Friday, October 7, 2011
• She met Steve Oliver, the man who eventually commissioned the Tower, through a friend who knew that 1) Ann needed some live sheep for a current project, and 2) Steve happened to be raising sheep.
• The double helix staircase is modeled on a specific well in Orvieto, Italy - sheep descend to the water via one staircase, and they ascend via the other.
• OK, enough about sheep! More intriguingly, the Tower is designed to connect the sky and the ground, and Ann conceptualized it as a throat. (Funnily enough, one of the first images that came to mind upon entering the Tower was the vibrating column of air inside the throat or in a woodwind instrument.)
• It's a very INTERIOR space, even though it's outside. You won't get this until you're standing inside, but it's very true.
• Rhythmically, the staircase looks very regular, but it's not. The stairs get narrower and narrower as they ascend - this compression in ascension and relaxation in descent was integral to Hamilton's design.
• The primary experience was intended to be about movement. The stairs have a nice "gait" to them, though I wouldn't recommend walking them for extended periods of time, unless you're going for a great workout!
• You can look very intimately at the person opposite you on the other staircase, but you can't reach them.
• Finally, given its location in an earthquake zone, there is at least as much built UNDER the ground as there is above ground. During the construction, the team brought in workers from a bridge-building company with airtanks to go underground and make sure the concrete pillars penetrated into bedrock.
For more pictures of this singular venue just click here. The Sympho collaborative team is off to experiment in the Tower for a week, starting on October 17. Can. Not. Wait.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Monday, February 14, 2011
Tomorrow night, we move in to the 55,000 square foot Drill Hall to put this concert in its home. Up until now, we've been in a gorgeous historic room in the Armory, but what we've heard bears little resemblance to how it will actually sound in the Drill Hall. Luckily, Bora Yoon, Paul Fowler and I have done tons of research in the Drill Hall, figuring out its acoustics, even before we wrote a note of music.
This may be the last post I write before ARCO. It's gonna get pretty crazy.
Seriously...come to ARCO.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
As you can imagine, the next few days will be packed with activity for everyone involved in this production, so I'll try to get all the important details out right now, before it all hits:
1) Come. You will not want to miss this one. Wednesday, February 16 at 7:30 at the Park Avenue Armory's 55,000 square foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall at 643 Park Avenue, New York City. Buy your tickets here.
2) Read the program notes, beautifully written by Ruth Pongstaphone, ARCO's Staging and Visual Design Director. I can't stress enough how much this piece rewards deeper levels of knowledge.
3) Come to the 6pm pre-concert talk at the Armory, free for ticket-holders. You have to pre-register for this, though.
That's it for now. I'll try to post between now and the concert, but...no promises.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
3 Oboes/1 English Horn
3 Clarinets/1 Bass Clarinet
2 Tenor Trombones
1 Bass Trombone
2 Percussionists, playing all sorts of interesting instruments (10-gallon water jugs, anyone?)
1 Soprano (Bora Yoon)
1 Bass-Baritone (Charles Perry Sprawls)
New York Polyphony (early music quartet)
And...a partridge in a pear tree. I think that's it.
Basically, we're ready to go. Supremely exciting. We're very honored to be the opening night of the Armory's Tune-In festival, which New York's WQXR is calling the Top New Music Event of 2011.
Our program notes are up and ready for download here. We definitely recommend reading them in advance, as this concert rewards the listener for entering successively deeper levels of understanding.
Tickets are still available, but reserved seats are becoming scarce. Once you've bought your tickets, don't forget to register for the 6pm pre-concert talk with Paul Fowler, Bora Yoon, and me. We'll be discussing the evolution and work process of ARCO, along with getting into more detail even than the program notes.
Things are about to get hectic, as rehearsals commence Sunday. I'll try to keep you posted as we go along. See you at ARCO!
Monday, January 3, 2011
Sympho has invented a new performance concept, at once more accessible and visceral than the traditional concert-hall experience. Gone are the barriers separating orchestra from audience. Innovative theatrical techniques borrowed from contemporary theatre – alternative spatial positioning, lighting – help invigorate a concert-hall experience gone musty with tradition.
- ► February (5)