Shaken Earth is a collaborative, promotional platform for experimental artists of all genres with scores and visual new music content. The works are albums arranged into serial volumes exploring divergent landscapes of instrumental music.
We make and promote all forms of new music, whether composed or improvised; live or recorded; found, built or borrowed. We seek to break down barriers, remembering that prejudice is simply a preconceived notion of what’s possible or appropriate. By listening and being respectful of the cultural heritage of our artists, we strive to both tastefully and faithfully blend different musical materials by highlighting and recombining the subtle differences across many styles.
Our roster of collaborating artists features Kenneth D. Stewart (Durham, NC), Michael G. Ronstadt (Cincinnati, OH), Jamie L. Keesecker (Durham, NC), Charlie Reynardine (N. Wales, UK), Renee Luu (Raleigh, NC), Jim Bailey (Indianapolis, IN) and Doug Hamilton (Oxford, OH) with visual and moving image artists featured: Stewart Nelsen (Durham, NC) and Sair Goetz (Oakland, CA).
The People Behind It All
Michael G. Ronstadt:
Recording Artist, Songwriter, Teaching/Touring Musician
Cello, Guitar, Voice, Mandolin
An adept multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and composer, Michael G. Ronstadt has been captivating audiences throughout North America for nearly two decades. A master at his craft, Ronstadt traverses a mélange of musical styles that range from anywhere between folk, jazz, classical, Americana and new music. He lends his talents to a broad range of projects, including solo work and a variety of small ensembles, as well as larger bands. Primarily known for his prowess as a cellist, Michael G. has contributed his cello to hundreds of recordings from accomplished artists around the world. These include such names as Craig Bickhardt, Ezra Vancil, Amber Norgaard, and Zoe Mulford.
Ronstadt has also premiered several classical compositions on behalf of composers like Norway’s Bjørn Bolstad Skjelbred, as well as United States composers Kenneth D. Stewart, David Rothenberg, Gene Pritsker, Dan Cooper, Michael Dilthey, Christopher Cook and Conrad Kehn. After taking a position as adjust cello professor at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, Ronstadt is working closely with them to bring new music works to their newly built Center for the Visual and Performing Arts. He continues to work closely with Cincinnati’s University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (M.M. in Cello Performance in
2008) and Northern Kentucky University (former employer).
Michael has recorded over two dozen albums under his own name or in groups that he is a part of, including Ronstadt Brothers, Serenity Fisher & the Cardboard Hearts, and Aaron Nathans & Michael G. Ronstadt.
Kenneth D. Stewart:
Media Artist, Composer, Technologist, Teacher
Cello, Guitar, Ukes, Keyboard, Live Electronics
Kenneth D. Stewart (BMI) is of a Renaissance man with his work touches on many areas including composition, musical/theatric performance, and various technological research in the digital humanities. Kenneth’s compositions often weave together live instruments, voice, physical interfaces and sound processing into works with rich, melodious textures and an underpinning of the ambient electronic avant-garde. His musical research engages concepts of instrument modification and design and his non-compositional creative work of signal processing (linear and digital) and the hacking and modifications of electronic and acoustic musical instruments and electronic effects.
Kenneth’s piece ‘Divergence’ won the ASCAP Foundation’s Morton Gould Young Composer Award. ‘Fallen Soldier’, his composition for solo cello, has been performed and featured on PRI (Public Radio International). The piece ‘Thetastate’ was given a studio recording by the jazz trio The Bad Plus and was released online by Duke University in conjunction with Duke Performances. Other ensembles that have recorded and performed his music include Speculum Musicae, the Duke New Music Ensemble, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and the Wet Ink Ensemble.