ARTIST: Marcus Alessi Bittencourt
TITLE: Rabo de Arriya
LENGTH: 5:23
DATE: 2004

Here, I thought of sharing with you a little bit of the folk traditions of my beloved Brazil. Rabo-de-Arraia (2004) comes from several memories of watching Capoeira circles ("rodas de capoeira"). With more than 400 years of history, Capoeira is a true piece of Brazilian culture. More than simply a martial art, it is a dance, a sport, a game, a powerful musical event. If I was ever to film a Capoeira circle, with its dancer-fighters spinning around and around against an ever-changing backdrop of drummers and Berimbau players, I would most likely use several cameras, so one's eye would be everywhere: acrobatic eyes. But I only have microphones. And computers! It is curious to note that he whole ensemble of Capoeira musicians in this piece was actually recreated by computer algorithms programmed to improvise according to traditional styles. It is an automatic Capoeira-loom, perhaps?

Marcus Bittencourt is a Brazilian composer and pianist based in the USA. He studied music with composers such as Willy Correa de Oliveira and Tristan Murail, and he is best described as an Experimental musician, for he is a practitioner of a type of music which lives outside known traditions. Because of this, his music is marked by an extremely varied palette of musical sound materials and techniques, which reflect his intense investigation in the domains of form, polyrhythm and simultaneities, timbre, sound spatial perspective, microtonality, and orchestration of sound objects. Prolific both as an instrumental and an electroacoustic composer, his list of compositions includes works for orchestra, chamber ensembles, choir, solo instruments (specially the piano), operas, as well as several electroacoustic works. Marcus Bittencourt has been performing widely as a pianist, conductor, and sound-projectionist, often taking those tasks simultaneously, as in the case of his several piano performances with live electronics. His music has been played throughout the United States, Europe, and Brazil, and it is available through the Electric Music Collective label:

Among the awards he has received are the first prize at the Projeto Nascente V (1996), a seven year scholarship at Columbia University, and a residency at the Centro Studi Ligure of the Bogliasco Foundation in Genoa, Italy. His academic credentials include a Baccalaureate in Piano Performance from the Universidade de Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Master's and Doctoral degrees in Music Composition from Columbia University in the City of New York. He has taught Music at Columbia University and at Lehman College of CUNY, and he currently teaches Composition, Theory, and Computer Music at the College of William and Mary in Virginia (USA).

Since 2000, he runs his own highly experimental studio for Musique Concrete, the Zoologico.

Marcus A. Bittencourt
Williamsburg, VA
alessi AT