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M.A. Tiesenga

About this Artist

M.A. Tiesenga is a composer, visual artist, sound artist, multi-instrumentalist, and improviser who uses expanded notation systems as inquiries into new sonic and relational possibilities. Their work explores the interplay between the procedure and enaction of scores within collaborative performance contexts, and sculpts that interplay into different sonic idioms. Conceiving of the musical score as both art object and notated intention, Tiesenga’s work allows both object and performance to be experienced as modular, living landscapes that reflect the people and spaces that engage them.  

Inspired by an affinity for the outdoors, Tiesenga draws analogies between their sonic practices and the art of cartography, illuminating the parallels between a map and a musical score. This exploration opens doors to musically navigate, inhabit, and realize theoretical terrains. Their lifelong passion for collage, maps, puzzles, and asemic languages informs their enchantment with encoding and decoding musical territories, transforming lexical approaches into palpable expressions. Within their artistic vision, Tiesenga conveys inner worlds where protocols and rules converge with intuition and mystique.

Tiesenga approaches sound-making as a collaborative exchange that cultivates connection and reciprocity. For Tiesenga, graphic scores serve as intermediaries bridging ideas and actions, visual and aural experiences, and the externalization of internal processes. As an ardent experimentalist, their work explores the effects of improvisation and indeterminacy, elevating and weaving performers' agency by inviting personal interpretation into the fabric of a composition. Informed by their own extensive performance practice, Tiesenga is committed to crafting works that engage both performers and audiences alike to see their environment a little differently. 

Tiesenga’s compositional collaborations include work with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Wild Up, Théâtre Musical Tokyo, Long Beach Opera, Kunsthalle for Music, SPEAK Percussion, Dog Star Orchestra, Ensemble Supermusique, and ensembles at the Eastman School of Music, New England Conservatory, California Institute for the Arts, Yale University, and Darmstädter Ferienkurse.  

M.A. Tiesenga holds an MFA in Composition - Experimental Sound Practices and an MFA in Experimental Animation with a Concentration in Integrated Media from California Institute of the Arts, where they studied with Michael Pisaro, Sara Roberts, Eyvind Kang, Alexander Stewart, Pia Borg, and Tom Leeser. Previously, Tiesenga earned a Bachelor of Music from the Eastman School of Music in saxophone performance under the guidance of Dr. Chien-Kwan Lin.