Chance: a possibility of something happening.
Design: purpose, planning, or intention that exists or is thought to exist behind an action, fact, or material object.
Chance Designs was formed in 2017 by composer John Ritz to explore his interests in chaos theory and dynamic systems within the context of sound and music making. The group consists of Ritz (composer, cello, analog synthesizer, computer electronics), jazz pianist Gabe Evens, and classical percussionist Greg Byrne. Through the exploration of unconventional sound generation and performance techniques, open-form compositional strategies, improvisation, and interactive computer electronics that exhibit chaotic behaviors, the group seeks to find new musical forms and models of music making that would be otherwise difficult to imagine.
Each of the pieces on CYCLES OF FORMATION present the ensemble with varying degrees of prescribed musical material (notated music) and open-form elements (instructions for how and when to synchronize, how to respond musically to what is heard in the moment during the performance, the type of sound material to perform depending on the texture and density of electronic sounds, improvisational cues, temporal cues, etc.). Each piece explores the potential interactions between human performance and interactive computer signal processing algorithms within a particular musical context.
A networked system of musicians, instruments, microphones, loudspeakers, and digital signal processing algorithms is established — there is a possibility of something happening (chance). From the very first sound produced, the temporal evolution of the sonic system is driven by a process of interaction between the musicians and the computer. The musical forms (designs) that emerge are the results of the interaction between the individual parts of this sonic system.
The Chance Designs project has been presented in various forms at many national and international conferences and festivals of new music, including the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS) National Conference, the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival (NYCEMF), the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC), and the Missouri Experimental and Sonic Arts Festival (MOXsonic), among others.