As part of Art in Place / The Place of Art — a one-year interdisciplinary arts series sponsored by the Copeland Series at Amherst College — the Mead will host a music performance by Copeland Fellow Eric Leonardson and a sound installation by Stephanie Robinson.
The performance and installation mark the conclusion of Soundfest, an afternoon program of indoor and outdoor sound installation and performance beginning at 1pm in the Amherst College Octagon. From the Octagon, audience members will be guided around campus to experience a variety of sonic and multimedia environments by a diverse mix of local and guest artists.
Soundfest schedule: 1:00 pm — Tim Eriksen’s “George Cheney and the Amherst Old Folks: Community Singing and the College’s First Music Professor” — the Octagon 1:45 pm — Wendy Woodson & Jake Meginsky’s “Rim light” — Studio 1, Webster Hall 2:10 pm — Jake Meginsky’s “Secret Beach” — Holden Theater 2:30 pm — Eric Leonardson’s “Similaria” — Rotherwas Gallery, Mead Art Museum 3:00 pm — Steph Robinson & Mark Santolucito’s “Isosteeple” — Stearns Steeple, Mead Art Museum
Similaria by Eric Leonardson
This electroacoustic performance uses sounds made with amplified objects and digital processing, with those recorded from the surrounding environment itself to act on multiple levels. They attempt to create a musical experience using the particular social and spatial characteristics of the walnut paneled Rotherwas Room, to transform listeners’ awareness of both physical and imaginary space and time.
Eric Leonardson is a Chicago-based composer/improvisor, sound designer, visual artist and teacher. He is a recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Media Arts Fellowship (2002 and 2006), and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Sound at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work relies on a broad understanding of texture, atmosphere and microtones, and includes the invention of the Springboard — an electroacoustic percussion instrument made from readily available materials. Its sounds belie its humble origins, thanks to the rich enharmonic timbres of bowed coil springs and the curious sound of the crude wooden daxophones-all amplified by a single, inexpensive piezoelectric contact mic.
Isosteeple Sound design / composition by Stephanie Robinson Video projections and programming by Mark Santolucito Special thanks to Aaron Hayden for performing the carillon during the field recording process
Isosteeple is an immersive and interactive sound environment created for the courtyard space outside of Stearns Steeple. For its sound elements, Isosteeple features highly processed samples of the carillon located inside of the steeple. The long history of the carillon as a musical instrument was part of the inspiration for this installation project; compositional elements are based on the medieval and Renaissance technique of “isorhythm,” a method by which composers utilized simultaneous (yet separate) multi-length sequences of both pitch and rhythm as the structuring element behind musical works.
Participants in this installation will experience isorhythm in multiple guises - one level as an ambient environment, but also on a second level as an interactive environment in which participants can “play” the steeple by triggering portions of an isorhythmic series (sampled from the carillon) with bodily motion. The installation also features a visual element of projection within the steeple itself, also derived from the isorhythmic technique of the sound materials.
Steph Robinson, electronic sound artist, is also active as a composer, keyboardist, installation artist, recording engineer, and vocalist. She has concentrated many of her recent compositional efforts on theatre projects and works professionally as a theatrical sound designer and composer. Additionally, she is an active performer of a variety of musical styles and genres, ranging from opera to church music, and performance art to heavy metal. Currently employed by Amherst College’s Department of Theatre and Dance as a visiting lecturer, Robinson teaches courses on sound design for theatre, installation art, dance, and multimedia. In her spare time, she is an avid runner of ultramarathon distances of 100 miles…and longer.
"Art in Place / the Place of Art" is a one-year interdisciplinary arts series at Amherst College which explores the myriad relationships that the arts have with place, and how artistic practice helps to shape our senses of place, identity, communities, cultures, institutions, and conversations. It is organized by faculty from the Departments of Art & the History of Art, Music and Theater & Dance, as well as the Mead Art Museum and the Frost Library.