TROY, NY — Since its inception, the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has been creating technologies and acoustical environments far exceeding the immersive capabilities of traditional stereo and surround-sound systems. On Friday, February 22, at 7:30PM, EMPAC will inaugurate a new 36-channel Ambisonic speaker system installed in the black box Studio 1 with a concert designed to highlight the more than 60-year history of electronic music composed for loudspeaker systems built around and above the audience. 36 Loudspeakers for 2 Ears will be performed by Hans Tutschku, composer, professor, and director of the Harvard University Studio for Electroacoustic Composition (HUSEAC).
The pieces played during this concert are mostly only available to the public in reduced stereo versions, since there are not many concert halls and performance venues where they can be experienced in full multichannel sound projection. This concert offers a rare opportunity to listen to this music as it is meant to be heard.
The international program will span over six decades of spatial music, including the seminal Gesang der Jünglinge by Karlheinz Stockhausen from 1955/56 as well as Edgar Varèse’s Poème électronique, which was famously performed in 1958 at the Brussels Worlds Fair over hundreds of loudspeakers in the Philips Pavilion (pictured above), designed by the architect Le Corbusier and the composer/architect Iannis Xenakis.
From the US, the very first computer-music work created with “the simulation of moving sound sources,” Turenas by John Chowning (Stanford, 1972) will be performed along with other pieces from Stanford composers William Schottstaedt and, reaching into the 21st century, Mark Applebaum. Multichannel works by the Belgian composer Annette Vande Gorne and the British composers Jonathan Harvey and Jonty Harrison will also contribute to the wide range of musical styles presented in this concert.
EMPAC | Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the nation’s most technologically advanced university performing arts center. EMPAC hosts artists and researchers to produce and present new work at the confluence of human and digital space. Four exceptional venues enable audiences and presenters to inquire, experiment, develop, and experience the ever-changing relationship between ourselves, technology, and the worlds we create around us. EMPAC is an icon of the New Polytechnic, a new paradigm for transdisciplinary research and learning at Rensselaer, the nation’s oldest technological research university.
2018–19 presentations, residencies, and commissions are made possible by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, with continuous support from the New York State Council for the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts; and the Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts. Additional project support by the National Endowment for the Arts; the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; and the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.