Samuel Burt

Lecturer, computer music



In 1980, Samuel Burt was born to Robert Burt, Jr., a church of Christ minister and Phyllis Burt, an artist. In elementary school, he took piano lessons, sang in chorus, and learned to read music from church hymnals.

He played bass clarinet in school bands and taught himself to compose in high school while experimenting with jazz and improvisation. His first large piece was performed during his senior year (class of 1998) by the West Hall High School wind ensemble.

At the University of Georgia (1998-2002), Lewis Nielson laid the foundation for a career in composition. Burt got involved in computer music and improvisation.

When Burt reached Baltimore in 2003, Christopher Theofanidis refined his paradoxically quirky formalist musical perspective at the Peabody Institute. Burt encountered the High Zero Festival and the Red Room Collective and quickly became an influential part of Baltimore's unusually active experimental music community.

He is one of the essential volunteer organizers of the High Zero Festival the same non profit that runs the weekly Red Room Series. He has been teaching electronic music to high school students for four years, music theory for one. In 2007, he helped found After Now with Asha Srinivasan, Brian Sacawa, Mark Lackey, Andrew Cole, C.R. Kasprzyk, and Rose Burt. After Now is a Baltimore based project that solely performs premieres of chamber music by Baltimore area composers. In the winter of 2006, he and C.R. Kasprzyk took Illusory Correlations on the road to Philadelphia and New York with Baltimore instrumentalists performing their compositions.

In 2004, he and John Berndt built an installation of Speakeroids that connected eight resonant bodies with modified speakers and piezo microphones through a Burt's custom computer software. Speakeroids shows what happens if sounds are recursively passed through a series of quite different resonant objects, forming feedback circuits through combination, and ultimately, acting as spatially distributed non-linear "oscillators" and "filters" of great complexity.

Mobtown Modern has included him on their new music series performing Alvin Lucier's Music for Solo Performer and John Zorn's Cobra. He performs frequently with Death in the Maze, a reed trio plus percussion intuitive music ensemble and with Geodesic Gnome, a improvisatory troupe led by John Berndt to the outer edges of experimental performance. He is also a member of Second Nature, another ensemble guided by John Berndt that focuses on large group intuitive improvised real-time composition.