Warner Jepson
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Warner Jepson
  Warner Jepson 'in-video-cognito'  
  METAMORFACES - Warner's Sonoma Valley Museum of Art retrospective - 2009
Tapes and stills from imagery made at NCET, using the Buchla Box Audio Synthesizer connected to the Templeton Video Mixer

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Warner has been a very busy guy, with a resume as long as your arm (literally).  The following items, spanning the years while he was affiliated with NCET, are taken from the longer version housed at www.o-art.org.


1971 The San Francisco Chapter of The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences : Honors Warner Jepson, composer, for contributing to the winning of an Area Television Academy Award for "Ski Touring" KQED; "Outstanding Achievement-Single Program"

1972 Feb. 16,17,18,19 "TOTENTANZ" Grace Cathedral

1972 May 1 National Center for Experiments in Television I become composer-in-residence, after first being asked to compose music for Stephen Beck's "Videosynthesis." One morning in late April, while I was working at the synthesizer to Steve's video, the noted French composer of music concrete, Pierre Schaefer, was visiting. Later that day the invitation to join the center was offered..

1972 Stephen Beck's "Videosynthesis" [10 min.] and Bill Gwin's "Irving Bridge" [50 min.] National Center for Experiments in TV, KQED S.F. my first scores as composer-in-residence on the Buchla 200 whose sounds I didn't like as well as those of the 100 at Mills.

1972 Nov. 10-12 "An Electric Concert" NCET at Southern Methodist U, Dallas TX Stephen Beck, on his video synthesizer, and I on Buchla's audio synthesizer, collaborated in a half-hour video and audio improvised presentation. In Dallas 5 days with all our equipment from SF NCET.

1972 Dec. 1,2 "An Electric Concert" repeated at "Arts/Media" symposium National Council on the Arts [NEA] Washington DC letter Ex. Sec Fed Council on the Arts and Humanities.: "...Stephen's and Warner's concerts were marvelous. It was exciting to see the number of people both Friday and Saturday who "swarmed" to the synthesizers and their artists to ask questions."

The Washington Post Dec 2 Sat: ...The program concluded with another audiovisual performance, this time with both music and imagery generated electronically. The composers-performers were Stephen Beck and Warner Jepson, resident artists at San Francisco's National Center for Experiments in Television. As an imaginative fusion of arts and media, it made a fitting coda for the day's activities."

1972 Dec 5 "Irving Bridge" played for students at Harvard

1972 Dec 7 "An Electric Concert" repeated at Brooklyn Academy of Music

1973 more works created at NCET resulting in 5 half-hour programs that were broadcast on Public Broadcast System under the title of "Video Visionaries." One, "Lostine," was awarded an emmy in '75. "Illuminated Music" (Stephen Beck); "Lostine" (Willard Rosenquist); "See Is Never All The Way Up" (William Roarty); "Point Lobos State Reserve" (Billy Gwin)

1973 Apr. 19,20,21,26,27,28; 23 Mon.; "The Awakening Apr. 23 SF Chronicle William Albright: Warner Jepson's tape score provided a canvas of sounds like surf and birds in rhythmic patterns...

Apr. 21 Sat SF Examiner, Alexander Fried: "It's taped score by Warner Jepson built up intense moods of obsession by its rhythmic accents mindful of telegraph codes and the mingled voices of myriad birds."

Apr. 21 Sat Oakland Tribune: "...Warner Jepson's quadraphonic electronic sounds, buzzing and jabbering in a primeval way."

1973 May 5 Festival of Contemporary Arts, Oberlin College Videotapes: Illuminated Music III & IV by Stephen Beck [video] and Homage a Matisse by Willard Rosenquist [video], Warner Jepson [audio] for both

1973 May 8 American Institute of Architect's Convention at UC Berkeley Art Museum Buchla music throughout the building for the party

1973 June 19 contract signed between "Rick Meyer, inventor of DOME and Warner Jepson, composer of music for DOME 2 The program lasted about 45 minutes. The opening music was changing drones tuned to make the red laser beam that was shown on the roof of the dome to make various patterns that were not as chaotic as ordinary music or, conversely, noise would produce.

First done at Live Oak Park, Berkeley, later at the Exploratorium, and then the SF Museum of Modern Art

1974 April 2 Mon. "Peace" Flute concert by Janet Millard, music by Richard Felciano, Wayne Peterson, Charles Boone, Charles Shere, Robert Hughes and Warner Jepson review William Albright: "The two most impressive works were Warner Jepson's "Peace" 1969 and Robert Hughes' "Sonitudes" 1970. Jepson, like Felciano, is a composer-in-residence at the National Center for Experiments in Television. His short piece is a colloquy between flute and Buchla synthesized tape. Gentle bird-call-like sounds establish the pastoral mood at once, and some ominous, threatening tape tremolos and trills soon swell and subside into a liquid background for the becalmed flute lines."

1974 April 26-28 The Electric Weasel Ensemble, Arch Street 26 Fri. music by George Crumb, Charles Buel, Toshiro Mayuzumi, Danial Lentz.... 27 Sat music by Mort Subotnick, Allen Strange, Paul Demarinis, Don Buchla... 28 Sun music by Wm O. Smith, MacDermed, Warner Jepson (Peace)... [addendum: I set up the geodesic globe [from SF Museum's Plastic Presence 1970] outside on the grass. Ruth Asawa and her husband Al Lanier were friends of Bucky Fuller; Al gave me the plans to make this Geodesic globe that was hung later at a big event during the moon landing.]

1974 Feb. 3 Sun "Musica per Machina" by AleaII, Stanford Ensemble for New Music Palo Alto Times C.D.MVES: "'POINT LOBOS STATE RESERVE' was a videotape by Billie Gwin. ...For once the music was more arresting than the images. Warner Jepson's electronic score hummed and twittered lyrically, like Debussy's "La Mer" reconceived for the space age."

1974 Mar 21,22,23,28,29,30 "TOTENTANZ" Grace Cathedral KQED Newsroom: "Warner Jepson's electronic score sounds awesome in the cathedral, swirling around us the sounds of gongs and clangs, rhythmic Buchla sounds that echoed and re-echoed. There is as much theater as dance to TOTENTANZ, opening with an agonizing procession up the center aisle to the stage in front of the altar. These characters are traditional: Christ, Mary Magdalene, Roman soldiers. The medieval perspective is created by flagellant monks, a Popess and penitents watching silently. And what a chilling moment to see death, a real horror figure, maniacally conduct it all from the great pulpit, a platform we usually reserve for collared clerics.

The scenes that follow might come from an ancient castle tapestry. Death...separates young lovers, takes a baby from its mother's arms, and kisses the lady good-bye. And dispatches helmeted knights and crowned heads. Finally, in the dies irae, a day of wrath, the mood breaks with medieval, the choreography becomes frenzied and erotic. It is the witches' Sabbath before the altar of Grace Cathedral, or a crowded bar on a Saturday night...."

SF Chronicle, Heuwell Tircuit: For the opening of Lent, the Cathedral is presenting four performances of Carlos Carvajal's "TOTENTANZ"...with brilliantly theatrical electronic score by Warner Jepson. ...Carvajal has presented his "TOTENTANZ" several times in Grace Cathedral. It is almost a tradition. ... Warner Jepson's chilling electronic score was beautifully served by an uncommonly fine sound system. The whole technical side of the performance was amazing--lights, slides, the bare ropes of a set, costumes and music. Grace Cathedral never had it so good.

1974 Mar 29 SF Progress; "Lostine" receives a local Emmy Award "Lostine", an innovative television-as-art presentation from the National center for Experiments in Television, was produced by Willard Rosenquist, with score by Warner Jepson and mix by William Roarty.

1974 June, The Both/Up Gallery [over Cody's Bookstore, Berkeley] "Sound Images" One man exhibit of music and constructions on the walls.

1974 Art Forum, Cecile McCann: "Strange and gentle, Warner Jepson's electronic music has an almost visible presence. It can make a room seem to expand and contract, make objects in the room seem close or distant. Within this sculptural sound environment,...Jepson has scattered the cheerful surprise of ordinary things that shape themselves into playful sculptures. ...Listening Booth is a big blue bolster against a wall, surrounded by a curtaining fringe of magnetic tape that hangs like rain.

90 minutes of individual Buchla pieces played continuously for a month in the gallery with constructions I added about the room so that it wouldn't be so empty. They had nothing to do with the sound one listened to, just another form of entertainment. Some of the sound pieces were longer and more shaped than before. One of my favorites was "Star Walk" a gradual ten minute ascension of a pretty rhythmic pattern. Another one that totally fascinated me for spatial and rhythmic depth was "I'm going to stay here and see why I'm going to stay here and see why I'm ..."

1974 July, Sam Shepherd's Sidewinder; songs and incidental Buchla music, UC Berkeley Drama Department I was hired to do incidental music of the Buchla type, but was also asked to composer pop type music for the integral songs that had been played by The Who, a rock band, in the New York production that were unusable here.

1974 Halloween Party at the San Francisco Museum of Art: "Electronic Music for a Night Sky" from a letter of director : "...The effect of music and the room size projections of night phenomena was spectacular! The audience loved it."

1975 Jan 10, National Endowment for the Arts Grant to work with the Buchla synthesizer connected to a video mixer, colorizer, and keyer

1975 Jun. 27,28,29 "The Awakening" revived, Dance Spectrum

1975 June, Electronic Arts Intermix of New York buys and begins distribution of NCET videotapes Lostine [w/ Rosenquist, Roarty]; See is never all the way up [w/ Roarty]; Irving Bridge, Point Lobos State Reserve [w/ Bill Gwin]; Illuminated Music [w/ Stephen Beck]

1975 November December "Exchange/DFW/SFO" exhibition at The Fort Worth Art Museum [Texas] by Bay Area and Texas artists shown: "Excerpts from the Buchla Bulb Series," 45 minute videotape

With the NEA grant and in the last space that the NCET moved into in Berkeley before it died from loss of funding, I connected the Buchla synthesizer to a video imaging machine. The Buchla would effect spectacular bands of colors that moved with its sounds. I also aimed the camera at a white lit light bulb, or upon my face, the various light levels causing a myriad of fantastic color combinations that enthralled me, that kept me doing it for hours, months.


And here, also from www.o-art.org, is a description of Warner's creatrive process while at NCET:

~~~~ Warner Jepson was the composer for the center after 1972; at first, he worked closely with the artists, putting sound to their tapes, but he...experiment[ed] all along with images of his own as well. Most of his imagery [was] generated by audio equipment that [was] connected to the video gear. He talks about his latest work:

"...I've been doing some things sending an audio signal into a machine we have at the Center called a mixer, a colorizer, and a keyer. It takes audio signals from the oscillator inside the audio synthesizer and changes them into bands of various widths and expansion on the screen and puts color in , so the color gets mixed in gorgeous arrays. I've even begun to use the camera and to mix audio created images with camera images. The audio things will go right through the camera images and make strange new colors."

His idea is to make a work that is totally integrated aurally and visually. He feels the two should complement each other completely. The problem is to balance the work so that both visuals and audio are interesting. He explains: "in a lot of these experiments, I'm not even putting the sound on because the sound is dumb. The thing about sound is, it's so complex that when it's represented in images, the images are so complex, they become chaos. Whereas the simplest sounds make the clearest images...There's a lot of activity in sounds and it becomes blurry visually; it looks like noise. So the simplest sounds, like single tones, make the best images...working with sounds you actually want to use and save is a problem."

Warner Jepson

Warner at the Berkeley Art Museum audio/video concert performed with Stephen Beck - 1974

  Warner CU  
  Warner Jepson  

Warner rocks!!!


BAM photos by Don Hallock
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