This week, UCLA’s online journal, “Echo,” featured a story about our recent collaboration with the Center for Poetry at MSU, Voicing Poetry. The blog is edited by recent MSU graduate in musicology, Patrick Bonczyk. Check it out via the link below!
Telling Science Through Music: the Crossroads Project
“The audiences would understand it on an intellectual level,” says Davies. “The science is pretty self-explanatory and very compelling.” But they didn’t seem to personally connect with the information. They understood it, but they weren’t feeling it, he says — and weren’t taking any action.
It was as if he were informing people about the dangers of smoking, and then watching them go out afterward and light up cigarettes.
Davies became passionately interested in finding ways to change people’s behavior when it comes to climate change.
He left Oxford, England and quantum optics for Logan, Utah and a job at the Utah State University Climate Center.
One day it occurred to him that maybe music was the answer. His idea was a hybrid event: one that sort of combined a lecture on climate with a musical performance — performance art and performance science.
(read the rest and listen to the String Quartet commissioned from Laura Kaminsky).
Music review from
5 questions to Jonathan Berger
Now in its seventh year, the 2013 Music & Brain Symposium begins on April 12 at Stanford University. The brainchild of Jonathan Berger, professor at Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), the conference brings together a multi-disciplinary group of musicians, scientists, and academics for two days of performances and presentations. This year’s symposium focuses on the phenomenon of auditory hallucinations.
Read the whole interview here.
The Met Museum: Janet Cardiff’s “Forty Part Motet”
The Forty Part Motet (2001), a sound installation by Janet Cardiff (Canadian, born 1957), was the first presentation of contemporary art at The Cloisters. Regarded as the artist’s masterwork, and consisting of forty high-fidelity speakers positioned on stands in a large oval configuration throughout the Fuentidueña Chapel, the fourteen-minute work, with a three-minute spoken interlude, continuously played an eleven-minute reworking of the forty-part motet Spem in alium numquam habui (1556?/1573?) by Tudor composer Thomas Tallis (ca. 1505–1585). Spem in alium, which translates as “In No Other Is My Hope,” is perhaps Tallis’s most famous composition. Visitors were encouraged to walk among the loudspeakers and hear the individual unaccompanied voices—bass, baritone, alto, tenor, and child soprano—one part per speaker—as well as the polyphonic choral effect of the combined singers in an immersive experience. The Forty Part Motet is most often presented in a neutral gallery setting, but in this case the setting was the Cloisters’ Fuentidueña Chapel, which features the late twelfth-century apse from the church of San Martín at Fuentidueña, near Segovia, Spain, on permanent loan from the Spanish Government. Set within a churchlike gallery space, and with superb acoustics, it has for more than fifty years proved a fine venue for concerts of early music.
Of the work, Cardiff says,
“While listening to a concert you are normally seated in front of the choir, in traditional audience position. With this piece I want the audience to be able to experience a piece of music from the viewpoint of the singers. Every performer hears a unique mix of the piece of music. Enabling the audience to move throughout the space allows them to be intimately connected with the voices. It also reveals the piece of music as a changing construct. As well I am interested in how sound may physically construct a space in a sculptural way and how a viewer may choose a path through this physical yet virtual space. I placed the speakers around the room in an oval so that the listener would be able to really feel the sculptural construction of the piece by Tallis. You can hear the sound move from one choir to another, jumping back and forth, echoing each other and then experience the overwhelming feeling as the sound waves hit you when all of the singers are singing.”
Music in Vernacular Photographs
“…i listen to the wind that obliterates my traces: music in vernacular photographs” is a fascinating multimedia work by Steve Roden. I received a copy for my birthday this year from my best friend.
The collection is whimsical, unique, and deeply moving. Unlike a traditional poetry or essay anthology, photograph collection, or album, the book/CD set blurs the lines between text, images, and music/sound effects. The book doesn’t have a table of contents or chapters. The photographs don’t have captions. The associations between sounds, words, and pictures are made by the reader/listener. Interacting with the very object of the book becomes a kind of interpretative act, which the author mediates by means of curation.
This piece makes me wonder how can music become a thing we touch like a book, or a text we read? How can collecting and transmitting sound sound to an audience make composers into curators?
The Getty: “A New York Soundtrack for a New York Painting”
“[W]e’re using the Getty Center’s late summer hours to explore the connections between music and the visual arts. Having such a vibrant painting like Pollock’s Mural on view gives us an especially wonderful opportunity to understand how music and art operate as artistic mediums in relation to each other.”