I’m knee-deep in a very fascinating and satisfying workshop being facilitated by Kitchener-Waterloo organization Inter Arts Matrix. The brainchild of vocalist/ actor/ director/ administrator/ etc. etc. Anne-Marie Donovan, Inter Arts Matrix works to assist in the creation of fascinating interdisciplinary work.
This present workshop is for a Canada Council commissioned work, Signature, which I’ve been working on for some time in collaboration with painter/ media artist Isabella Stefanescu, and programmer/ interface designer Klaus Engel which takes people’s signatures and spoken names and creates generative music based on the signature’s contours, pressure, speed etc., using the audio of the spoken name (and the sound of the inscription of the signature) as the sound sources. The electronic end of the piece works as an installation designed to be situated in the lobby of a concert event. Audience members sign and speak their name, and as they enter into the performance space to seat themselves, they hear their names being treated through the generative processes, creating a multichannel ambient music/sound piece in the space, prior to the concert.
The piece is one facet of Stefanescu’s project, Euphonopen.
If that doesn’t sound complex and opaque enough already, this workshop has also introduced another crucial piece: an improvising choir.
We’ve enlisted Christine Duncan, director of Toronto’s Element Choir and André Pappathomas who leads L’ensemble Mruta Mertsi in Montréal to work with a group of vocalist/ actors improvisationally using various conducting cues. And now the three of us are working together on what is essentially a collaborative composition.
Ultimately, I will be creating an open-ended score which articulates a form and certain sonic ideas yet allows Christine and André’s conduction methods and improvisatory impulses to shine. The work will dovetail with the generative and will also employ the manipulation of peoples’ names. The leader of the choir in the performance will also have control over the electronics sounds.
The whole process is really exciting and I’m looking forward to the work being débuted at some point next year!!
Here are some videos of the two choirs: