP, and BMI, among others. He was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to research interactive musical interfaces and environments in Stockholm, Sweden and has served as an artist in residence at various institutions, including the MacDowell Colony and Atlantic Center for the Arts. In addition to his creative activities as a composer, Dicke runs Novel Music, a software company that specializes in unique and intuitive instruments designed to encourage happy accidents and inspire new musical ideas. He is also the founder and curator of the Outpost Concert Series, which connects Riverside, California’s musical culture with groundbreaking artists across the national contemporary music landscape. Dicke currently serves as an Associate Professor of Composition at the University of California, Riverside.

Bill Alves is a composer, video artist, and writer engaged at the intersections of musical cultures and technology. He studied the music of Java and Bali during a 1993-94 Fulbright fellowship and is now the director of the HMC American Gamelan. He is the co-author of Lou Harrison: American Musical Maverick and author of Music of the Peoples of the World is now in its third edition from Cengage/Schirmer. His recordings include The Terrain of Possibilities, Imbal-Imbalan, Mystic Canyon, and Guitars and Gamelan. His work with computer animation pioneer John Whitney inspired his abstract computer animations with music, now released by the Kinetica Video Library as Celestial Dance. He has extensively explored non-standard tunings in his work and is a co-director of MicroFest, the Southern California festival of microtonal music. He is on the faculty of Harvey Mudd College.

Listen to:
Gending Chilao
Elegy for Bill Colvig

Visit Safely
The concert series is open to the public. All audience members are required to give health attestation before entering the venue and wear a mask at all times regardless of vaccination status. The Covid-19 guidelines will be updated as new information becomes available.

HMC is deeply grateful for the generous support that created The Ken Stevens ’61 Founding Class Concert Series.

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