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Thursday, December 02, 2021

Two UF grad students among finalists for Sound in Space music competition

Instead of performing a traditional music recital, two students will be playing their hearts out over 32 loudspeakers.

Andrew Babcock, 34, and Chester Udell, 28, two UF music composition graduate students, are finalists in the Sound in Space Festival, an electroacoustic music competition held in Boston Nov. 17 to 19.

The contest is part of a festival celebrating 60 years of electroacoustic musical traditions in France and Germany. The Goethe-Institut Boston, the Cultural Services of the French Consulate Boston, Northeastern University and Harvard University are presenting the festival.

These electroacoustic musical traditions will be displayed through Harvard University's "Hydra" Speaker-Orchestra, 32 speakers designed to augment the acoustics of the space.

Babcock and Udell were two of the six finalists selected for the competition. Of the six finalists, they are the only Americans. The other four finalists are from Canada.

"It is clear that the University of Florida must have a very exciting and good program in this field," said Annette Klein, program department curator for the Goethe-Institut Boston.

For Babcock, composing music and pursuing academia was a part of the "natural progression" of his musical career. Babcock's musical passion began with singing in choir and then evolved into a career in commercials, television, radio and film in New York.

He said his background was helpful to him in developing his electroacoustic skills.

"I was able to apply certain processes that were required for commercials and films to sound design that needed an experimental edge," Babcock said.

Babcock credits his professors and colleagues at UF for bringing forth different strengths and expertise.

"The community that we have really strengthens the work that we do," he said. "There's such a great feedback circuit amongst the students."

For Udell, his passion for music began when he pursued the trombone in middle school and throughout high school, which eventually lead him to a college scholarship.

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It wasn't until he started college that he began thinking about becoming a composer, said Udell.

Like Babcock, Udell credits his UF professors, along with the vast resources offered to him at UF, as a stepping stone in gaining exposure and opportunities to participate in festivals and contests like Sound in Space.

"I feel pretty astonished that I was one of the six," Udell said.

For more information on Sound in Space, visit www.goethe.de/boston-soundinSPACE.

 

 

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