New PARMA artist Stephen Ruppenthal, a trumpeter, released his debut album FLAMETHROWER on Ravello Records last week. Ruppenthal, a West Coast man known for his electro-acoustic musical compositions, is also an educator and Technical Publications Director. Today, Ruppenthal is our next ‘Inside Story’ featured artist, a blog series exploring the personalities of our artists and composers. Read on and get to know him!
When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist/composer/creator?
Let me think way back, at about the age of 16 or 17, I realized that I wanted to be making music and performing, rather than look into traditional (and more ‘responsible’ occupations). Some folks were not happy about that. But, after becoming thoroughly inspired and entranced by performing in musical groups (jazz and classical music), I was won over and never looked back.
What was your most unusual performance or the most embarrassing thing that happened to you during a performance?
I performed a lot of live electronic music with the Electric Weasel Ensemble (Allen Strange, Don Buchla, et al) back in the day when we were using patchable analog systems (Buchla, Synthi AKS, etc). It was always a crap shoot if/when a cord stretched across the stage was going to either get broken, unplugged, or simply give out and stop working. There was many a time that I thought that I was adding to the ensemble of 5-6 synthesizers, only to ﬁnd out that I was no longer part of the sonic mix! Also, getting to a recording session without mouthpieces for my horns was another embarrassing, and sobering moment.
In the event of a zombie apocalypse, what are the three things you absolutely can’t live without?
Well, I think that we are living through a zombie apocalypse right now, so essential items must include single-malt scotch, my studio (along with horns), and my library. Of course, my family must be with me; that’s a given.
If you could spend creative time anywhere in the world, where would it be? And why?
We’ve always gravitated toward Italy and France. Would love to have a studio on the Amalﬁ coast, overlooking the sea, with another walk-up ﬂat in Paris for late-night concerts and soirees, and attending programs at IRCAM. Up until recently anyway, both countries have been very open and accepting socially and artistically welcoming, profound performing and visual arts precedents, and, ah, the food and wine are spectacular. Much more supportive of progressive art forms that push the boundaries. I’m all about pushing boundaries.