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Eric Haltmeier to Create Original Musical Composition at NCDD Austin

We’re very excited to announce the special role that musician and educator Eric Haltmeier will be playing at the 2008 NCDD conference. Using a variety of acoustic and digital instruments, and collecting sound samples throughout the 3-day conference, Eric will create and perform music that will serve to reflectively represent conference themes in sound.  Eric will work with our graphic recording team, and conference attendees will have the opportunity to become a part of the musical creation.

Update: Listen to Eric’s NCDD 2008 composition at http://www.erichaltmeier.com/dialoguesongs.htm.

Eric has worked with D&D practitioner Don Proffit in the past. In fact, we learned about Eric because in his workshop titled “Cafe U,” Don plans to have Eric create a “real-time, improvised musical score documenting our journey through the U, providing an authentic example of co-sensing, co-presencing and co-creating during this session.” Needless to say, we were intrigued and wanted to learn more.

You can see an incredible example of Eric’s improvised musical composing at http://emhmusic.blogspot.com/2008/05/cafe-concerto.html, where the process for creating Cafe Concerto is outlined. You can listen to a number of MP3’s to see how the piece evolved. The piece begins with ambient sounds of street noises, leading to the sounds typically found in a cafe (clinking glasses, cash registers, conversations). The ambient sounds lead into a layer of music inspired by a Peruvian percussion rhythm. “Vision Statements” were collected from participants and recorded as sound clips which, when heard in the musical composition, represent the array of ideas heard and overheard in conversation.

As the cafe process evolved at this event, participants wrote important individual “notes” (or thoughts) on circular pieces of paper which a graphic recorder then placed on a wall mural that looked like a musical staff. These ‘notes’ ended up forming three different ‘melodies’ that were to become the integral musical material of the Cafe Concerto. Each cafe participant held onto one of their written ‘notes’ and was then asked to read the note into a microphone. Every person attending the cafe recorded their own ‘sound note’. These ‘human notes’ were incorporated in the Cafe Concerto in between each of the melodic phrases.

The Cafe Concerto was performed in real-time at the end of the cafe, as we plan to do on the last day of the 2008 NCDD conference, using a combination of keyboard controllers, laptop software, and saxophone. The performance acted as a reflective summary of the entire cafe. The final composition, bringing together all of the above elements, can be heard at www.box.net/shared/9ec612l0c0.

Eric Haltmeier is an active performing musician and educator.  For twelve years he taught and developed the Instrumental Music Program at Lawrence High School in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.  Eric has also been on the faculty of Westminster Choir College of Rider University since 2000, teaching courses in music education and technology.  He performs regularly with his experimental-jazz trio and with Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter (and former student) Matt Cranstoun.  Eric’s current research interest focuses on the development of critical media literacy through the arts, education, and technology.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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  1. […] team will also be working with Eric Haltmeier to add a visual dimension to his Cafe Concerto, a unique musical piece that will reflectively represent the conference experience in […]

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