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Ferdinand Maisel

Ferd (as he is known by friends and colleagues) has been an improvisational musician and composer since a very young age; fascinated with the piano since age 2 (STILL figuring out this instrument - and, thank you Aunt Kay), singing since age 3 (thank you Aunt Brenda), drumming since age 4 (STOP beating on the table, FERD!!), playing various brass instruments since age 9 (at least two of those horns were LARGER then ME!), guitar since age 10 (remaining truly SCARY on air-guitar! ;).

He grew up (well, continues to grow up) as a pianist, keyboardist, percussionist, and multi-instrumentalist, working primarily in classical, neoclassical, jazz, rock, electronic, funk, and experimental music genres. He has composed, performed, and recorded music for various media including dance, theater, film, commercials, corporate clients, and music simply for pure pursuit of “the muse”.

He studied ethnomusicology at the University of Maryland with Jozef Pacholczyk and David Liang (and a few other things while attending there), and tinkered with computers, before being hired by the visual art department to oversee the activities of the first 'imaging research' facility at UMBC, in 1983. After a successful 3 years running this lab, (raising over $500,000 in grants and in-kind contributions, and acting as 'principle investigator' for work with the IBM 'FULCRUM' technology-research grant), he moved on to open 'Alternity Sound and Image' studios in 1986. From 'alternity', he produced (and co-produced) several very-well-reviewed CDs , including the “Alternity” projects (1 & 2 - 1986 and 1987, respectively), and the “Far End Din” project (1996). He also performed with numerous other artists on their own recording and performance projects, including “The Great Nature Theater of Oklahoma” with Christopher Basile (1988), “Dialog with the Ocean” (1990) and “Dream of the Butterfly” (1991) with David Liang.

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”Avant composer Ferdinand Maisel attacks the piano from all sides…literally. Rather than confining himself to the ivories, the experimental pianist plays the instrument like a drum, or guitar, banging on the piano, or strumming its innards and subsequently processing the organic sounds through digital sequencers and an array of effects pedals. The result is a sweeping mix of electro-acoustic music that touches on John Cage’s prepared piano technique and 21st century computer composition.”

- from the KickStarter Blog, Nov. 30, 2010



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