#WildSound Contest Celebrates Sounds from Everyday Life

By DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, January 29, 2015 Artists Inspiring Community

[About a 6 MIN read]

The #wildsound Songwriting Contest was a nation-wide songwriting contest created by the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center to celebrate the concept of found sound in new music. Inspired by Wild Sound, Grammy-winning drummer Glenn Kotche’s groundbreaking composition for Chicago’s acclaimed Third Coast Percussion, the Contest also highlighted the October 2014 concert by Third Coast Percussion featuring the world premiere of Wild Sound.

The Composition

The work for Wild Sound began nearly two years ago with the concept, which advanced when Kotche visited the University of Notre Dame during Third Coast Percussion’s initial summer residency with the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center in July 2013. Partnering with the University of Notre Dame Department of Engineering, students and faculty completed designs for custom instruments performed and then destroyed on stage—with the sounds of creation and destruction woven into the musical composition.

What is percussion, performance, theater or experience? It is new territory in video, lighting, and sound.

“I always find when there’s a lot of questions that you can’t readily get the answers to, that means it’s going to be something really cool and exciting.” –Glenn Kotche

Third Coast Percussion’s collab with fellow Chicagoan Glenn Kotche has ideas operating on so many levels it’s almost performance art. A widely admired composer and drummer for the Grammy-winning Wilco, Kotche recorded found sounds throughout a recent world tour for texture, to “awaken” his ears and draw a blueprint of sonic ideas for Third Coast Percussion’s October debut of Wild Sound.

The Contest

Open to amateur and professional songwriters, the #wildsound Contest awarded First Prize, Second Prize, and Honorable Mentions for works that focused on originality, melody, composition, and the use of found sound—sounds the songwriter recorded from everyday life or ordinary to extraordinary objects. Whether for live or tape, acoustic or electronic, what mattered most to judges were songs with ideas and sounds unique to the composer—not perfect sound production. Like Kotche’s inspiration for and work on Wild Sound, sound recordings could be from a phone or computer or sampled from an existing homegrown collection.

The Executive Judging Panel were notable industry veterans including the members of Third Coast Percussion, Glenn Kotche, and Eighth Blackbird’s Tim Munro. After the panel selected finalists, the public voted on the songs that made the cut. The winners announced in January 2015 were:

1st place—Michael Pounds for Collection (Short Version)

2nd place—Nicolas Cline for Grainstream

Honorable Mention—Jackson J for EcceRomani

About Wild Sound

Wild Sound was commissioned by the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center and the Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program, with generous funding provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Chamber Music America Endowment Fund. Additional support provided by The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series. This project was supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Art Works. The presentation was supported by the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program ofArts Midwest, which is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts with additional contributions from Indiana Arts Commission and General Mills Foundation.


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