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Ferdinand Maisel, - BIOGRAPHY....

the shortest version:

pianist, percussionist, composer, tech geek, husband, dad, dishwasher, star gazer, alpha-dog, keeper of the wood stove... humble student of life.

(nice, concise, and twitter friendly. :)

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the slightly longer version:

Ferdinand Maisel is a musician, composer, and technologist, currently living in the Baltimore/Washington area. He has been active in the regional academic, art, technology, and business community for over 30 years - as a student, an accompanist, a teacher, a research director, a visual artist, a software architect, a computing consultant, a recording artist, a pianist, a network designer, a composer... - the list seems endless. Indeed, in several ways, he has 'been there', 'done that', and in some cases has even been awarded the proverbial 'T-Shirt'. He enjoys the music and technology journey, has worked with many very talented people along the way, and has accumulated some great souvenirs from the various trips. :)

He is also a friend, husband, father, philosopher, alpha-dog, counselor, generally nice guy, and humble student of life, among other positions.

Most recently, he was awarded a 2010 Maryland State Arts Council Grant for his work combining improvisation, 'string method' techniques on a grand piano, and laptop computer. His current CD/recording project, 'Hidden Voices of the Grand Piano', is being released in late February, 2011.

(seems to fit well into performance programs... :)

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The ever-ongoing, constantly-being-edited longer version:

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.

During this time, Ferd continued accompanying modern and ballet dance classes (part time) in the Baltimore/Washington area.

His work with computers led him into the world of "the internets" in 1991, wherein he worked with one the first regional ISPs (charm.net), and from there into a position as 'software architect" for Argus Group/ADP (developing CMS and POD systems for "Fortune 50" clients in the ADP Financial Services Division). He left ADP in 2005, and has since been composing, recording, and performing music.


After many years of working with various recording techniques, computer-music technologies, and many amazing musicians, Ferdinand has recently returned to his "home instrument"; the grand piano - yet with the perspective of these years of working with modern sound synthesis techniques. Now, using both traditional piano-keyboard techniques, as well as several non-traditional techniques explored by and credited to the likes of Henry Cowell and John Cage, (i.e. "string piano" and "prepared piano" methods), and using a laptop computer, he is now realizing unique multi-timbral compositions created in real-time performances on the grand piano. The unique sonorities and tone colors obtained with the piano by using these various techniques, along with subtle audio effects rendered via the computer, result in lovely performance-based compositions that reawaken the listener to the piano, and the tonal and timbre possibilities of it as "the grandest of all instruments", even in the age of the computer.

Most recently, he was awarded a 2010 Maryland State Arts Council Grant for his work combining improvisation, 'string method' techniques on a grand piano, and laptop computer. His current CD/recording project, 'Hidden Voices of the Grand Piano', is being released in late February, 2011.

His most-recent composition "Moore's Dust" was premiered on February 10th 2011 for the modern dance entitled "Dust", by Doug Hamby of the Baltimore Dance Project.




(to be continued... cause there's ALWAYS more to the story... ;)