Nicolas Aguia "Simulacrum"

Listen to "Simulacrum"

In my project, as one of the artists in residency at the Physics and Astronomy Department, I attempt to build on shared elements between music and the Quantum Simulation research at Dr. Jeremy Levy’s lab. Right from the start, I realize that to establish a literal connection between science and music is unnecessary since both disciplines inhabit different areas of knowledge. I decided to conduct a series of interviews with students and to attend their weekly group presentations on recent scholarship. I became an ethnographer by necessity: the outsider trying to figure out the mystery of an unknown culture. After several interviews, I realize that music composition and research in the lab share a common ground, not in terms of the content, but in methodology. By seeing the myriad of authors in each article presented, and how the work of each member of the Lab complement each other, I perceive that the condition of possibility of both science (as done in the lab) and music is collaboration. I apply the same principle by working closely with percussionist Michael Garret and exploiting his strengths as an integral part of the musical piece. It’s just as in the lab, different researchers at once have their areas of emphasis and are united by a common thematic thread, not only the space they work in. When I was talking with them in Levy’s lab, some words always surfaced in our conversations: motion and interaction of materials. These terms were always used when they described to me the simulations they do to understand and to create possible pairings of electrons. Motion and the interaction of materials are two basic principles that shape the solo percussionist piece I wrote, besides exploiting Michael strengths as a jazz improviser and hand drummer.

Nicolás Aguía is a composer and classical guitarist from Bogotá, Colombia. He has two bachelor’s degrees, one in music undergraduate degree from Sergio Arboleda University, one in Philosophy from Pontifical Xavierian University and received an M.M in Music theory and Composition from New York University (Steinhardt). He has studied composition with Ricardo Marquez, Amparo Angel, Ezequiel Viñao, Eric Moe and Mathew Rosenblum. His music has been performed in the United States, Italy and Colombia by ensembles like the Jack Quartet, Righteous Girls, Bearthoven, Sonic Apricity, TAK Ensemble, Duo Cortona, the NYU Contemporary Ensemble and the NYU Percussion Ensembles. His guitar music has been performed by the National University of Colombia Guitar Orchestra, premiering one of his pieces at the 1st International Guitar Festival in Cali, Colombia. He was a Composer Fellow of the Alba Composition Festival in 2019. Currently, he is pursuing his Ph.D. in Music Theory and Composition at the University of Pittsburgh.