by Mike Telin
“For five seasons, the FiveOne Experimental Orchestra has been a source of fresh, freethinking musical exploration and illustrates the not too distant stretch from modern classical music to the ever expanding world of pop,” says FiveOne’s artistic director and composer John HC Thompson (III).
On Saturday, November 17th at 3:30 pm in the Louis Stokes Wing Auditorium of the Cleveland Public Library in downtown Cleveland, FiveOne Experimental Orchestra presents their second installment of SONIC CINEMA, which Thompson describes as a showcase of new video art and film shorts with live musical accompaniment.
Following on the heels of the orchestra’s highly successful Like she said, everything’s fine, an electronic sound installation composed especially for Lauren Herzag-Bauman’s Passages at The Sculpture Center, Thomson says that Saturday’s performance is keeping with the orchestra’s mission to bring new art music straight to the people.
The first installment of SONIC CINEMA premiered at the Cleveland Public Theatre’s big [Box] production series in 2011. Thanks to a generous grant from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture the orchestra is able to remount what Thompson says has been their most popular show to date. “We are changing things a little bit this time, we have a couple of pieces from the first production as well as some new works.”
Although he can’t really say where the idea for SONIC CINEMA first originated, Thompson thinks that because the orchestra had been performing annually at CPT’s big [Box] series, over time they have learned how to work in a creative situation involving artists from a number of different media. “The idea of using film came from various members of the orchestra and it turned out to be very practical in that it allowed the orchestra to be in control. Film is also a very popular medium that would draw a lot of audiences because so many people do have an interest in that genre.”
As with the first production, composers have been paired with film makers. Returning for this concert is audio-visual artist Kasumi, who is paired with composer and president of FiveOne Music, Mike Bratt. “Chronicles of Laughing Yesterday is really incredible,” Thompson exclaims. “The music is very forward-thinking in that it’s multi-dimensional. It’s free and almost rock oriented and the film is the same. They do complement each other perfectly and I think it’s a mind blowing piece for an audience to see.” Also from the first production will be composer Roger Zare’ s Phobos, which is paired with a film by North Carolina-based Ross Wilbanks.
New parings include Cleveland filmmakers Mike Jones and Travis Pollert’s Resonance which is set to music by Jeremy Allen and performed by pianist Shuai Wang. And a film by KD Tolliver’s is paired with Thompson’s composition Hawaiian Blue. “I don’t believe his film has a title but the title of my piece is a traditional piano quintet (string quartet plus piano).”
Also new to this installment of SONIC CINEMA will be the inclusion of visual improvisations. “We like to present live sound collages and so we thought we would try it with film. The musicians will perform on stage, but will be reacting to what they see”, Thompson explains. Mélisse Brunet, who conducted the first SONIC CINEMA will use Thicket, an iPAD app that will be linked to the projector. “In my mind this is all very reminiscent of the underground days of Pink Floyd in London during the mid 1960’s.”
Although the orchestra varies in size depending on the project, for Saturday’s performance there will be sixteen players which includes a string quartet, small wind and brass sections, two percussion as well as harp, piano and guitar under the direction of conductor Matthew Steven Brown. So how will the conductor keep everything in perfect sync? “The films are video files that have an embedded click track that is heard through the conductor’s headset,” Thompson says, adding, “the musicians just need to stay with the conductor.”
Published on ClevelandClassical.com November 13, 2012
Click here for a printable version of this article.