Project Title: “Waking the Monster”
Commissioning Agency: ILLUMINUS FESTIVAL
Medium: Site-specific / existing architecture, sound, interactive, light, projected / mapped video
Contributing Artists: Maria FInklemeier (co-producer), SAMO (projection artist and mapper)
The banner piece in Boston’s ILLUMINUS FESTIVAL, “Waking the Monster” brought Fenway Park’s Green Monster to life. The exterior of the famed left field wall provided the existing architecture the team sought to activate.
Careful site research, extensive audio sampling and mapping of the acoustic structure, as well as 3-D modeling for projection purposes began months before the event. The production team identified the preferred surfaces to play on, and established a notation system, as well as placements for 9 percussionists in the structure - 3 per level / up 3 levels.
Through an open-call for submissions, 6 New-England composers were identified to write new music for this percussion instrument. Off and on-site rehearsals and testing coupled with city-permitting, collaborations with sound and structural engineers prepared the team for the event.
SAMO worked closely with the producers to design projected motion graphics mapped to the structure and relevant to each piece of music. In addition, drum triggers were placed on the structure to provide “midi bangs” via a Roland TD-30 module to the projection desk - allowing SAMO to key video content synchronized to the drummers activity.
A truly historic undertaking, the Monster came to life and the Illuminus Festival drew over 30,000 attendees.
Project Managers / Presenters: Dan Sternof Beyer, Jeff Grantz / Materials and Methods
Lighting Designer: Jon Gahndo
Photos: Aram Boghosian
Video / edit: Rob Eckel
Additional video: C49 Productions
Project Support: Roland Corporation, Vic Firth Drumsticks
Medium: Sound, Light, HD Polyethylene, Electronics
SOUND SCULPTURE is an interactive sound and light instrument. 25 location-aware blocks report their coordinates to the controlling computer, which in turn plots each location in software. The computer then scans the locations and triggers each cube to light and make sound sequentially - "reading," in a way, the musical layout, as created and constantly changed by the public's interaction with the cubes. This allows participants to create not only physical structures, but musical compositions created and manipulated by the physical relationship of the cubes. It is like walking onto the staff paper, picking up the notes and moving them around, thereby changing pitch, rhythm, melody and harmony.
In this way participants are creating physical and sonic structures collectively and simultaneously.
It is also just plain fun to build and play with illuminated cubes, while interesting music is created as a by-product.
Sound Sculpture is an interactive instrument, designed for play and expression by people of all ages and collaboration with artists of all types.
The project was designed and launched in early 2017 and has throughout New England and New York City, making its debut at the Innovation and Design Building in Boston on April 28, 2017.
Debut special thanks to: Yo-el Cassell and 360 Dance, Maria Finkelmeier, Jane Long
Consultant / Guru: Dave O'Brien
Founding Technical Director: Andrew Hlynsky
Current Technical Director: Jeremy Stewart
Special Thanks to our Grantors NEFA and The Boston Foundation
Photos: Aram Boghosian / Rachel Tine (last 2 photos)
Collaborating Artist: Savvas Spyridopoulos / BLiNK Project Group
Commissioning Agency: Boston Society of Architects
Medium: Glass, Light, Sound, Interactive / site-specific
Project Funded in Part By: Thomas Wirth Architects, Ithaka Contracting and Design
As the cap-stone piece at the 2014 Boston Society of Architects annual convention, OASIS was designed as an ethereal environment set within the convention atmosphere. Purpose-built within a 40’x20’ tent, 17 glass cymbals hung from steel cables at varying heights. Each cymbal was outfitted with a custom LED fixture and a sensor; as the public wove throughout the environment and touched the cymbals, that touch triggered movement through a light score as well as local sound.
An 8-channel custom sound system played back sound compositions designed and recorded forthis environment, and allowed the local sound of each cymbal to be realized in a local orientation. Five light scores cycled relative to the soundscape cued. MAX/MSP software and arduino technology received the trigger data and managed the light and sound score playback.
Software Programming: Aseem Suri
Additional Sound Score: Nate Tucker
Photos: Ben Korsch
Video: Ernesto Galan
Augur: The Rite of Spring Reconsidered
Commissioning Agency: Berklee College of Music / Composition Department
Medium: Video, Sound, Light, Wood / site-specific
Contributing Artists: Jörn Bielfeldt, Aaron Edwards, Javier Cruz, Tim Schoen, Yo-el Cassell
On the 100th Anniversary of the iconic work, Berklee commissioned me to create a music and dance work as a part of a college-wide celebration. Largely seen as marking the beginning of the Modern Era of art, The Rite holds a special place in my heart as the debut in Paris in 1913 provoked an outcry, yet still stands as an important work - celebrated as much for its enduring beauty as for its original scandal.
Performed in the round and set in a ballroom, the work brings the audience to an intimacy with the performance that borders uncomfortable. Extreme patience in the sound score and choreography frame the monolithic sculpture that provides the dancers with a plinth, and the projected video a canvas. The sound-score, as well as the choreography include quotes, digressions and developments based on the original by Igor Stravinsky and Vaslav Nijinsky.
Photos: Ben Korsch
Video: Ernesto Galan
Fabrication: Justin Keith
Medium: Percussion, DJ, guitar, loops, samples
Collaborating Artists: Mafu Williams
[BABA] - which means father in many, many languages, is a duo project based on principles of expansive sound research and collaboration with visual mediums. And the two guys are indeed fathers.
New Music releasing in 2016
Photos: Ellen Korsch, Rachel Tine
Tension Release Suite
Project Title: TRS (tension release suite)
Year: 2012, 2013
Commissioning Agency: Berklee College of Music
Medium: Sound, Light, Projected Video, Dance
Contributing Artists: Jörn Bielfeldt, Tim Shoen, Aaron Edwards
TRS is a 30 minute installation / performance piece that explores and expresses the fundamental tenets of Plato’s Symposium on The Origins of Love. In brief - that we originated before “we” but as “one” and were torn apart by the Gods. The arc of this work follows the process of unity, duality, awareness, animation, consciousness, connection - and then finally trying to smash ourselves back together.
Manifested through an expressive sound score, dance and video design.
Photos: Erich Ludwig
Video: Aaron Edwards
Collaborations and commissions by Boston and NYC based choreographers and dance groups.
Project Title: Federator N°1
Year: 2010 - present
Medium: Performance musical group, dance
Contributing Artists: various
Federator N°1 is a 14-piece AfroBeat band based in Boston, MA. Celebrating the music of Fela Kuti / Tony Allen and the wild, powerful diaspora of Afro-dance music, the Feds serve the dance floor.
Federator N°1 has shared the stage with the likes of Femi Kuti, Oumou Sangare, Freshly Ground, UHURU Afrika and many more. The group performs at clubs and functions, festival and private events throughout New England and NYC.
Photos: Ellen Korsch, Ben Korsch,
Project Title: Rhythm Stage
Year: 2013- present
Commissioning Agency: Wheatland Music Festival
Medium: Site-specific, Earth, wood, composite materials, concrete, stone, light
Dedicated September 9, 2016
The elder statesman in the Michigan Festival scene, The Wheatland Festival attracts 15,000+ to its annual traditional arts festival each September. A long-time supporter of traditional drumming and dancing from all corners of the world, the festival commissioned this percussion / acoustic performance design.
Seating for more than 100 audience and three “dance-decks” the design supports percussion workshops of all sizes (up to 80-100 drummers), and thrusts staging options into the crowd. Based on the Akan adinkra symbol “geneyame” - which means to accept the divine - the design speaks to the forest surroundings, the festival’s heritage, and the African Diaspora so central to rhythm in America.
Project Manager: Paul Sachs
Development / Drawings: Wayne Appleyard, JBS Contracting
Commissioning Agency: Boston Society of Architects
Medium: Site-Specific, Sound, Light, Glass
Contributing Artists: Savvas Spyridopoulos/ BLiNK Project Group, Ryan Edwards - Musical Director
An 18-piece orchestra “exploded” into 9 trios, all connected by audio monitoring and spread throughout a convention center. The audience “mixes” the audio as they move physically in the space - creating a unique and ever changing sonic environment.
Sound Engineer: Bryan Atterbury
Orignial Soundscore: Bob Pilkington
Additional Glass Artist: Otom Jaffers
Video: Aaron Edwards
Medium: Culture, Site-specific, Craziness, Mud Bricks, Wood, Grass, Cement, Prayers
Contributing Artists: Milla Sylla, Morlai Sylla, Brahmasory Sylla, Abas Camara
A ten-year project, “Center Illymanya” was home to the annual adventure-travel missions hosting students from across North America and Europe. A modest retreat center, Illymanya is based on a mountaintop in the Susu Mountains of Guinea, West Africa.
Created as a cultural-exchange school, Illymanya hosted 10-20 westerners for 3 weeks every year and programmed drum, dance and balafon classes in addition to weekend adventures and local explorations.
In 2007, Seattle-based documentary film makers Reel Insyte followed this “strange pilgrimage” to Guinea, and produced a film titled “Illymanya.” The piece was shown at film festivals nationally, winning awards and inspiring many. The full film can be seen here.
Video: Reel Insyte
Medium: Drum & Dance performance ensemble
Contributing Artists: Dori Edwards, Director of Dance
Based in southeast Michigan, Like Water Drum & Dance was considered the premier performance group of its kind. Presenting at festivals, clubs, schools, universities and cultural events Like Water Drum & Dance performed for hundreds of thousands of people over its nearly ten year run.
Photos: Marco Mancinelli
Video: Courtesy of Atticus Sumner
Medium: Orchestra, Youth Drum & Dance performance ensemble
Contributing Artists: Patrick Greene (Co-composer) Brian Mirage (Choreography), Christopher Wilkins (Artistic Director and Conductor)
An original piece of music commissioned by Boston Landmarks Orchestra and premiered August 17, 2016 at the iconic Hatch Shell on the Charles River Esplanade.
The piece was conceived by Ryan Edwards and scored for 25 youth drummers, 20 dancers, and full orchestra. The dedication of the work is to Mabinte Camara "Mother, Friend, Dancer, Bridge Builder."
Photos: Alexandra Wimley