Electronic Opera Uses Physical Spaces To Connect Narrative With Sound

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Pullitzer Prize winning composer Lewis Spratlan.

In 2005, composer Lewis Spratlan and I began work on an opera inspired by Louis Kahn. Kahn, who excelled in music and once considered becoming a composer, was especially cognizant of how sound works in a physical space. “Space has tonality,” he often said. Kallick, a professor of music at Amherst College, made recordings of the “acoustic envelope” at several Kahn buildings, which were employed in composing the work’s prelude and interludes.




Composer Jenny Kallick

Key elements from Spratlan’s music were integrated into this electro-acoustic music, creating a seamless connection between the narrative world of the characters and the sounding spaces that filled their dreams. Opening in the ruins of Rome and ending with the healing waters at Kahn’s Salk Institute,  ARCHITECT: A Chamber Opera narrates the dramatic arc of Kahn’s journey from dreamer to master builder.

ARCHITECT has not yet been performed live, but a video will be screened as part of the Architecture and Design Film Festival in New York City, October 17–21. In this interview, Spratlan discusses the project with Frederick Peters, board chairman of New Music USA,  which supports composers, performers, and audiences of new American music.   For the Silo, Jenny Kallick- Amherst College.

Multi-disciplinary Artist Jarrod Barker

Supplemental- 2009 During an artist residency at the Banff Centre in Alberta,  Jarrod Barker’s electro-acoustic music created there included sonic captures and surface performances from Vista’s elevator (Elevator Music), the Ceramic Sculpture department ‘washing sinks’, on campus road construction (Sherman2)  and a live capture of a campus Fire drill. Some of these unreleased recordings are posted here for the first time-

Sherman2         click here for MP3 Play*
*all rights reserved -not for distribution

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