works for electronics & piano

Sidney Bailin





"I write what is inside me," says Sidney Bailin. "To me, revealing the psyche’s vulnerable parts is the essence of serious art. With each piece I  write, I am trying to tell my secrets."


On his first Ravello release, 16-2-60-N-5: WORKS FOR ELECTRONICS & PIANO, composer Sidney Bailin shows how musical technique exists solely to help him tell his secrets. A combination of piano and electroacoustic works, 16-2-60-N-5 transforms patterns and structures into a viscerally and emotionally gripping  sound experience.


In Cascade, the piano speaks in flowing, waterfall-like gestures, contrasted with short, rhythmic jabs - the two modes expanding, merging and evolving over the course of the work.


Wedges is all about instrumental color – widening the instrument's sound palette by placing screws of specific sizes between the strings of selected notes.


Dilation shows how the essence of tonality - the push and pull of pitch combinations - can exist in an atonal work.


The first electronic work, Reeds by the Shore, places an underlying track of regular plinking sounds under contrapuntal sax-like riffs, slowly building to a climax that almost forces the listener to move with the music.


The culmination of 16-2-60-N-5 is Speak, Child, in which sound samples of an infant’s babble are electronically manipulated and sequenced into a deep, dark, and finally redemptive exploration of a child’s mind. Speak, Child recalls Luciano Berio’s electronic voice manipulations in Visage, and Steve Reich’s groundbreaking minimalist Come Out; but it is, finally, like neither of these, and represents a genuine step forward in contemporary classical music.




Sidney Bailin studied piano and composition at Juilliard. Otto Luening taught him how to trust his ear. Bailin says "... whenever I would ask him how I can know if what I wrote was right, he  wouldn’t say anything but would just point to his ear"


Becoming more and more fascinated with mathematics, Bailin moved to Columbia University to pursue a double major in Music and Mathematics, then took graduate degrees in maths from Oxford. But unlike many composers who have flirted with mathematics, Bailin insists on the primacy of emotion and intuition


An experimental method demonstrated in this release is the insertion of screws between the strings of a piano. The resulting sounds are reminiscent of Indonesian gamelan music. They are the "wedges" (hence the title of that work) that pierce the ordinary notes


Jazz has always influenced Bailin's composing. The imitative counterpoint of improvisational jazz shows up in Reeds by the Shore as multiple sax-like voices reinforcing, celebrating, and contradicting each other




Sidney started composing when he was 6. He learned species counterpoint when he was 10, and entered Juilliard when he was 15, studying composition with Hall Overton. He also studied with Roger Sessions and Otto Luening at Juilliard, with Darius Milhaud at Aspen, and with Charles Dodge at Columbia University. Over the past 10 years, his hearing has diminished rather severely. But with some creative programming of his hearing aids,  he has continued composing, and today is at the top of his creative powers.






balancing acts





Release Date: May 13, 2016

Catalog #: RR7933





Space Rocks: Shapes and Shadows

Karolina Rojahn, piano

1 I. Wedges (prepared piano)

2 ii. Cascade

3 iii. Dilation


4 Reeds by the Shore

Sidney Bailin, electronics


5 Speak, Child

Sidney Bailin, electronics; M. Bailin, voice and percussion




Tracks 1-3 recorded October 3, 2015

at Mix One Studios, in Boston MA

Recording Session Producer Andy Happel

Recording Session Engineer Adam Weiss


Tracks 4-5 composed 2015 in

Washington DC using Audacity ®


Executive Producer Bob Lord

Audio Director Jeff LeRoy

Session Manager Matt Konrad

Mastering Shaun Michaud

Additional Mastering Nate Hunter

Art & Production Director Brett Picknell

Graphic Designer Ryan Harrison

A&R Brandon MacNeil

Marketing Specialist Morgan MacLeod



Ravello Records is the contemporary classical label imprint of audio production house PARMA Recordings. Dedicated to highlighting forward thinking composers and musicians from around the world, the New England-based label's eclectic catalog offers listeners a cross-section of today's up-and-coming innovators in orchestral, chamber, and experimental music.


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