Red Plumes (2011)

cello and live electronics

Commissioned by Craig Hultgren.

Available on John Gibson: Traces (innova 896)


and on SEAMUS Interactions 2016.


View score excerpt [PDF].
(score available from American Composers Alliance)

Download the Max patch.

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Craig Hultgren, cello

Deep beneath the surface of the Pacific lie hydrothermal vents that spew scalding water, laced with toxic minerals and gases, onto the near-freezing ocean floor. In the pitch-black depths, giant tube worms grow to a length of eight feet, protected from the harsh conditions by a tough outer shell. Having no mouth and no digestive tract, they host bacteria that convert minerals into food. The bacteria in turn receive food from the worm’s blood-filled plumes, which exchange carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and other compounds with the seawater. A worm has no eyes, but somehow it can sense vibrations, which cause it to retract the plume into its shell. Imagine that you are hearing these vibrations.


  • Kevin Flynn, CECM Concert, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, 4/14/19
  • Daniel Toner, Sonic Explorations, University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music, 4/6/17
  • Mira Luxion, International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, 9/28/2015
  • Madeleine Shapiro, New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, CUNY Graduate Center, 4/4/2013
  • Craig Hultgren, Hyman Fine Arts Center, Francis Marion University, Florence, South Carolina, 3/14/13
  • Gregory Sauer, Festival of New Music, Florida State University College of Music, Tallahassee, Florida, 2/2/13
  • Craig Hultgren, Birmingham Art Music Alliance at Moonlight on the Mountain, Birmingham, Alabama, 11/12/12
  • Craig Hultgren, Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, Louisiana, 10/31/12
  • George Work, Lipa Festival of Contemporary Music, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, 10/9/12
  • Craig Hultgren, Covenant Presbyterian Church, Huntsville, Alabama, 2/19/2012
  • Craig Hultgren, SEAMUS National Conference, Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisconsin, 2/11/2012

Here is a screenshot of the Max patch. (Click to enlarge.)