Peace Dividend

This piece is included on the System Error CD.  It was created at the Headlands Center for the Arts in San Francisco as part of a residency in the Spring of 1993. The Headlands Center For The Arts is located in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area on a converted military base, (thus the title). 

Peace Dividend is an improvisational conducting "game" piece. It can be performed by any combination of instruments and a conductor. Here's how it works: The performers are given ten written instructions and five graphic gestures. The conductor selects one of these instructions or gestures and conveys his/her selection to the ensemble by indicating the appropriate number which corresponds to the selected instruction or gesture. The conductor then indicates the precise time at which the ensemble is to begin carrying out the instruction or begin playing the gesture. Using this method, the conductor is free to move from one thing to another at will and should be able to improvisationally "play" the ensemble like an instrument. 

The piece is obviously very heavily reliant on the improvisational skills and ensemble sensitivity of the performers. They are free to interpret the material in what ever manner they see fit. They are however, bound to the moment to moment whims of the conductor and must stay with him/her all times during the performance. 

Peace Dividend was specifically written for presentation as part of the April 1993 Headlands Center For The Arts "Open Studio" day. Most of the musicians participating in the piece saw the music for the first time when they arrived at the session. Part of the idea of this piece was to come up with something that could be learned, performed and recorded in one day. It was also a way for me to do something with my old and new Bay Area musician friends while I was in town. 

The finished work is essentially a tape piece constructed from live source material. Five improvisational live-to-2-track takes were recorded at the session. The best of this material was then assembled in a layered manner in stereo pairs on a multi-track machine and mixed down to a stereo master thus creating the finished tape piece.


Symon Michael
Joe Keline
Mark Byne
Kathy Ketman
Lana Nova
Mike Bugge
Julie McNeil
Gary Ronne
Mike Olson


Tenor Sax
Tenor Sax
Electric Guitar
Found Object Performer
Found Object Performer
Found Object Performer
Found Object Performer
Minimoog and Improvisational Conductor

My equipment setup while I was at the Headlands Center for the Arts.  They gave me this old gymnasium as a work space during my residency.  We recorded Peace Dividend in this room.

Check out my old Mac, complete with a custom paint job.  I still have it.  And yes, that's a dot matrix printer in the foreground.  (I am very old.) 

Headlands gear setup