Cornell Set

Complete Work Title: 

Cornell Set — four poems with computer music

Performance Medium: 

poetry reading with computer music

  1. Gorge Dweller: Evensong I (Tacey M. Atsitty)
  2. Elegy for a Car (Clayton Pityk)
  3. What is Broken (Benjamin Garcia)
  4. In Mid-Autumn: Shanxi Province 2007 (Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers)



Date Composed: 

December 2010 - April 2011

Performance Information: 

The 4-channel computer music requires Max/MSP or pure data for performance.

Additional Information: 
  • This work was made possible by a generous commission from the Creative Writing Program and the Department of English at Cornell University, with special thanks to Alice Fulton and the collaborating poets.
  • Included on the album Improbable Encounters (innova 873, 2014).

Performance/Broadcast History: 
  • 21 October 2015; Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts (Brno, Czech Republic)
  • 24 June 2015; Abrons Center (New York City, NY) — New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival

    Joseph Klein, recitation

  • 18 March 2014; University of North Texas (Denton, TX)

    Stephen Morscheck, recitation

  • 19 October 2013; Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, OH) — 34th Annual BGSU New Music Festival

    Elizabeth Pearse, recitation

  • 20 October 2012; Living Arts of Tulsa OK Electric Festival (Tulsa, OK)
  • 26 May 2012; Sichuan Conservatory of Music (Chengdu, China)

    Joseph Klein, recitation

  • 1 March 2012; Connecticut College (New London, CT) — 13th Biennial Arts and Technology Symposium

    David Jaffe, recitation

  • 3 October 2011; University of North Texas (Denton, TX)

    Heidi Dietrich Klein, recitation

  • 15 April 2011; Cornell University (Ithaca, NY), presented as part of the Department of English Reading Series [premiere]

    Tacey M. Atsitty, Clayton Pityk, Benjamin Garcia, & Elizabeth Rogers — recitation

Program Notes: 

In the spring of 2010, I was contacted by poet and Cornell University English Professor, Alice Fulton — whose poems I had set to computer music several years earlier — about undertaking a similar project with the second-year MFA poetry students in Cornell’s Creative Writing Program. A dozen poems were submitted for consideration, from which four — each by a different poet — were selected for this collection. The poems were chosen for their contrasting content and style, allowing for a variety of approaches in the computer music setting as well. Specific references in the text provided the impetus for many of the processed sounds (e.g., cars and dogs in the Pityk poem, birds and rain in the Garcia poem); in some cases, the text reading itself provided the source material (this occurs to some degree in each setting, though the computer music in the Atsitty poem is based entirely on a reading of the text by the poet).

Cornell Set was commissioned by the Creative Writing Program and the Department of English at Cornell University. The work was first performed by poets Tacey M. Atsitty, Clayton Pityk, Benjamin Garcia, and Elizabeth Rogers on 15 April 2011 at Cornell University. It is included on the album Improbable Encounters (innova 873, 2014).