On November 19 at 7 pm, Upgrade! Tennessee will welcome Aaron Doenges to the Austin Peay Downtown Gallery for a performance and discussion.
There was an earthquake in Ohio on the day Aaron was born. And things haven’t stopped shaking since…
Sitting on the bench in front of an abbreviated spinet, composer/arranger/sound artist Aaron Hoke Doenges started down his musical path before his feet could reach the piano pedals. As a six-year-old in small town Ohio, he passed the time and began his aural explorations mimicking his sisters’ practice and picking out songs by ear. His parents, recognizing the potential he had, arranged further study and under the guidance and support of local church-lady-piano-teachers, he soon progressed, giving his first public recital at the age of 7, performing his first original arrangement at fourteen, and wining several local and regional piano competitions during his high school years. He continued his piano study up until college where he began his formal composition education with Dr. Geri Rosser. Since then, he has continued his musical studies at The Contemporary Music Center on Martha’s Vineyard, Universität Potsdam, Germany, and Belmont University in Nashville where he received his Masters in Music Composition under the instruction of Dr. Bryan Clark and Dr. Paul Godwin. Now, Doenges continues to explore through listening, writing and musical experimentation, searching the world around him for thoughts, sounds and melodies that can be pieced together in ways to provoke attention, thought and perhaps dialog.
While influences ranging from J.S. Bach and Arnold Schoenberg to John Cage, Edgard Varese’, Jonty Harrison, Radiohead and Sigur Ros are present in Doenges’ approach to music, he blends his unique electro-acoustic style through a collage of aural pictures. He searches his surroundings for sounds and samples, pieces them together like a puzzle, and waits to see what the picture looks like. When asked how he describes his music, Doenges says, “I never try to define my music too much…definition seems to eliminate possibilities for me. Instead, I like to take whatever influences, motivates, or provokes me, find its sound and bring it together with other sounds and influences, perhaps by trying to tell a story, seeing what happens. Sometimes the result surprises me. It almost always makes me think.”
Currently Doenges is moving and shaking Nashville where he is directing the international sound art festival SoundCrawl:Nashville, founder of Neuro:Mantic Music publishing, an artist in residence at the Downtown Presbyterian Church, collaborating with musicians in the area and working in the studio in anticipation of performances this winter and spring.
Upgrade! is an international, emerging network of autonomous nodes united by art, technology, and a commitment to bridging cultural divides. Its decentralized, non-hierarchical structure ensures that Upgrade! (i) operates according to local interests and their available resources; and (ii) reflects current creative engagement with cutting edge technologies. While individual nodes present new media projects, engage in informal critique, and foster dialogue and collaboration between individual artists, Upgrade! International functions as an online, global network that gathers annually in different cities to meet one another, showcase local art, and work on the agenda for the following year.
Upgrade! Tennessee is sponsored by the Space for New Media at Tennessee State University and TERMINALapsu.org at Austin Peay State University and is administered by Jodi Hays, Kell Black and Barry Jones.