Artists / Nathaniel Bartlett

Nathaniel Bartlett

Electroacoustic Marimba Artist

Nathaniel Bartlett’s performances seamlessly meld his five-octave acoustic marimba with a powerful Linux-based computer, custom computer control interfaces, a variety of hardware audio electronics, and eight loudspeakers (plus subwoofer) arranged in a cube. With the audience positioned in the center of the loudspeaker cube, an elaborate, kinetic, three-dimensional sound environment can be projected into the audience space, totally immersing the listeners in the music. In Bartlett’s immersive sound environments, spatialization (the positioning and movement of sounds in physical space) becomes a central musical parameter, along side of pitch, rhythm/time, timbre, and so on.

The sound environments of Bartlett’s compositions are comprised of sounds culled from many sources and techniques, including digital audio manipulations of his live marimba, digital audio manipulations of recorded acoustic sounds stored on the computer, and synthetically engineered sounds. The intricate three-dimensional sound environments of his works are further enriched by the use of high-definition audio (24 bit/88.2 kHz, superior to CD-quality), which allows for a significant increase in sonic nuances.

In Bartlett’s performance rig, two computer monitors are used in place of a conventional music stand. The music notation, now free from the physical realm of paper and ink, is created and manipulated in real time, just as the computer-generated sounds are created and manipulated in real time.

Bartlett designed his performance rig for maximum mobility without compromising audio quality, and has performed all across the US in a wide variety of venues, such as art galleries and museums, concert halls, dance spaces, DIY/underground spaces, and many universities and colleges. In order to present his music in its original three-dimensional, high-definition form at every performance, Bartlett always tours with all his own electronic equipment and marimba.

Bartlett’s work as a marimbist also includes performances of acoustic and electro-integrated compositions written by other composers. This repertoire includes compositions from recent decades, including a growing number of compositions written specifically for him, as well as some centuries-old compositions.

Recordings of Nathaniel Bartlett’s original compositions and other projects — all on multi-channel, high-resolution media — can be found on Albany Records, and on his own label, Sound-Space Audio Lab.

Nathaniel Bartlett was born in 1978 in Madison, Wisconsin. In addition to studying privately with marimbist Leigh Howard Stevens, he studied at the Eastman School of Music (Rochester, NY), the Royal Academy of Music (London), and holds a doctoral degree in music composition from the University of Wisconsin– Madison. He is currently a postdoctoral associate at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery.

He performs on a Malletech Imperial Grand five-octave marimba.

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