Tonight (Wednesday, March 1) EMPAC at RPI in Troy kicks off the second half of the Watering the Flowers film series, which will feature the work of EMPAC artists-in-residence throughout the Spring 2017 season.
Started in Fall 2016, Watering the Flowers takes its title from cinema pioneer Georges Méliès’ 1896 film of the same name, which was itself a copy of a Lumiere brothers film and was in turn endlessly copied and referenced by fellow filmmakers. In a similar way, this film series aims to “water the flowers” by allowing current artists-in-residence to screen the films that influence them.
In 2016, EMPAC at RPI in Troy completed construction on a 496-speaker “wave field synthesis” audio array, one of the most extensive and precise systems of its kind in the world, and this week on February 16-18, EMPAC music curator Argeo Ascani and audio engineers Todd Vos and Jeff Svatek will present a series of demonstrations introducing audiences to this new immersive sound technology.
Introduction to Wave Field Synthesis will be offered in four sessions between Thursday-Saturday, with attendance limited to just 15 participants at each event. Please reserve your ticket in advance.
Wave field synthesis is a spatial audio rendering technique that places virtual sound sources in real space, creating a precise three-dimensional sound field that may be physically explored by the listener. This is accomplished by placing a very large number of very small speakers very close together. EMPAC’s new system is novel in that it can reach into a much higher frequency range than other such systems — the band of human hearing that is most sensitive to sound placement in space. EMPAC’s system is also unique in that it is modular in construction, allowing composers, musicians and aficionados different geometric configurations for the wave field.
Organized by printmaker and RPI lecturer Nathan Meltz, the show handily demonstrates that a blue-collar medium that grew up in the golden age of advertising and was adapted into a fine art in the ’60s and ’70s is still wonderfully alive and well.
When most people think of transgender art (if they think about it at all) they conjure up tacky nightclubs, drag queens and a hidden, clandestine world. That’s not only wrong: it’s insulting.
Dig a little more deeply and you will find there is some exceptional artisty to be had, and given the chance, you and I can discover what a truly creative mind can bring to the stage. It is in that spirit that we choose this performance as a top pick, one you should not miss.
As it is, artist Wu Tsang will cap a week-long production residency at EMPAC at RPI in Troy with the stage performance Moved by the Motion, a collaboration with performer boychild and experimental cellist Patrick Belaga. Part of an ongoing, iterative series of such performances, the show at 8pm on Friday (April 15) will feature a new lighting design, crafted in the EMPAC Theater.
Existing at the edge of what can be heard, the music of Italian composer Salvatore Sciarrino is identified by whispers of sound that punctuate a canvas of silence. It’s music that demands a pristine listening environment to be presented properly. On Thursday (April 14), the rare pairing will be achieved when a program of chamber works by Sciarrino is presented in the concert hall of EMPAC at RPI in Troy.
Often touching upon Italian medieval and Renaissance culture as an inspiration, Sciarrino distills the sounds he uses in his compositions down to their essence to create music that exists outside of the noise of daily modern life. For his new approach to old ideas, he has become one of the best known and respected European composers working today, with more than 100 recordings to his name. His fragile music requires exceptional focus from its performers, stretching their technique and control to extremes.
Rensselaer faculty Nicholas DeMaison has been working in residence at EMPAC this week rehearsing three of Sciarrino’s best-known works (composed between 1985 and 2009). Working with a nine-piece ensemble and featured vocalist Amanda DeBoer Bartlett, the program will consist of “Infinito Nero,” a piece that draws its inspiration from the vocal outbursts of 16th-century mystic St. Mary Magdalene de’Pazzi; “Lo Spazio Inverso,” a piece that creates islands of sound in a sea of silence; and the most recent, “L’Altro Giardino,” an elaboration of his earlier work “Il Giardino di Sara.”
The performance is an homage to the rich cultural heritage of Greater Nippertown. Albany’s nickname “City of Immigrants” inspired this unique concert featuring music from many of the cultures which have influenced our region, including Dutch, German, English, Italian, Polish, African-American, Asian, Irish, Jewish and Hispanic. The concert will include the world premiere of a work by Albany Pro Musica composer-in-residence Steve Murray, commissioned exclusively for this event.
This performance is preceded by many events currently being celebrated throughout the Local 518, including art exhibitions and lectures. GO HERE for a complete listing of events coordinated by Sharon Roy and Karen Hitchcock.
A view of the 38th Annual Photography Regional at Fulton Street Gallery
Review by David Brickman
At the age of 38, the Photography Regional has come full circle. Originally conceived as a counterpoint to the Mohawk-Hudson Regional, which did not accept photography until the early ’90s, the Photo Regional has always been popular with professionals, artists, amateurs, professors and students; and it has always made a splash with audiences, and in local media.
But has it evolved?
The current iteration of the show, at Fulton Street Gallery in Troy through Saturday, April 2, looks and feels eerily like the earliest Photo Regionals – it was mounted this year first as an all-inclusive salon, and then as a juror selection (following the original format); it includes a significant number of the same names that participated in it way back then; the prints and images, though mainly produced with digital technology, look a lot like prints and images of the ’70s; and it is in the same city as the first Photo Regional (which was hosted by the Rensselaer County Council on the Arts, now known as the Arts Center of the Capital Region).
The gorgeous strings of the Berkshire Bach Society
By Larry Murray
This week the new year will dominate our thoughts. Decisions. Whether to celebrate the birth of the new year by getting a little tipsy, or to mark it with a salute to the past is always a choice to be made. The Berkshire Bach Society gives us the chance to do a little of both. With refinement and tradition and absolutely no silly noisemakers anywhere in sight.
This year, the Berkshire Bach Society is celebrating its 25th season by bringing baroque music to the Berkshires, Troy and the Pioneer Valley with Johann Sebastian Bach as the focal point. While its iconic “Bach at New Year’s” series most often includes all six of the Brandenburg Concerti led by the Society’s music director and harpsichordist Kenneth Cooper, this year is one of the occasional departures from that programming.