John Supko

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JOHN SUPKO is a composer of contemporary classical and electronic music, with a particular interest in computer-generated randomness. He claims to seek “constant variety while maintaining constant identity.” He holds music degrees from Indiana University and Princeton University, and is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including the Fulbright, the BMI Student Composer Award, and two ASCAP/Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, and a Meet the Composer Grant. Supko has written music for the Ciompi Quartet, FLUX Quartet, and NewAm recording ensembles Due East and Newspeak. He is currently an associate professor at Duke University.

Supko made his New Amsterdam debut with two compositions that comprise the entirety of flute/percussion duo Due East’s album drawn only once. The first piece, “This window makes me feel” is based on a procedural poem by contemporary poet Robert Fitterman, with the text whispered on tape by mezzo-soprano Hai-Ting Chinn over a wash of ambient noises, voices, drones, piano, flutes, and percussion. The second piece, “Littoral” includes excerpts from texts by contemporary Dutch poet Cees Nooteboom and 16th-Century English writer Richard Hakluyt, and similarly contrasts electronic and acoustic elements. In the liner notes, Jeffrey Edelstein describes his emotional response to “Littoral” as “a voyage hewing to the shore of an allusive music.” Both compositions make use of what Supko calls “tuned randomness,” or the use of Max/MSP to generate tuned random melodic and harmonic material for his compositions. “This window makes me feel” and “Littoral” are recorded in 5.1 surround sound with video accompaniments by Don Sheehy and Kristine Marx, respectively.