Posts Tagged ‘EMPAC’

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.

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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

bosempacloopy

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

ADDITIONAL UPCOMING REAL GOOD FOR FREE EVENTS FOR 2015:

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

10 Artists Show 4 Works Over 10 Hours in One Day @ EMPAC Saturday [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

On Saturday (October 4), EMPAC at RPI in Troy will present a day of contemporary art spanning disciplines, inviting the public to experience a festival of newly commissioned works that push boundaries of storytelling, along with one of the most technically outstanding guitarists of our time.

At 4PM, Temporary Distortion begins a six-hour performance of “My Voice Has an Echo in It,” combining live music, text and video in a fully enclosed 24′ x 6′ capsule made of two-way mirrors. All performers are completely confined within this free-standing, soundproof box; the audience watches and listens from outside, but the performers cannot see outside the container.

The first of three EMPAC-commissioned works premiering that day, “My Voice Has an Echo in It” calls into question the very nature of live events, with all sounds created by the performers captured, processed and stored by a computer before being played back for the listener after a few seconds delay. The audience experiences the performance both as a live spectacle and a disembodied record of what has just been presented. Audience members can listen to the performance through headphones stationed at windows in the soundproof box and are free to come and go whenever they please.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

A Cabinet of Curiosities Performed in “Death and the Young-Girl” at EMPAC in Troy [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013
Death and the Young-Girl (photo: Robert Bouthillier)

“Death and the Young-Girl” (photo: Robert Bouthillier)

There are several unusual – and endlessly fascinating – programs at EMPAC in Troy in the coming days. Most interesting is theatrical experimentation that conflates sound poetry, classroom lessons from a one-of-a-kind ballet instructor, songs, sculptures and music by a string quartet which combine to form a multifaceted and symbolic portrait of “the Young-Girl.” Created by Québec-based Bureau de l’APA, and presented by the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, on Saturday, October 12 at 7pm it is another chance to see what the cutting edge artists of today are doing to push the creative envelope.

Inspired by a treatise by the French collective Tiqqun titled “Raw Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl,” Bureau de l’APA’s “La Jeune-Fille et la Mort (Death and the Young-Girl)” illustrates in fragments the concept of the “girlization” of the world so characteristic of our era of over-consumption and pathological seduction. According to the texts, “the Young-Girl is not always young; more and more frequently, she is not even female. She is the figure of total integration in a disintegrating social totality.”

Ferociously undisciplined and rigorously unruly, Bureau de l’APA generate emotion in uncommon ways as they deconstruct ideas, words and clichés and hijack eras, genres and styles. Blasts of protest have never blown with such grace on our certainties and convictions.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Glistening Music from Oneohtrix Point Never at EMPAC at RPI, 9/12/13 [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, September 9th, 2013

Oneohtrix Point Never – a k a the ambient-noise musician Daniel Lopatin – generally forgoes percussion altogether, instead creating beautiful, glistening caverns of space that shift in sneaky, oceanic fashion. At once they’re vast and also slippery. But something as pedestrian as a beat? Never that.

The Brooklyn-based composer creates music that is often described as “cinematic” and “orchestral.” While broad in range, Lopatin does not ignore the small stuff; his sound engineering crafts and controls every detail and effect. Pulling from a wide range of influences—synth sounds, television commercials, classical minimalism, and high-end audio production—Lopatin condenses the disparate sounds to form music that slopes forward with self-contained narratives.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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