Posts Tagged ‘EMPAC’

Electronic Composer Mark Fell Debuts as Choreographer at EMPAC at RPI [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, October 5th, 2015


British artist Mark Fell is best known as an electronic composer. Starting out in the UK house and techno scene of the 1990s, Fell has become one of the most esteemed innovators of electronic music’s more experimental flavors. It’s within this context that Fell has expanded his art practice to include light design, architectural installation, and other configurations of multimedia performance. With Recursive Frame Analysis, Fell will add the ingredient of human movement to the mix for his official debut as a choreographer. Developed over the course of a year in residence at EMPAC at RPI in Troy), the piece will premiere there at 8pm on Thursday and Friday (October 8 & 9).

The title and disciplinary progression of the piece takes its inspiration from a mode of talk therapy developed in the 1980s. RFA is a technique whereby the content of a conversation is reconsidered by analyzing the linguistic framework in which it unfolds. Inevitably, this process becomes recursive with the context of a prior exchange becoming the content for a new one. In Fell’s project, a similar process is undertaken with each medium (sound, light, and dance) nesting within the others.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.


Music for the Deaf & Hearing Impaired at EMPAC at RPI [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

It’s hard to imagine the act of listening without the use of the human ear. However, for Lebanese electronic composer Tarek Atoui, listening is an act that engages far more of our perceptual capabilities than simply hearing sound. In fact, Atoui has developed an art practice around composing and performing sound that can be appreciated by a hearing-impaired audience, drawing on an understanding of multimodal listening abilities including gesture, visuality, tactility and the space in which sound is performed. On Thursday (September 24) at 7pm, Atoui will present these ideas in a free performance at EMPAC at RPI in Troy.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

“The Extra People” Breaks Down Walls @ EMPAC at RPI [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015
Who is the actor and who is the audience?

Who is the actor and who is the audience?

The “fourth wall” is the imaginary barrier that separates the actors from the audience in a traditional theater production. When it’s broken, the audience is shocked into an awareness of the role they play in supporting the spectacle at hand. In British artist Ant Hampton’s new production, developed in residence at EMPAC at RPI in Troy, the fourth wall is so thin as to be nearly imperceptible, with the line between performer and audience equally unclear. On Thursday evening (September 10), the world premiere will find audience members entering the dimly lit theater, equipped with earphones, a flashlight and a high-viz jacket to search for who might be considered “The Extra People.”

Starting with “Rotozaza’s Etiquette” (2007), Hampton has created nine “autoteatro” works, including his recent Bessie-award-winning collaboration with Tim Etchells for library reading rooms (“The Quiet Volume”). In autoteatro, automated processes are delivered to the audience, normally through pre-recorded audio, which allow the audience members to experience the piece from the inside. In the case of “The Extra People,” audience members will be issued iPods with earbuds that will deliver particular instructions to each person. In this way, every person in the room will experience shifting roles on the participant-spectator spectrum.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

EMPAC Madness: Two Conflicting Music Styles Share One Program on Saturday [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015
Architeuthis Walks on Land is Amy Cimini and Katherine Young.

Architeuthis Walks on Land is Amy Cimini and Katherine Young.

By Larry Murray

It’s a bit like beauty and the beast. One is a soloist known for her elegance, grace and precise interpretation of contemporary composition. The other is a fearsome duo, known for their raw improvisational encounters with the extreme ranges of their instruments.

Conventional wisdom tells us that the two should repel one another, forcing both performers and their respective audience back into the safe disciplinary niche from whence they came. But the magic of this fable is that opposites attract and what contrasts also complements. On Saturday (April 25) at 8pm, this premise will be put to the musical test in Studio 2 at EMPAC at RPI in Troy, where Architeuthis Walks on Land will share the stage with Miranda Cuckson.

The viola and bassoon are not typically brandished in the pursuit of free improvisation and noise, but the duo Architeuthis Walks on Land brings fierceness and energy to these typically “orchestral” instruments. By way of extended techniques, bass amplification and rich textures, Amy Cimini and Katherine Young create a space where composition, indeterminacy and immediacy intersect.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

DD Dorvillier’s “Extra Shapes” at EMPAC Combines Sound, Light & Dance – But Doesn’t Blend [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015
Dance at RPI’s EMPAC in Troy, New York.

Dance @ EMPAC at RPI in Troy

Picture a carton of Neapolitan ice cream: three bands of strawberry, vanilla and chocolate perfectly proportioned, separated, juxtaposed. Each flavor retains its unique character and might be tasted alone, but, when taken as a triad, the dessert reveals its simple elegance through complementation not combination. This is the working analogy for choreographer and performer DD Dorvillier’s Extra Shapes, which treats the mediums of sound, light and movement in a similarly autonomous manner. The EMPAC-commissioned work will premiere at EMPAC at RPI in Troy at 8pm on Friday (March 20).

For Extra Shapes, the stage itself is the ice cream carton. Within that space, works of sound, light and dance occupy the three horizontal bands. According to its parts, the piece is a concert for loudspeakers (by composer Sebastien Roux), a light show (by lighting designer Thomas Dunn) and a performance for moving figures (created by Dorvillier with the performers Katerina Andreou and Walter Dundervill).

Staged in the EMPAC Theater, Extra Shapes consists of a 17-minute sequence which is repeated several times. The audience, seated along the sides of the rectangle, moves to a new side after each iteration in order to experience very different perspectives. The idea is to present the three mediums simultaneously but separately and to propose a new way of experiencing abstraction in the context of live performance.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Composer Enno Poppe to Give US Premiere of “Speicher,” Performed by Talea Ensemble at EMPAC [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

The Talea Ensemble

By Larry Murray

A note is commonly thought to be the smallest element of a musical composition. It is the composer’s task to arrange these elements and the performer’s to articulate them. But up to how much pitch variation is a note with vibrato still a single note? At a certain point in performance, the composer’s schema gives way to the performer’s intuitive sense for the note, bringing life into the system.

With “Speicher,” German composer Enno Poppe has created a complex structure of variations, repetitions and mictrotonal intonation, built to push its 22 players to their interpretive and technical extremes. On Friday (March 13) at 8pm, the Talea Ensemble will rise to this challenge in presenting the US premiere of “Speicher” at EMPAC at RPI in Troy.

“Speicher” had its world premiere at the Donaueschingen Festival in Germany in 2013 to widespread acclaim. Translated as “reservoir,” the piece extends a technique called “the hocket,” with which Poppe had experimented in earlier works. Common to 14th century choral music, the technique approaches orchestral arrangement much like a large-scale mosaic, fragmenting melody across the ensemble with quick cuts and changes of timbre. This follows an earlier compositional interest into traditional Korean notions of pitch, preferring to slide between notes rather than in a stepwise manner.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

EMPAC Streams Cally Spooner’s Live Show Around the World on Friday [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, February 12th, 2015


By Larry Murray

From Ed Sullivan to Jimmy Fallon, the TV variety show is a well-known format to American audiences. The at-home viewer watches a cavalcade of performers entertain an unseen studio audience, while that studio audience is complicit in the show, laughing and applauding according to prompts and direction. On Friday (February 13) at 8pm, for the final evening of her residency at EMPAC at RPI in Troy, artist Cally Spooner will stage a TV variety show in Studio 1, shot before a live studio audience and live-streamed to viewers around the world as part of her in-progress film work And You Were Wonderful, On Stage.

For the past two years, Spooner has developed material for the piece through itinerant engagements at galleries and performing arts venues around the world. Sketching scenes and stand-alone vignettes as the piece traveled, she performed a live musical version of And You Were Wonderful, On Stage with a chorus line of singers at Tate Modern last winter before coming to finish the work in residency at EMPAC.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Fugue States, Feral Horses and the Choreography of Flesh @ EMPAC on Saturday [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015
Ward of the Feral Horses, by Moroccan-Israeli artist Orit Ben-Shitrit, explores the sensation of a person being trapped in their body.

“Ward of the Feral Horses,” by Moroccan-Israeli artist Orit Ben-Shitrit, explores the sensation of a person being trapped in their body.

Over at EMPAC at RPI in Troy, New York we look forward to “media-dance” pioneer and Merce Cunningham collaborator Charles Atlas, who will be in residence this spring to develop a new piece of choreography tailored for the screen.

The multimedia dance form he helped popularize has been a programming priority at the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (110 8th St., Troy) ever since its opening.

With generous support from the Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts, the DANCE MOViES commission will present this year’s selected works on Saturday (January 31) at 7pm. Admission is free.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage


New Music & Cultural Symposium @ UAlbany Performing Arts Center, Albany, 1/29-31/15
Free Day @ MASS MoCA, North Adams, 1/31/15
New York State Writers Institute’s Visiting Writers Series @ UAlbany, Albany, various days
Music at Noon @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, select Thursdays
Beat the Snow Winter Concert Series @ Schenectady Public Library, Schenectady, Sundays

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