About

F. C. Zuke is an experimental artist in sound, video, and interdisciplinary media. He challenges mainstream ideas, genres, and styles and seeks to address underrepresented issues in his works through new forms of artistic expression. His works have been performed and exhibited in the United States, Europe, and Asia. He has also achieved academic and scholarly success, graduating with high distinction from the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in 2016 and completing a thesis project demonstrating the creative paths an artist might find through the analysis and study of other artistic works. The artist has made pedagogical contributions in the field of music, namely as an author of Abridged Guide to Species Counterpoint Exercises and as a mentor to students in the fields of music theory and composition, aural skills, and history. From 2015 to 2016 he helped form the Shadow Keys Performance Series, a collection of acoustic, electroacoustic, and interdisciplinary works utilizing mechanically controlled pianos. In 2017 he began study in the Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Kansas, specializing in Expanded Media. 

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C. V.


SELECTED WORKS

 

Mondschwarz (2016)

Acousmatic | Included on album “Sn”; available on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, and other streaming sites
Played in Finland on the Avaruusromua program on YLEISRADIO

A short, dark, acousmatic piece for “plucked sounds”. Mondschwarz was composed for the 50th birthday of Argentinian composer Juan Maria Solare.

 

The Drink You Drink (2016)

Audiovisual | 25’ | International premiere 6.November.2016, Bangalore, India
Honorable Mention awarded by The LA Underground Film Forum
Best Sound nominee 2016 Wolves Independent International Film Festival, Lithuania

The Drink You Drink is an experimental, sound-driven, symbolic film. It is inspired by the idea that two seemingly different things may in fact be the same, and that they may each lead to the same dark end. Each section of the film may be thought of as an intensification of this idea.

 

Graveyard Shift (2015)

Audiovisual |  8'40" | premiere 9.July.2015, Santa Cruz, CA, Santa Cruz New Music Society | 9’
2016 Matera Intermedia Festival, Matera, Italy
2017 Atlanterium Festival, Atlanta, Georgia

Graveyard Shift is an experimental film inspired by the events that I experienced while working overnight at a retail store. All videos were shot with a GoPro camera in Lincoln, Nebraska and in an abandoned pioneer's cemetery in western Iowa called Slates Cemetery (est. 1878).    

 

Niemansland (2015)

Yamaha Disklavier, laptops | collaboration with Mark Nickel, premiered 9.April.2015 | 9’
Premiere work to the Shadow Keys Performance Series, curators F. C. Zuke and Mark Nickel

                        After being introduced to a piece for player piano by Conlon Nancarrow, my friend Mark Nickel approached me about doing something with the modern day equivalent (the Yamaha Disklavier). We made a sketch for what the piece would be and took turns writing sections. We also wrote sections simultaneously, where certain ranges of the keyboard were assigned to each composer. The most fascinating part of this experience was seeing just how far we could push the instrument. We explored what the instrument was capable of and not capable of. This exploration led to some very interesting and extramusical results. The title refers to the absence of human touch in the piece as well as some of the barren textures.


EDUCATION

 

University of Kansas

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Expanded Media, Class of 2020

Graduate Research Fellow, Integrated Arts Research Initiative (IARI)

 

University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Bachelor of Music in Music Composition 2016, Graduation with High Distinction, GPA: 4.0

Honors Thesis: Analyzing and Reinterpreting Dimensions of Bach’s Harmonic Rhythm

 


AWARDS, SCHOLARSHIPS, GRANTS
 

Patricia Joyce Ellis Art/Dance Scholarship
Lockwood Scholarship
John Merle Patterson Memorial Scholarship
KU Art Department Scholarship
McGrath Fine Arts Scholarship
Betty T. Collard Scholarship
Luella F. Stewart Art Scholarship
Bushong Art Scholarship
Raymond & Elizabeth Goetz Scholarship
2017 Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts Dean's Award for Academic Excellence
Honorable Mention, 2016 LA Underground Film Forum, Los Angeles
Best Sound Nomination, 2016 Wolves Independent International Film Festival, Lithuania
Official Selection, 2016 Matera Intermedia Festival, Italy
Graduation with High Distinction from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln
2016 Inductee to Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society
Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experience (UCARE) Grant Recipient
University of Nebraska Tuition Assistant Grant
University of Nebraska UNL Opportunity Grant
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Dean’s List
Northeast Community College President’s List and Dean’s List

 

OTHER OFFERED AWARDS

Duke University Teaching Assistantship (MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts)
Duke University Tuition Remission Award
University of Wisconsin­–Milwaukee Teaching Assistantship (MFA in Film)
UW-Milwaukee Chancellor’s Graduate Student Award
UW-Milwaukee Nonresident Tuition Remission
2015 Global Gateway Scholarship to Study Abroad
2015 Christian Lieding Scholarship and Fellowship


RESEARCH EXPERIENCE

 

Graduate Research Fellow, Integrated Arts Research Initiative, 2017-2018
Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas
Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

 

Research Assistant, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, 2013-2014
Project Title: School of Music Performance Archives and Digitization
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Anita Breckbill

Mission: Determine the most efficient means by which analog tape recordings can be converted to digital format and archived for future access; determine which cleaning tools should be used to improve the audio quality, yet preserve the integrity, of these recordings.

Result:  A step-by-step handbook of best practices for digitizing analog tape, which is currently being used by employees at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. 


TEACHING EXPERIENCE

Composition Mentor : Oversee student compositions and suggest methods by which students’ work might be strengthened. This opportunity was part of a composition pedagogy course that involved digital music and audiovisual projects.

Tutor : Work with undergraduate students in order to help them excel in courses on theory, aural skills, history, and composition.

Teaching Tools: I have completed several projects, articles, and papers that are intended to be teaching tools. These include articles that address problems traditional education poses to creativity and individualism, a curriculum for teaching music composition to undergraduate students, several blog posts which analyze older music and make comparisons to modern music, and a checklist-style guide to 16th century counterpoint exercises. 


MEMBERSHIPS

Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society
Golden Key International Honour Society
Sigma Alpha Lambda National Leadership and Honors Association
American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP)
Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS)
Society of Composers, Inc. (SCI)
Time Vanguard (interdisciplinary student artists)


TECHNOLOGICAL EXPERIENCE AND TRAINING

Video capture (DSLR rigs, digital videocameras)
Video editing and compositing software (FCPX, Motion, Premiere, After Effects)
DAW/sequencing software (Logic Pro, Ableton Live, Reaper, Pro Tools)
Sound capture (field recoding, studio recording)
Sound synthesis (additive, subtractive, FM, etc.)
Notation software (Finale, Sibelius, MuseScore, Noteflight)
Audio sampling (creating and modifying sample libraries)
Basic lighting rigs (softboxes, 3-point lighting setups)
PC construction, repair, and modification
MIDI keyboards, controllers, and instruments
Various effects processors, interfaces, rack units, soundboards and mixing systems


AREAS OF INTEREST

Audiovisual, experimental, avant-garde, surreal, interdisciplinary art
Symbolism and obscured meanings in art
Electroacoustic composition and sound design
Timbre design and sound synthesis
Utilizing nonmusical sounds in musical ways
Screenings and performances in non-traditional venues or settings
Art intended for diverse audiences (e.g. the professional and the layman)


EMPLOYMENT
 

Graduate Research Fellow, Spencer Museum of Art, 2017-2018

Graduate Research Fellow in the Spencer Museum of Art as part of the Integrated Arts Research Initiative.

 

Digital Archivist, Baylor, Evnen, Curtiss, Grimmit & Witt, LLP, 2016-2017

            Baylor Evnen is one of the largest law firms in the Nebraska. My position involves digitizing, archiving, and destroying highly confidential legal files. This has been an excellent opportunity to be part of a team who works together to accomplish enormous projects. The position has significantly improved my teamwork and communication skills, and I have been able to demonstrate my ability to work with high attention to detail and consistent professionalism.

 

Library Aide II, University of Nebraska Music Library, May 2014 to May 2016

Assist patrons in acquiring materials; archive and maintain scores, books, media and special collections held by the UNL Music Library; digitize analog tape recordings and train a new employee who will continue the digitization process in the future.

Awards: UNL Libraries Student Assistant of the Week

 

Tutor, private, 2013 to present

Assist undergraduate students in courses on theory, aural skills, history, and composition.

 

Research Assistant, Undergraduate Creative Activities & Research Experience, 2013-2014

Determine the most efficient means by which analog tape recordings can be converted into digital format and archived for future access.


WORKS

 

(Explorer film) (2017)

Audiovisual (in progress)

 

Mondschwarz (2016)

Included on album “Sn”; available on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, and other streaming sites

Played in Finland on the Avaruusromua program on YLEISRADIO

A short, dark, acousmatic piece for “plucked sounds”. Mondschwarz was composed for the 50th birthday of Argentinian composer Juan Maria Solare.

 

The Drink You Drink (2016)

Audiovisual | 25’ | International premiere 6.November.2016, Bangalore, India

Honorable Mention awarded by The LA Underground Film Forum

Best Sound nominee 2016 Wolves Independent International Film Festival, Lithuania

The Drink You Drink is an experimental, sound-driven, symbolic film. It is inspired by the idea that two seemingly different things may in fact be the same, and that they may each lead to the same dark end. Each section of the film may be thought of as an intensification of this idea.

 

Graveyard Shift (2015)

Audiovisual | premier 9.July.2015, Santa Cruz, CA, Santa Cruz New Music Society | 9’

2016 Matera Intermedia Festival, Matera, Italy

2017 Atlanterium Festival, Atlanta, Georgia

Graveyard Shift is an experimental film inspired by the events that I experienced while working overnight at a retail store. All videos were shot with a GoPro camera in Lincoln, Nebraska and in an abandoned pioneer's cemetery in western Iowa called Slates Cemetery (est. 1878).    

 

LoveBug (2015)

Video, voice, electric guitar, electric bass, piano, Disklavier, electronics | 8’

A large-scale interdisciplinary work that involves live performers, a Yamaha Disklavier, video, sounds captured with a field recorder and electronic sounds created through analog synthesis technology.

 

Plastic Mountain & Stupid Animals (2015)

Electric gtr., piano, voice | premier 17.April.2015, Kimball Recital Hall, Lincoln, NE | 12'

 

"Plastic Mountain" is a symbolic story. The protagonist is pulled towards The Mountain by the temptation of Mister Tree. The Mountain is depicted by small musical ideas based on the interval of a 7th. "Stupid Animals" uses repeating tritone figures in the guitar and gestures in the piano to fit the dark comedy of the text. The analogies made between animals and humans are inspired by things that happened on the farm, which I grew up on, and by events that were recent news stories at the time of composition.

 

Niemansland (2015)

Yamaha Disklavier, laptops | collaboration with Mark Nickel, premiered 9.April.2015 | 9’

Premiere work to the Shadow Keys Performance Series, curators F. C. Zuke and Mark Nickel

                        After being introduced to a piece for player piano by Conlon Nancarrow, my friend Mark Nickel approached me about doing something with the modern day equivalent (the Yamaha Disklavier). We made a sketch for what the piece would be and took turns writing sections. We also wrote sections simultaneously, where certain ranges of the keyboard were assigned to each composer. The most fascinating part of this experience was seeing just how far we could push the instrument. We explored what the instrument was capable of and not capable of. This exploration led to some very interesting and extramusical results. The title refers to the absence of human touch in the piece as well as some of the barren textures.

 

Cave (2014)

solo piano | Premiered 25.November.2014 | 12’

Cave is inspired by the beautiful church sequence, Victimæ Paschali Laudes, a piece usually ascribed to 11th century priest and writer, Wipo of Burgundy. The musical material for each of the five movements is drawn from a quintal perspective of the original church sequence. 

 

Babel (2014)

string quartet and guitar|  9’ | written for the KONVERGENCE Ensemble, Czech Republic

The sound of Babel is that of suspended hopelessness. The texture, the subdued and confused form, and the middle-eastern sounding interjections are meant to depict the Biblical story of the tower of Babel. 

                       

Do Not Disturb (2013)

mixed chamber sextet with electronics and shovels | 32’

Instrumentation: Bb clarinet, bass clarinet, trumpet, 2 percussionists, acoustic piano, electric piano, contrabass, electric bass

Do Not Disturb is an extended electroacoustic chamber work that uses shovels on stage as well as recorded samples of shovels. Further synthesis between the acoustic and electric worlds is created by recorded trumpet sounds that are manipulated to sound more like a stringed instrument. Several other examples of the connection between electric and acoustic sounds can be found in this piece.

 

Tailfeather (2013) dedicated to The Crane Harp Ensemble

Harp ensemble | premier 10.November.2013, New York City by Crane Harp Ensemble | 1’

winning entry in the VoxNovus Fifteen-Minutes-of-Fame competition

“…Brimming with inky velvet mysticism, Tailfeather presents a stratifying droning, which envisions a beast of a darker temperament.”
           -Review by Erin Bomboy, Nov. 22 2013

 

Stall (2013)

clarinet, percussion and two pianos | 6’

Stall uses a mirrored form (ABCDCBA) to reflect a palindromic airplane flight. About halfway through the piece, everything that has occurred happens again, but backwards. The journey to the top is completed and the one back begins. The ride down is a bit more violent.

 

Slappa and Grabba (2013)

for flute choir and electronics | 7’

Slappa and Grabba, for four flutes and fixed-media, feature aggressive and repetitive rhythmic elements. Slappa and Grabba are two characters from an Egyptian, sand-filled level from the Nintendo64 game "Banjo-Kazooie".

 

The Insatiable (2013) 

for orchestra | 15’

 

Saya Tambora (2012)

clarinet, percussion and piano | 5’

On April 10th, 1815, an Indonesian volcano called Tambora erupted with the largest volcanic force known to have happened on Earth in the last 10,000 years. The word 'Saya' literally means 'I' in the Malay language. This piece was written not to capture the horror that must have taken place on that day, but to capture the perspective of the volcano. I believe the rhythms and broken melodies in this piece portray the volcano as some sort of chaotic, destructive child, exerting all of his pent-up energy.

 

Disintegration of Adam (2012)

violin, piano and electronics | 13’

 

For the Inadequate (2012)

SSAATTBB and piano

written for the Northeast Community College Ebony and Crimson Honor Choir | 6’


SELECTED PAPERS AND PRESENTATIONS

 

Analyzing and Reinterpreting Dimensions of Bach’s Harmonic Rhythm (2016)

A senior honors thesis that separates and analyzes the elements that contribute to harmonic rhythm in Bach’s “Herr unser Herrscher” (St. John Passion) and the issues that one faces when analyzing a work in such a way. This paper also describes my creative process for writing a new work which reinterprets the meaning of this analysis.

The project aims to demonstrate how musical conventions might be reinterpreted through a modern artistic lens. More importantly, it demonstrates how an education in the arts can be put to good use in realizing new works and how students might actually apply what they have learned in the classroom.

 

Checklists for Species Counterpoint Exercises (in progress)

A 40-page guide to species counterpoint that serves as a checklist for students of these exercises. This guide is specifically designed for use with Felix Salzer’s and Carl Schachter’s Counterpoint in Composition (or similar book on species counterpoint). The goal of this project was to provide an intelligible and easily accessible list of rules and guidelines for species exercises.

 

 Teaching With Art In Mind (2015)

            This article/presentation describes my approach to teaching composition to undergraduate students. It addresses issues of composing in academia and encourages students to break free from the status quo. The goal of my curriculum is to produce professional, freethinking artists through the exposure to traditional and nontraditional ideas.

 

Navigating Frank Zappa’s Discography (2015)

            A 20-page paper that outlines the artistic trends of Frank Zappa’s career. This project culminated with a list of important works from Zappa’s discography that might best expand the collection of a library or individual. After this work was completed, it resulted in the UNL Music Library acquiring several new Zappa albums for their collection.

 

Ligeti’s Requiem: Inspiration and Intent (2015)

            A presentation and paper on György Ligeti’s Requiem, which investigates the methods the composer used to produce this innovative work. This project explores Ligeti’s historical inspiration for his “avant-garde black mass”.

 

 

Analysis and Commentary on J.S. Bach: First Ten Chorales (2015)

An analysis of the first ten chorales of J.S. Bach as found in the Albert Riemenschneider collection. This work analyzes Bach’s simultaneous mastery of both harmonic and contrapuntal techniques. Furthermore, it provides a commentary as to how Bach’s compositional principles can be essential tools for composers of almost any style.

 

Procedures for the Digitization of the School of Music Recitals (2015)

Best practices for digitizing analog tape recordings. Presented in the form of a step-by-step guide, this handbook is a result of my endeavors as a Research Assistant at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

 

Phrygian Skeletons (2014)

Research of compositions from different musical periods that utilize melodies based on the Phrygian mode.  This paper covers choral music such as Minnesinger song from Konrad von Würzburg, Mass music from Josquin des Prez, and Johannes-Passion by Heinrich Schütz.

 

Die Sonderbare Musik von Karlheinz Stockhausen (2014)

            A lecture concerning the influence that Karlheinz Stockhausen had on the classical and pop music worlds through his avant-garde philosophies and compositions.