Composition: Fugue in e minor

Fugue in e minor (four voices); Kenneth Michael Shultz, Composer

Fugue in e minor (three voices); Kenneth Michael Shultz, Composer (click for full size)

James Wiznerowicz, D.M.A., is undoubtedly Richmond’s most sublime and transcendent composer.  He has studied under the distinguished contemporary composers Anthony Iannaccone (understudy to Aaron Copland), Ladislav Kiubik and Daniel Asia (understudy to Arthur Weisberg).  Wiznerowicz’s “Aria for Solo Bassoon” and “Micrologus for Solo Flute” were featured on NPR’s “Theme and Variations,” and his music is performed throughout Australia, Europe and North America.

For me, the most important fact about this man is that he is a masterfully powerful teacher.  I was lucky enough to study composition under Dr. Wiznerowicz; every moment was engaging and enlightening.  The strange black and white picture above is a copy of a Baroque-style fugue that I composed under his pedagogy.

The theme is the heart of the fugue.   Shown below, the theme begins in the soprano.  It lasts three full measures before the alto picks it up in the up beat of third measure.  Notice the c# at the end of the soprano line which guides the listener into b minor.

Fugue in e minor (four voices); Kenneth Michael Shultz, Composer

Theme

When the three voices are all playing, the listener finds themselves enriched in colorful polyphony.   The fugue then continues into a transitional circle progression which is
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Designing a Three Band Equalizer

Three Band EQ Software by Kenneth Michael ShultzDuring the fall of 2009, I was given a great assignment: to design a 3-band equalizer.  The three bands were supposed to be such that they could usefully equalize a vocal signal.  This was my first circuit design project so completing it was a tumultuous hunt – good thing that I was raised by a pack of ravenous wolves.

I wrote a program that would display the magnitude and phase plots in the frequency domain as well as the input-output characteristics in the time domain.  When finished adjusting the parameters,

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Designing and Fabricating Solar Cells: First Place in Competition

I recently entered and won a competition to design and fabricate solar cells.  First place was given to the team which produced the highest efficiencies.  Our team manufactured 18% efficient single junction silicon solar cells (I know, I know, that sounds low, but this efficiency meets today’s industry standard!).

It was a year-long project spanning over my final two semesters at VCU.  I had the opportunity to work with Samantha Hoang, Anthony Pedicini, and Sam McDonald; we were a team of electrical engineers and physicists.   Continue reading

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Designing a New Exhibit: The Perspective Studio

adapt. evolve.This past semester I was fortunate enough to work at the VCU da Vinci Center for Product Innovation.  I was on a team that worked to design a new exhibit for the Science Museum of Virginia.  The exhibit is named, ‘The Perspective Studio.’  We were given a $60,000 budget to design an innovation studio that will be built this summer.  Our team consisted of 2 engineering students, 2 art students, and 2 business students.   Continue reading

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Producing Music: Sound, Metaphor, and Brotherhood

David Shultz and The Skyline (photo by Jamie Barnett)

from left: David Shultz, Curtis Patton, Marcus Shrock, Matt Morton. Photo by Jamie Barnett

David Shultz, legendary guitarist from the band and rock-phenomenon, Almost Lifelike, quintessential Virginian master poet, crafty collaborator with the sensational Jonathan Vassar, sweetest heart in all of Richmond, is now rumored to have plans of recording with famous producer, Your Favorite Animal.

Your Favorite Animal, be it a penguin, a baby elephant, a treacherous shark, a crouching tiger, or even a hidden dragon Continue reading

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Franklin Massie’s Undergraduate Thesis: Working With Your Favorite Animal

from left: rick maxwell, franklin massie, kenneth shultz (photo by Jason Collins “Professor DumbleDork, although writing a 30 page thesis on ‘The Paradox of Nietzsche’s Analytic Techniques Employed in his Genealogy of Morals,’ would be a dream come true, I would rather do something not boring.”  These are the exact words of Franklin Massie (not really) that sparked the beginning of his senior thesis – the first of its kind – at Hampden-Sydney College.  The project was to record a full length album, and Franklin asked if I would produce it.  Coolest.  Thesis.  Ever.


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Remember The Fire? A Last-Minute Idea Becomes a Project Savior

from left: jared, parker, franklin, justin, nick“Don’t be so bitter my princess, won’t you put out the fire?”  A hook that any and all THJs (The Half Jeffersons) fans have had stuck in their heads at one time or another.  Go watch the music video – I bet you 5 dólares that you won’t be able to resist watching it more than once.

The funny thing is, ‘The Fire’ – a song featured on MTV’s Newport Harbor – was never intended to be a part of The Half Jeffersons album, “A Splash of Color.”  It was a last-minute decision, that started off something like this: Continue reading

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Recording an Album at the Beach: The Dream Job I Lived


If you have lived in Richmond for at least three years, I know you remember Cinemasophia.  If you do not, you must be a hermit.  Living under a huge rock.  Deep deep under the water.  They have internet underwater?  And how are you breathing?  Well, in any case, go listen here before reading.

I had the privilege of producing, recording, and mixing this album during Continue reading

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Teaching Chinese: VA Governor’s School STARTALK Chinese Academy


In the summer of 2008, I had the privilege to live and work for a Mandarin Chinese immersion program called STARTALK Chinese Academy, sponsored by the VA Governor’s School.  I worked with 6 other remarkable teachers and RA’s, and was led by the one and only Dr. Zhijuan Zhang, program director.  The eight of us were in charge of filling as much Chinese language into over 30 gifted, hand-selected high school students during the summer long immersion camp. Continue reading

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Producing New Music: Black Water Gold

Last week, I entered the studio with Justin Black (guitarist from The Half Jeffersons) to work on his new project, Black Water Gold.  Listen here! We were in the studio for two sleepless days, and finished three great songs.
The band: Justin Black, Mark Thom, Kevin Willcox, Morgan McGovern, Franklin Massie, and Parker Black. Continue reading

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