Music Director Ludovic Morlot will conduct the world premiere of Above, Below, and In Between, a Seattle Symphony commission and site-specific composition by kinetic sculptor, sound artist and Music Alive Composer-in-Residence Trimpin, during [untitled] on May 1. Above, Below, and In Between is a composition for small orchestra, soprano voice, prepared piano, kinetic instruments and gesture-controlled conducting. It will be performed in the Grand Lobby and Promenade of Benaroya Hall. Also on the concert program will be works by the late American composer George Perle, with whom Ludovic Morlot had a deep connection and friendship since their first meeting at Tanglewood in 2001. This concert program commemorates the occasion of Perle’s 100th anniversary year. Pianist Michael Brown, who was just awarded a 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant, will perform on the program. See concert details for more information.
Through integrating architecture, time, space and harmonic spectrum, Above, Below, and In Between is a sculpture and musical composition exploring the space and time continuum. The kinetic instrument installation consists of a 24-reedhorn sculpture made with materials found from a pump organ, and a set of concert chimes originally owned by the composer Henry Brant, both will be installed between the nine columns of the Benaroya Hall Promenade. A prepared grand piano equipped with small robotic devices that pluck, bow, scratch or play the strings will be positioned on the floor of the Grand Lobby. Nine Symphony musicians and a guest soprano will enter the lobby or promenade during the performance from various directions just before the start of their parts. Created in collaboration with former student Dimitri Diakopoulos, who is presently a creative technologist, the piece uses a new gesture sensing tool that allows Ludovic Morlot to control the dynamic levels of the kinetic instruments from the conductor's stand. This tool facilitates a human-like dialog between the kinetic instruments and the conductor, who is capable of integrating communications both in unison or synchronization with the live musicians. The installation will remain in Benaroya Hall for public viewing and interaction, as well as educational tours, after the premiere.
“Trimpin’s unique sounds and ideas created with incredible artistry is something I appreciate,” says Music Director Ludovic Morlot, “To think outside of the box, using technology to explore musical possibilities, is fascinating. I am eager for our musicians and myself to together experience the process of being a part of something unusual, to read a score that comes in shapes and colors, and to uncover the possibilities of what we can do with our instruments.”
Music Alive Composer-in-Residence Trimpin is currently in his second year of a three-year residency with the Seattle Symphony, and has worked with the Education and Community Engagement arm of the Symphony on a number of initiatives. During the 2014–2015 season, the long-standing Science of Sound school workshop will connect 3rd–5th graders to Trimpin’s approach to inventing new instruments to explore the properties of sound. Students from 30 schools will use PVP pipes and other objects to create their own instruments while learning about orchestral instruments, sound production and vibration. In May the Symphony will host these students on tours to hear and interact with the installation.
Five high-school composers in the Merriman Family Young Composers’ Workshop will write additional music for Trimpin’s Benaroya Hall installation and live musicians. Between 2013 and 2015, the students have had the opportunity to work with Trimpin on writing for the kinetic instruments through various workshops and studio visits. A culminating concert featuring the premiere of these pieces will be held in the Grand Lobby on June 1 at 7:30 p.m., to be hosted by KING FM announcer Dave Beck.
The Seattle Symphony launches #Mixtrument in conjunction with the premiere of Above, Below, and In Between, inviting the public to participate in a community composition inspired by Music Alive Composer-in-Residence Trimpin. Drawing on Trimpin’s philosophy of creativity and invention, the #Mixtrument competition challenges people to make their own instruments with found objects, record a short video using the instrument and submit it to be considered for a crowdsourced community composition. The #Mixtrument composition is created by layering individual compositions in different combinations. Video submissions are accepted through April 27, and can be uploaded to YouTube using the hashtag #Mixtrument in the post. For complete details and instructions on the composition, visit seattlesymphony.org.
Friday, May 1, at 10 p.m.
S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium and Samuel & Althea Stroum Grand Lobby
Ludovic Morlot, conductor
Michael Brown, piano
Critical Moments (No. 1)
MICHAEL BROWN, PIANO
Serenade No. 3
MICHAEL BROWN, PIANO
Above, Below, and In Between (World Premiere)
JESSIKA KENNEY, SOPRANO
***Please note: The first three pieces on the concert program will be performed in the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium, the final piece on the program will be performed in the Samuel & Althea Stroum Grand Lobby.
Trimpin’s original work is owned and commissioned by the Seattle Symphony.
Trimpin with the Seattle Symphony is made possible through Music Alive, a residency program of the League of American Orchestras and New Music USA. This national program is designed to provide orchestras with resources and tools to support their presentation of new music to the public and build support for new music within their institutions. Funding for Music Alive is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music and The ASCAP Foundation Bart Howard Fund.
Trimpin is the Music Alive Composer-in-Residence with the Seattle Symphony. Music Alive is a national residency program of the League of American Orchestras and New Music USA.
Trimpin is supported by Dorrit and Grant Saviers through the Seattle Symphony’s Guest Artists Circle. Additional support for Trimpin is provided by Susan Shanbrom Krabbe and Moe Krabbe.
Born in Germany in 1951, Trimpin moved to Seattle, Washington in 1980 in search of found objects from the aviation and technology sectors that he can repurpose for art installations. Since then, Trimpin has become widely recognized as a kinetic sculptor, sound artist and musician, and his work can be seen through many commissions and public art projects in the Puget Sound region and across the country. Recipient of numerous awards and grants, Trimpin was awarded a MacArthur “Genius” Award in 1997.
The New York Times declared Michael Brown “one of the leading figures in the current renaissance of performer-composers” and “a young piano visionary.” An equally committed pianist and composer, he is the First Prize Winner of the 2010 Concert Artists Guild Competition. Brown joins the roster of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Two program in 2015 and his recent schedule included a Carnegie Hall Stern Auditorium debut; recitals at Wigmore Hall, Louvre, Alice Tully Hall; and performances at the Marlboro, Ravinia, Caramoor, Moab, Most Mozart and Music@Menlo festivals. Recent commissions include those by the Maryland Symphony, Look & Listen Festival, Bargemusic and Concert Artists Guild. Recent recordings are with his duo partner, cellist Nicholas Canellakis, a four-hand album with pianist Jerome Lowenthal, a debut solo album, a George Perle CD for Bridge Records, and Schubert for Naxos. A native New Yorker, he earned dual bachelor’s and master’s degrees in piano and composition from The Juilliard School, where he studied with pianists Jerome Lowenthal and Robert McDonald and composer Samuel Adler and Robert Beaser. He was recently appointed Adjunct Assistant Professor of Piano at Brooklyn College.
French conductor Ludovic Morlot is Music Director of the Seattle Symphony. During the 2014–2015 season Ludovic and the Seattle Symphony will continue to invite their audiences to "listen boldly," presenting a wide variety of works ranging from Mozart’s Requiem, Dvořák’s last three symphonies, Berlioz's Roméo et Juliette and Mahler's Symphony No. 3 to Ives, Dutilleux and Salonen as well as premieres by Sebastian Currier, Julian Anderson and Trimpin.
Ludovic Morlot was Chief Conductor of La Monnaie for three years (2012–2014). During this time he conducted several new productions including La Clemenza di Tito, Jenufa and Pelléas et Mélisande. Concert performances, both in Brussels and Aix-en-Provence, included repertoire by Beethoven, Stravinsky, Britten, Webern and Bruneau.
During the 2014–2015 season Ludovic will return to both the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony Orchestras. He also has a strong connection with the Boston Symphony Orchestra whom he conducts regularly in Boston and Tanglewood and recently on a tour to the west coast of America. This relationship started when he was the Seiji Ozawa Fellowship Conductor at the Tanglewood Music Center and subsequently appointed assistant conductor for the orchestra and their Music Director James Levine (2004–07). Ludovic has also conducted the New York Philharmonic and the symphony orchestras in Philadelphia, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Elsewhere, Ludovic’s engagements have included the Royal Concertgebouw, London Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle, Budapest Festival, Orchestre National de France, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin and Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestras.
Trained as a violinist, Ludovic studied conducting in London and was conductor in residence with the Orchestre National de Lyon (2002–04). Ludovic was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in 2014. He is Chair of Orchestral Conducting Studies at the University of Washington School of Music in Seattle.
Founded in 1903, the Seattle Symphony is one of America’s leading symphony orchestras and is internationally acclaimed for its innovative programming and extensive recording history. Under the leadership of Music Director Ludovic Morlot since September 2011, the Symphony is heard live from September through July by more than 300,000 people. It performs in one of the finest modern concert halls in the world — the acoustically superb Benaroya Hall — in downtown Seattle. Its extensive education and community-engagement programs reach over 100,000 children and adults each year. The Seattle Symphony has a deep commitment to new music, commissioning many works by living composers each season, including John Luther Adams’ recent Become Ocean, which won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Music and a 2015 Grammy for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. The orchestra has made more than 140 recordings and has received 18 Grammy nominations, two Emmy Awards and numerous other accolades. In 2014 the Symphony launched its in-house recording label, Seattle Symphony Media.
Concert tickets are $20 and may be purchased at www.seattlesymphony.org, by calling the Seattle Symphony Ticket Office at (206) 215-4747, or by visiting the Ticket Office in Benaroya Hall, located on the corner of Union Street and Third Avenue. Ticket Office hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m., and Saturday, 1–6 p.m. Tickets may also be purchased through the Seattle Symphony’s iPhone and Android apps.
Full program notes, audio samples, artist biographies and additional information can be found by visiting www.seattlesymphony.org.
Photo Credits: courtesy Music Alive Composer-in-Residence Trimpin, courtesy Seattle Symphony, Jamie Beck, Sussie Ahlburg