When PAW last reported on Paul Lansky *73, the Princeton professor and computer music pioneer was in the process of reinventing himself. After more than three decades composing for computers, he noticed he was "struggling to uncover new territory," and by shifting his focus back to writing for instruments, he told PAW, "I find that I discovered 40 acres of territory that's not been planted."

Part of Lansky's new growth will come to fruition May 21 when the Alabama Symphony Orchestra debuts "Imaginary Islands," a "tone poem" that the composer told The Birmingham News was inspired by a game in which children design their own islands. Lansky, the Alabama Symphony's first composer-in-residence, has been working on the piece for much of the last year, and he seemed excited to hear its upcoming premiere.

"With computer music, you're your own sculptor," he explained in his interview with The Birmingham News. "You're working in a studio. It's so different when you hear this live organism playing back your piece. I hear really experienced orchestral composers say there are no surprises. For me everything will be a surprise."

(Photo by Anna Finke)

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