Frost composer Charles Mason Premieres ‘Alys Sound’

By UM News

Frost composer Charles Mason Premieres ‘Alys Sound’

By UM News
Frost faculty Dr. Charles Norman Mason creates new work titled 'Alys Sound' that merges live music with pre-recorded sounds in a beautiful outdoor setting.
In celebration of Labor Day weekend, Alys Beach, in conjunction with Escape to Create, will host ‘Alys Sound’ created by UM Frost School of Music faculty Dr. Charles Norman Mason, on Saturday, September 4, 2010 from 4 to 6 p.m. along the pedestrian path.

Dr. Charles Norman Mason teaches composition at the Frost School of Music. For a number of years, Mason has explored an area of interest he calls Music for Porous Architecture. He has written a number of pieces contemplating what it means to take into consideration the architectural space within which the work would appear.

“As we were walking down the street or pathway in Alys Beach, I noticed that there are many beautiful sounds,” said Mason. “From the dry wispy sound of wind blowing through the palm trees to the water gurgling from pet watering fountains, ‘Alys Sound’ will use those natural sounds to create aural beauty that complements the natural sound of the passageway and encourages pedestrians to slow down as they are walking the path so they might observe more of the visual and aural beauty.”

The concept of Alys Sound employs six musicians who will merge with pre-recorded music/sound from eight speakers. The live musicians will provide a beautiful, contemplative, sonorous sound that will naturally produce canonic textures as a result of distance. For example, if two musicians are performing the same music, but are separated by distance, the result will sound, to a listener, as if the distant musician is echoing the nearer musician. The pre-recorded portions will consist of music that interacts with the live musicians and create beautiful sonorities derived from local sounds such as waves, shells and wind.

Many of the ideas will have their parallel with architecture. For example, just as an architect uses visual space to affect the flow of people through a house, music will be used to affect the flow of people through a space. The music will also be used to draw people to special spots that they may overlook otherwise, or to define large spaces, just as a designer might use a sculpture at the end of each street to define the visual space.

Mason has received many awards for his compositions including the American Composers Orchestra “Playing it Unsafe” prize, the 2005 Rome Prize, the Premi Internacional de Composició Musical Ciutat de Tarragona Orchestra Music prize, and a National Endowment of the Arts Individual Artist Award. His music is published by Living Artist Publishing and is available on ten different compact disc recordings. For further information about Dr. Mason, please visit,

One of the most beautiful new towns in the world, Alys Beach is located on Scenic Highway 30A in Florida's panhandle, along what The New York Times said "may be the best beach in the continental U.S." The resort town's extraordinary architectural vision drew inspirations from both Bermuda and the family courtyard homes of Antigua, Guatemala. When complete, Alys Beach will be home to 900 villas and courtyard homes, as well as restaurants, parks, shops and other resort amenities. Alys Beach is the first Fortified...for Safer Living® community in the world, and all homes are built to Florida's Green Home Designation Standard. For information, please call 866-481-8387 or visit

Established in 1993 as an artist residency program, Escape to Create's mission is to foster the creation of art that teaches and inspires by offering artists a supportive environment for creative work and to further the appreciation of the arts as an integral part of community life. Escape to Create is supported by a vibrant community that celebrates artistic endeavor through residencies, literary conferences, theatrical events, lectures, exhibitions and school visitations throughout the year. For more information, contact Malayne DeMars, 850-534-0000,

The mission of the Frost School of Music is to foster musical leadership by providing an innovative, relevant, and inspiring education; advance performance, creativity and scholarship; and enrich the world community with meaningful outreach and brilliant cultural offerings. For more information, visit