Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Musiqa's Artistic Director Anthony Brandt Gives New Music a New Venue

Anthony Brandt


With the goal of taking contemporary classical music outside of the concert hall, Musiqa Artistic Director Anthony Brandt has collaborated with composer Chapman Welch and visual artist Jo Ann Fleischhauer to create the public art installation 'What Time Is It?' Musiqa offers this collaborative effort to present a musical performance exploring the concept of time.



Brandt welcomed Fleischhauer’s approach about collaborating on an installation that would transform the clock tower in Market Square—Houston’s oldest plaza. Now that we all have wrist-watches and smartphones, the role of a clock tower has changed. Without the need for a bell to signify alarms or specific hours of the day, Fleischhauer, Brandt and Welch have transformed the Louis and Annie Friedman Clock Tower into an installation that merges art and music. The installation opens on September 28th and will be on display until late March 2014.


"I don't often get a chance to write a piece where people will be exposed to it for six months,” Brandt said. “It is a unique and exciting challenge.”



Brandt and Chapman’s solution is to tell time by musical means rather than by counting tolls.  There are twelve Major chords in the Western musical system, just as there are twelve hours on the face of a clock.  At the top of each hour, one of a fixed series of chords will sound for two minutes; over the course of the day, the chords rise and fall with the sun, so that someone who frequents the square will gradually be able to tell time by listening to the chord. The title “C O’Clock” refers to the fact that a C-Major chord sounds at noon and midnight.



Tommy Gregory from Houston Arts Alliance

On top of those chords, Brandt and Welch have designed a computer program that improvises ringing sounds, evocative of the original bell. The computer chooses from twelve possible “scores:” the scores are rough guides and give the computer a lot of leeway, so that no hour will sound the same and no two days will be alike.





Brandt and Welch were very conscious that their music is a “guest” in the Square: their goal is to create an experience that is fresh and attractive, giving listeners something engaging to experience but also capable of comfortably lying in the background.



HAA's Tommy Gregory Installing Fleischhauer's Art Piece



As a part of the 6-month installation, Musiqa has also commissioned six student composers to compose works for brass instruments that will be premiered from inside the tower. Student performers from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and University of Houston’s Moores School of Music will perform monthly from the tower. The student composers will play once each month, beginning with a solo on Oct. 25 at 12:15pm. The next month will transition the performance to a duo, and the following month will include a performance by a trio. By the sixth month, a sextet will conclude the performances.




“We wanted to create something beautiful in the neighborhood for people to look forward to,” Brandt said. “A historic presence will take on new life."



To hear the 17-hour sounds of Market Square, join us on Sept. 28 at 7:30pm in Market Square park for the premiere of Time Travel!

What Time Is It? is organized by Blaffer Art Museum and Houston Arts Alliance.  Major support comes from the Houston Downtown Management District and the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance.  Community partners include Houston Parks and Recreation Department, the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston and the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.  The exhibition is on view 24 hours-a-day (music component audible daily 7 a.m. to midnight) on the corner of Travis and Congress Streets at Market Square from September 28, 2013 through March 29, 2014.

No comments:

Post a Comment