Showing posts with label Occupy Orchestra. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Occupy Orchestra. Show all posts

Occupy Orchestra 無量園 Infinity Garden

inspired by classical Chinese gardens, John Cage and the occupy movement

Audio Excerpt

available at Bandcamp

Details
Duration c. 9-15 minutes
Instrumentation variable (winds, brass, percussion, strings, other)
Site-responsive work written for the Chicago Composers Orchestra and audience
Performed at Garfield Park Conservatory (Chicago IL) January 2013

Program Notes
“The emotions—love, mirth, the heroic, wonder, tranquility, fear, anger, sorrow, disgust—are in the audience.” John Cage

Walk the zigzag path into a Chinese garden where jagged rocks, misty lakes and meandering walls welcome you. Walk the crowded pavement into a general assembly of the occupy movement where idealistic students, homeless parents and concerned citizens welcome you. We gather here/hear now in the Chinese garden and general assembly of our imaginations.

You can listen. You can watch. You can rustle your papers, walk around the garden, record the event and chant your phrase. This is y/our space. This is y/our time. We shall gather all around, finding power in our sound.

Welcome to Occupy Orchestra 無量園 Infinity Garden
References
  • Sarah van Gelder, This Changes Everything: Occupy Wall Street & the 99% movement, 2011.
  • John Cage, Silence: Lectures & Writings, 1961.
  • Ji Cheng (计成), The Craft of Gardens (园冶), 1631.
Press Quote
“As I wandered among the musicians and plants, I noticed how many people were capturing the moment. Photographers, mostly. Professional, a lot of them, with sacks and bags and oversized equipment sometimes with the labels of whatever storeroom or newspaper, magazine checkout space they borrowed the damn thing from.

There were a lot of the individual cell phone camera types who can’t look at the world without recording it. Even me, with my little dictaphone, the little Olympus that’s lasted five years and sixty dollars.

Maybe that’s what music is now. Performance has turned from an arrow to a circle.”

Paul Dailing, 1,001 Chicago Afternoons, January 2013
Score

available at Bandcamp

Inspired by Palindrome Poems

On the bottom right corner of every Occupy Orchestra 無量園 Infinity Garden page, find a quote from composer John Cage. I modeled the score to feel similar to Chinese landscape paintings that include calligraphy inscriptions. There are 17 Cage quotes + one Occupy Wall Street quote.
Occupy Orchestra 無量園 Infinity Garden, a page from the score
Additionally, the score draws inspiration from huiwen shi (回文诗) palindrome poems. Su Hui (苏蕙), a poet from the 4th century, innovated this type of poetry. Characters can be read vertically, horizontally, forwards, backwards & diagonally. Especially significant is her Xuanji Tu (璇玑图) armillary-sphere map. Using five colors of silk thread, she embroidered 841 Chinese characters into a 29 x 29 grid to create lines of poetry that can be read in any direction for a total of 2,848 poems!

Su Hui's Xuanji Tu
The Cage quotes on the score follow this idea adapted to English. The text is scattered to allow the eye to read non-linearly and savor the puzzle-like relationship between individual words. Cage opens up the space between words in some of his text such as Lecture on Nothing. I decided to open up all the text for the score.

Below are the inscriptions included in Occupy Orchestra 無量園 Infinity Garden. See the score for the scattered text version.
what is it that
is not just beautiful but also
ugly, not just good, but also
evil, not just true, but also
an illusion ?

John Cage, Lecture on Something (1959)

Composition
arises
out
of
asking
questions .

John Cage, David Cope interview (1980)

Every
something
is
an
echo
of
nothing .

John Cage, Lecture on Something (1959)

Not one sound fears
the silence
that ex-tinguishes it.
And no silence exists
that is not pregnant
with sound.

John Cage, Lecture on Something (1959)

Wherever we are,
what we hear is mostly noise.
When we ignore it,
it disturbs us,
when we listen to it,
we find it fascinating.

John Cage, The Future of Music: Credo (1937)

Sounds
should
be honored
rather than
enslaved .

John Cage, Joseph Mazo interview (1983)

Being involved
in the complexities of a nation
at war
and a city in business-as-usual
led me to know
that there is a
difference between
large things
and small things,
between
big organizations
and two people alone
in a room together.

John Cage, A Composer's Confessions (1948)

It is not irritating to be where one is .
It is only irritating
to think one would like
to be somewhere else.

John Cage, Lecture on Nothing (1959)

As I
get
older I
get
interested in
almost anything
that comes to my attention.

John Cage, Charles Atlas documentary (1983)

I deduced that we were in a
Tower of Babel situation
because no one was understanding
anybody else ;
for instance, I wrote
a sad piece
and people hearing it
laughed.

John Cage, Paul Cummings interview (1974)

True discipline is
not learned
in order
to give it up ,
but rather in order
to give oneself up .

John Cage, Richard Kostelanetz interview (1970)

My feeling was that beauty
yet remains in intimate situations;
that it is quite hopeless
to think and act
impressively in
public terms.

John Cage, A Composer's Confessions (1948)

All you need is to be intelligent...
to know how to distinguish those
aspects of existence in which there is,
in an obvious way, good and evil,
and to go in the direction of the good.

John Cage, Daniel Charles interview (1968-1978)

produce a movement
upwards into the air -- the
space, the silence,
the nothing that supports us .

John Cage, Lecture on Something (1959)

affirm this life,
not to bring
order out of chaos
nor to suggest improvements
in creation,
but simply to wake up
to the very life we're living .

John Cage, Four Statements on the Dance (1956)

At every point society acts
to keep you from doing
what you have to do.

John Cage, Moira & William Roth interview (1973)

Everybody has a song
which is no song at all :
it is a process of singing ,
and when you sing ,
you are where you are .

John Cage, Lecture on Nothing (1959)

To the people of the world...
Exercise your right to peaceably assemble;
occupy public space; create a process to address
the problems we face, and generate solutions
accessible to everyone.

Occupy Wall Street (2011)

Infinity Garden score



On January 8-9, 2013, the Chicago Composers Orchestra performs Occupy Orchestra 無量園 Infinity Garden. This free concert features nearly 40 classical musicians in the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago.

To help me attend the rehearsals & performance, I offer signed copies of the score for $88. (Lay 8 down to get ∞: an infinity symbol.) In appreciation, receive a folio of 19 (10.5"x14.5") pages with a personally dedicated cover. If five people purchase this score I will have paid for my airfare from Seattle to Chicago.

Occupy Orchestra 無量園 Infinity Garden, a page from the score

Here is an example of one of the pages you will receive.

Note: Occupy Orchestra 無量園 Infinity Garden is under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License. Contact me to perform this work.

Infinity Garden

Occupy Orchestra 無量園 Infinity Garden, a page from the score
Free and Open to the Public

Concert
January 9, 2013, 6:30PM

Open Rehearsal
January 8, 10AM-Noon

300 N Central Park Ave
Chicago IL 60624
(773) 638-1766

“The emotions – love, mirth, the heroic, wonder, tranquility, fear, anger, sorrow, disgust – are in the audience.” John Cage


Notes

Walk the zigzag path into a Chinese garden where jagged rocks, misty lakes and meandering walls welcome you. Walk the crowded pavement into a general assembly of the occupy movement where idealistic students, homeless parents and concerned citizens welcome you.

We gather here/hear now in the Chinese garden and general assembly of our imaginations. You can listen. You can watch. You can rustle your papers, walk around the garden, record the event and chant your phrase. This is y/our space. This is y/our time. We shall gather all around, finding power in our sound.

Welcome to Occupy Orchestra 無量園 Infinity Garden.

* * *

The Chicago Composers Orchestra returns to the Garfield Park Conservatory to create a musical experience amidst lush plant life. Join us to hear Lawrie Bloom perform Chicago composer Lawrence Axelrod’s Pos Metaphonos for bass clarinet & orchestra. Also experience how Seattle-based composer Byron Au Yong draws inspiration from the occupy movement, John Cage & Chinese gardens, plus explore new possibilities in sound & space created by Bruce Saylor with Chicago composers Brian Baxter & Chris Fisher-Lochhead.

Program
  • Lawrence Axelrod: Pos Metaphonos (featuring J. Lawrie Bloom on bass clarinet)
  • Byron Au Yong: Occupy Orchestra 無量園 Infinity Garden
  • Brian Baxter: Spring Song
  • Chris Fisher-Lochhead: Bludgeon Me
  • Bruce Saylor: The Image Maker

Occupy Orchestra

99 + 1 ?

Occupy Wall Street began one year ago and continues to gather folks in locations around the world. Attending general assembly meetings in Seattle, I was impressed with the range of protesters from student revolutionaries to recovering addicts to curious bystanders.

For me, Occupy Orchestra prompts the questions:
  • Why do people gather?
  • Can the 99% and 1% find common ground?
  • Does orchestral music provide a solution for democracy in the 21st century?
Drawing reverse inspiration from Joseph Haydn’s “Farewell” Symphony composed in 1772, Occupy Orchestra convenes classical musicians and listeners. Additionally, the large-scale work gains intimacy in the philosophical musings of John Cage. Each page of the score provides a koan – a “matter for public thought” – that goes beyond logical reasoning to provoke insight.

Haydn composed his 45th Symphony as a way to persuade Prince Nikolaus Esterházy to allow court musicians to return home. In the score, musicians play a solo, snuff out their candle then leave the stage. This playful protest music successfully persuaded the orchestra’s patron to give the musicians leave.

Occupy Orchestra provides a “hello” experience for the audience. Musicians play Street Variations as soloists then gather into an ensemble. Listeners walk around the concert venue possibly tuning their ears to a bassoon, then a tuba, then a viola as musicians physically and sonically converge.

Initially, the audience interacts with these “busking” musicians, by offering pages of the score notated in graphic notation. The score also provides koans for the listener to reflect on their role as citizens in the new millennium. Ultimately, Occupy Orchestra pays attention to a process of gathering listeners for the pleasurable and reflective space of symphonic music with how musical labor performs as the world shifts from a post-industrial economy to address future economic, environmental and societal realities.
Dedicated to intercultural collaboration, Byron Au Yong composes songs of dislocation, music for a changing world. He teaches in Performing Arts & Social Justice at the University of San Francisco.

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Byron Au Yong: Kidnapping Water: Bottled Operas
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