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Dr. Bruce Mahin
Professor of Composition and Music Theory
Phone: (540) 831-6174
Fax: (540) 831-6133
Bruce Mahin has accumulated a lifetime of accomplishments as a composer, performer, scholar and producer of published recordings. His compositions span genres from experimental, classical to popular music. His works incorporate media both traditional and innovative, incorporating performer improvisation, real-time interactive technologies, extended performance techniques and functional non-diatonic harmonies.
As a composer, he has received awards from the Southeastern Composers League and Radford University, performances and recordings by British Nimbus-recording artist Martin Jones, Glasgow-based Scottish Voices, the Pittsburgh Symphony, Scottish organist Kevin Bowyer, the San Jose String Quartet, among many others. His recordings are currently available on the Capstone, Ravello, and PnOVA Recordings labels. His music has been performed in numerous international venues in Glasgow, Paris, and throughout United States. He performed or had works performed at the International Society for the Electronic Arts (1994), Society of Composers National Conferences (1988, 1995, 2005, 2008), International Computer Music Conference (1992), College Music Society National Conference (1993), and the Percussive Arts Society International Conference (2006), while maintaining an international calendar of concerts (between 1990-2002) performing his compositions written for the electronic wind instrument with interactive computer and video. In this context, as a performer, he was also listed on the “Sonic Circuits” Artist Roster published by the American Composers Forum.
Mahin received long-term composer fellowships at Glasgow University Department of Music (1996, 2007) and Le Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris (2007, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2021 (forthcoming).
Recent long-term collaborations with British pianist Martin Jones and the Glasgow-based Scottish Voices resulted in multiple recordings and performances in the United Kingdom, France and the United States. In 2020, recordings of the Scottish Voices performing his “Sonnetas” (2016) for voices and organ, featuring British organist Kevin Bowyer, and “Melancholy Sonnet” (2017) for voices and vibraphone will soon be released on the Ravello Recordings label. Scottish Voices also premiered Mahin’s “Melancholy Sonnet” April 10, 2019. Mr. Jones performed his Petite Sonate no. 2 in November 2019 on WFMT-FM Chicago, and in four other concerts on tour of the United States.
As a scholar, Mahin published articles and has spoken at international colloquia in Belgium and Canada on his research concerning the psychological impact of non-linear time in visual art, music and poetry. He developed a functional non-diatonic harmonic system, which served as the basis for many new compositions. His scholarly work was published and presented in international journals (L'oeuvre en morceaux: Esthétiques de la mosaïque. Paris/Brussels: Les Impressions Nouvelles, 2006) and (Current Issues in Music: Southern Voices, Sydney: 2007), international conferences such as the International Computer Music Conference (1992) and the College Music Society National Conferences (1990, 2005). He presented research at the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) event (2015, 2016, 2020) and the Society of Composers National Conference (2010).
As a producer, Mahin engineered and published nine different recorded releases, ranging from the complete Sonatas for violin and piano by Ludwig van Beethoven, works by 19 contemporary American composers in the PnOVA American Piano Music Series and recordings in popular music genres. His compositions have been published by Pioneer Percussion.
In 1990, Mahin was appointed Director of the Radford University Center for Music Technology, where he received a $150,000 grant from the Jessie Ball DuPont Foundation to establish facilities and develop curriculum in music technology. As a result of this grant, he composed and performed works for electronic wind instrument and interactive computer at venues throughout the United States and in Scotland. His composition Flautus Aeterna was performed at the International Computer Music Conference in 1992. “Of Mice and Men” for vibraphone and interactive computer was published by Pioneer Percussion in 1992. He performed “Synapse” at the College Music Society National conference and the Association for Technology in Music Instruction in 1993 and the International Society for Electro-Acoustic Arts conference in 1994. Also, that year, Mahin was selected by the Virginia Commission of the Arts to participate in the “Arts in Education” program from 1994 to 2009, presenting artist residencies in schools throughout the state of Virginia.
In 1995, Mahin released a CD recording “Time Chants: Music/Video by Bruce P. Mahin” on the Capstone Recordings label. This recording was significant and ground-breaking in several ways: all works on this recording were composed for electronic wind instrument and interactive computer. Moreover, this was one of the very first commercial CD-ROM releases of any kind. It included an interactive computer-based interface he also developed, and video developed by artist Jennifer Spoon, that accompanied the music. Mahin performed this music in concert at venues throughout the United States and in Scotland.
In 1996, Mahin was invited to work at Glasgow University Department of Music on a 6-month research fellowship, which led to a second invitation as a “visiting international scholar” in 2008. These extended visits led to a longstanding working relationship with the Glasgow vocal ensemble “Scottish Voices,” which performed and recorded four commissions up to this point. “By Departing Light” for 6 percussionists and piano was composed in Glasgow and this work was published in the Society of Composers Journal of Music Scores in 1998, as well as by Pioneer Percussion in 1999.
In 2004, his interdisciplinary research on the perception of time in art, music and poetry led to an invitation to present my findings at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Applied Poetics at the University of Liege. This work was later published (citation mentioned previously) and presented again at the College Music Society National Conference in 2005. Also, this year, his composition Blue for two pianos was selected to appear on the Society of Composers CD no. 21 “Mood Shifts” and was subsequently released on the Capstone Recordings label with performances by Nitza Kats and Caryl Conger.
In 2007, Mahin received the “Distinguished Creative Scholar” award at Radford University for “significant excellence in creative scholarship and publication.” He was a finalist for a Virginia Commission for the Arts artist fellowship (1 awarded).
In 2009 and 2010, He was invited to reside at Le Cité des Arts in Paris where he focused on the compositions Le Sens, later premiered by the Santa Fe String Trio at the Society of Composers National Conference, and fulfilled a commission to the Scottish Voices by completing Whitman Psalms.
In 2013, four works of his compositions, approximately 28 minutes of music, was released on the Ravello Records label (RR 7877: http://www.ravellorecords.com/catalog/rr7877/ as “Music from 3 Continents” performed by the Glasgow-based vocal ensemble Scottish Voices, an ensemble which has performed his works numerous times in the United States and in Scotland. These works combine intricate counterpoint with virtuosic bel canto technique and harp accompaniment based on texts by Robert Penn Warren, and Walt Whitman. A published independent review of this compact disc appears in the November/December 2013 issue of Fanfare magazine.
In 2013, he also completed a fourth extended residency (invited) at Le Cité des Arts in Paris where he focused on the composition of the Préludes de Paris (Book 1). London-based pianist Martin Jones premiered four of these works in the Salle Edmond Michelet at Le Cité on February 19 of that year. These works were subsequently performed again at the WVU Keyboard Festival in June by Joyce Wang, and again by Jones in Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland in September. They have since been performed in 20 concerts. The collaboration with Mr. Jones also resulted in a series of recordings of new music for solo piano by American composers on the PnOVA Recordings label. This series began with a complete recording of my “Préludes de Paris” (reviewed: http://www.mahinmedia.com/pnova/reviews.html ), which was followed by concerts presented in Virginia and Maryland. The coupling of recordings with concerts ensures that works selected for the series by competitive jury will then receive multiple hearings in diverse geographical locations. Mahin serves as engineer, producer and coordinator of this project.
Volume 1 of the American Piano Series was released in 2014, and subsequent volumes have been released every year since. Volume 2 featured works by composers in Virginia and Delaware. Volume 3, featuring works by New England composers, was released in 2017 and paired with concerts in Boston, Portland (ME), Jamestown (RI) and St. Anselm (NH). Volume 4, recorded in November 2017, was released in 2018 to coincide with a concert tour. Volume 5 was released in 2019 to coincide with a concert tour in Illinois, Indiana and Rhode Island. Mahin also engineered and produced a 4-disc set of the Beethoven Violin Sonatas (complete) performed by British violinist Andrew Smith and Bulgarian pianist Elina Christova for PnOVA Recordings in 2015 (reviewed: http://www.mahinmedia.com/reviews.html).
In 2015, his composition “Whitman Psalms” was re-released on the Ravello Recordings release “Vanguards2” (RR7902: http://www.ravellorecords.com/catalog/rr7902/ ).
In 2016, cellist Jeffrey Krieger premiered Mahin’s work “Transformations,” scored for solo electric cello, dancers (choreographer Deborah McLaughlin) and images (artist Andrew Ross) at Radford University.
In 2018, he was a featured guest composer at the Western Illinois New Music Festival March 5-8, 2018, where my “Préludes des Paris” were performed. Mahin continues to serve as Professor of Music at Radford University and maintain an active performance schedule with the Americana folk band “String Theory Trio” (www.stringtheorytrio.net).
Dr. Mahin's full CV is available here.