Regarding the art of music composition… For me, the act of creating a piece of music requires first an act of exploration. The exploration can be a smaller part of a life-long quest or a single, isolated journey. In my music, these quests manifest themselves in many forms, such as the search for a new musical language, the exploration of the inherent musical possibilities of a scale or collection of pitches, the exploration of timbre, or the developmental possibilities revealed through new compositional techniques, instruments, or new technologies (to name only a few). I regard such undertakings as an exploration of undiscovered territory, as trips to new and unspoiled places where the sheer joy of discovery, or even the journey itself, is reason enough to go there. If these new places, or the journey itself, is interesting enough we bring back artifacts, memoirs, because we were excited enough about the discovery, or the journey, to take the time to document something of the experience. We bring back the best of it to share with those who have not yet been there. For me, this is enough. To explore, and to bring back some evidence of a place or journey that, for me, surpasses the mundane.
Ronald Keith Parks, born in Waynesville, North Carolina, USA, is an active composer of acoustic, electroacoustic and hybrid acoustic/electroacoustic music. His diverse output ranges from orchestral music to chamber works to interactive computer music. Recent commissions include Reflections and Lore for the 2015 Charlotte Composers Forum, 9 Dreams of Flying for the 2013 Charlotte New Music Festival, /// Elements for the Blue Ridge Chamber Players, Alhambra Tiles and Things Get Out of Hand… for the Out of Bounds Ensemble, Simple Things for the Charlotte Symphony’s Composer on Campus Project, A Matter of Perspective for Duo XXI, Off on a Tangent… for the Red Clay Saxophone Quartet, Torque, Wavelength and Afterimage 8 for the Charlotte Civic Orchestra, Afterimage 7 for the NeXT Ens, and …drift… for the Force of Nature artist exchange program.
Parks has written for numerous prominent performers and ensembles including the Blue Ridge Chamber Players, Out of Bounds Ensemble, Duo XXI, Red Clay Saxophone Quartet, the Charlotte Civic Orchestra, the NeXT Ens, the North Carolina School of the Arts Orchestra, the International Music Program Chamber Ensemble, the North Carolina School of the Arts String Orchestra, The Georgia Contemporary Ensemble, the Sally Fouse Flute Quartet, the Winthrop Guitar Ensemble, pianist Tomoko Deguchi, the Bradner-Deguchi piano duo, the Winthrop Wind Symphony, guitarist L.H. Dickert, flutist Jill O’Neil, and many others.
His compositions and papers have been selected for inclusion at numerous national and international festivals and conferences including the Malgrat del Mar International Music Festival, Society of Composers’ national and regional conferences, the Florida Electroacoustic Music Festival, the Society for Electroacoustic Music in the United States conference, the International Computer Music Conference, the Electronic Music Midwest Festival, the Spark Festival, the National Flute Association conference, the New West Electroacoustic Music Festival, the Australian Flute Festival, the The Two-Sided Triangle concert series in Essen Germany, the NextWave~ festival in Melbourne Australia, the Earfest and Computer Music at SUNY Stony Brook series, the Unbalanced Connection concerts at the University of Florida, the Timara Faculty and Guests Concert series at Oberlin Conservatory, Southeastern Composers’ League concerts, the College Music Society composers’ concerts and numerous performers’ and composers’ concert recitals around the world.
Dr. Parks’ research into granular sampling, granular synthesis methods, and FFT-based spectral filtering is included in the Amsterdam Catalogue of Csound Computer Instruments and has been featured at ICMC, SEAMUS, SCI, and various other conferences and professional venues and has been published in various conference proceedings.
His honors and awards include the Aaron Copland Award, the Outstanding Junior Professor Award at Winthrop University, the South Carolina Music Teacher’s Association Commission, Honorable Mentions in the Truman State/MACRO Composition Contest, the Minnesota Composers Forum, and the Shepard Composer of the Year Award, two Giannini Scholarships for Music Composition plus the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence at the North Carolina School of the Arts, and three Graeffe Memorial Scholarships for Composition and the Presidential Recognition Award at the University of Florida. His flute quartet “Counterparts” was selected as the set piece for the 11th annual Australian Flute Festival quartet competition. He was commissioned by the North Carolina School of the Arts’ International Music Program to write a work for their European tour and was awarded a grant from the Semans Creative Arts Foundation for the composition of an orchestral work that was premiered by the North Carolina School of the Arts Orchestra. He has received a Meet the Composer grant and in was nominated and elected to the Gamma Zeta Chapter of Pi Kappa Lambda, a national honor society for musicians, and is an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha.
Ron’s music is available a variety of labels. Torque, for orchestra was released as part of Spellbound: Captivating Works for Orchestra and Large Ensemble on Navona Records. Fractures, for digital media was included on the 2007 International Computer Music Conference proceedings CD, Residual, for digital media was included on the FEMF 10 year retrospective CD released on the Electronic Music Foundation label (CD 031), Non Divisi and Sul C, both for digital media were included on the 2005 and 2006 60X60 CDs released by Vox Novus, A Matter of Perspective, for violin and cello was released as part of Duo XXI’s release Quest: New Music for Violin and Cello (Albany Records ASIN: B0049HBFSG), and VoiceWall was included on the Society of Composers, Inc. Student Chapter CD Volume 1 from the University of Florida.
Dr. Parks earned the Bachelor of Music in composition from the North Carolina School of the Arts, an Masters of Music in composition from the University of Florida, and a Ph.D. in composition from the University at Buffalo. He is currently Professor of Composition, Music Technology, and Theory and is the Director of the Winthrop Computer Music Labs at Winthrop University.