nF Presents – Alexandria Smith

Alexandria Smith


(tap/click each work title to expand program notes)

Hearing Vision (2023) - Alexandria Smith


Exhale 2 for Alexandria Smith and Byron Asher (2023)

breathe; get intune with the rhythm of your body.
once you find body tempo, make eye contact.
explore cells and improvise in between.
try to observe the rhythm of your breath without controlling it.
leave space where desired.
Play to the length of your breath.

Exhale 2 is an exploration of sound, listening, and breath. Inspired by Pauline Oliveros’ Sonic Meditations and performing with Byron, this piece features cells of instructions and melodies that the performers can visit between improvised material.

Heart Music, for Milford Graves (2023) - Alexandria Smith and Daniel Meinecke

Graves’ stated that his research:
“…[O]riginate[d] from a belief that music is a universal language, and a curiosity to define the primary building blocks of that language…Exploring these universals led me to what believe is the common denominator: the human heartbeat. ” (

Inspired by the musical and medical research of Milford Graves, Daniel Meinecke and I will perform improvisations that explore the healthy unevenness of heart rhythms.

Voices in the Skin 3 for Alexandria Smith and Erin Demastes (2023)

Dr. Barbara B. Brown, a research psychologist that popularized the use of biofeedback and first president of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback stated in her text New Mind, New Body (1974):

“Emotional judgements expressed by the skin and those expressed by words are often at great odds. And more often than not the voicing of the skin cut through convoluted language and the pressures of consciousness with a remarkable accuracy about the nature of reality. Has man been so inordinately proud of his conscious mind that he has abnegated the beauties and extraordinary abilities of the subconscious? Is it possible that the genuine evolution of mind has taken place below the level of a consciousness busy with applying socially created brakes to the natural development of the psyche?” (88)

Throughout this piece, Erin and I will explore alternative methods of ensemble communication and communicate through the voices inside our skin. This piece is my 3rd exploration improvisation exploring these ideas, and the first time I will be performing them with a duo partner.

Subaqueous (2019, revised 2023) - Alexandria Smith

Subaqueous is defined as existing, formed, or taking place underwater. This piece is a multimedia exploration of the literal definition of the word – water is abstracted into patterns, textures, and unnatural time and the deeply personal, musical expression of embodying music and being present in a space. This piece was one of my first experiments making musical environments that could help me channel affect and explore ideas that often felt too vulnerable for me to express in front of an audience. Originally written for processed flugelhorn, projections, and 4 channel audio, this revision will be performed with trumpet and my wearable electronics.

Our Full Selves (2023)

Our Full Selves is an improvisation for quartet that was added to the set the day of the concert. A celebration of the individual and collective vision, energy, and talent of our four performers, we hope that Our Full Selves will provide to be a memorable send off for the end of nienteForte’s 13th season.

Artist Bios

Praised by The New York Times for her “appealingly melancholic sound” and “entertaining array of distortion effects,” Alexandria Smith is a multimedia artist, audio engineer, scholar, trumpeter, and educator that enjoys working at the intersection of all these disciplines. Her creative practice and research interests focus on building, designing, theorizing, and performing with wearable electronics that translate embodied, biological data into interactive sonic and visual environments. To explore how electronic music is embodied through practice, she has been experimenting with ways to integrate biofeedback training and sensor observation into her electronic music, build controllers that go beyond keyboards and drum pads, and perform with interactive visual environments. Her research in this interdisciplinary area was recently published in Arcana Musicians on Musicians X and presented at MOXsonic. She is currently on faculty at Loyola University New Orleans and will be joining the faculty of the School of Music at the Georgia Institute of Technology in August 2023.

Byron Asher is a saxophonist and clarinetist and composer based in New Orleans. Raised in Maryland, he has performed across Europe and the US at major festivals and art centers including the Kennedy Center in Washington DC and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival as well as at dive bars and DIY spaces. He is a 2022 OneBeat Fellow, a program of the US State Department. As a composer, Byron’s work has been supported by MacDowell, South Arts, and A Studio In The Woods (New Orleans), among others. He leads Skrontch Music, an experimental large ensemble, and Basher, a “free jazz party band,” and is an equal collaborator in Flaxan, a brass and woodwind chamber quartet, among many other projects. Also an educator, Byron is adjunct faculty in the music department at the University of New Orleans.

Erin Demastes is an experimental composer, performer, and instrument maker whose research combines sound and technology with humor, drama, and absurdity. She uses everyday, household objects and hacked electronics for her installations and performances and subverts their use and perception with play and experimentation. Erin received an M.F.A. in Experimental Sound Practices and Integrated Media from California Institute of the Arts, a B.M. in jazz studies and piano performance from Loyola University New Orleans, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in experimental music and digital media at Louisiana State University. She worked as an audio technician, artist, and educator for five years in Los Angeles and as a jazz and classical pianist, composer, and arranger for ten years in the New Orleans area.

Daniel Meinecke is a pianist and composer currently living in New Orleans. Mr. Meinecke was one of the recipients of the Detroit Jazz Festival’s New Voices Series in 2016. At that performance he premiered his Big Band project where he brings his original voice to a large ensemble format. Mr. Meinecke received his Masters of Music from Wayne State University in 2016. Mr. Meinecke’s original composition “In The Clouds” was featured by the Pan-American Detroit Big Band at the 2016 Panama Jazz Festival featuring Danilo Perez as a soloist. He now teaches piano skills, ensembles and private piano lessons at Loyola University and has found success performing around the world with Quiana Lynell an award-winning jazz vocalist. He also performs his own original music in the New Orleans area as the Daniel Meinecke Ensemble.

nF Acknowledgements

nienteForte would like to give heartfelt thanks to our Season 13 donors and sponsors. We would also like to acknowledge the following people and organizations who have offered their time and resources to make this season possible:

  • Michael Batt
  • Kari Bersharse
  • Sophia Blessinger
  • Maxwell Dulaney
  • Ray Evanoff
  • Chelsea Hines
  • Lisa Hooper
  • Megan Ihnen
  • Dylan Koester
  • Kyle Peeples
  • Heather Penton
  • Phillip Schuessler
  • Daniel Sharp
  • Rick Snow
  • Andrew Szypula
  • Alan Theisen
  • Hotel Peter and Paul
  • Kappa Kappa Psi Rho Chapter
  • Tulane University’s Music and Science Technology Program
  • Versipel New Music

Join the nF Community with a tax-deductible charitable donation!

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