Bringing chills to Boston

Last month, Charles and I embarked on a little side project. Charles was to attend CHI2014 (a conference focused on human-computer interaction) in Toronto, Canada to show his work with iPads. Since, in the grand scheme of things, Toronto is just a stone's throw from Boston, it was the perfect excuse to get together! Additionally, the post-conference dates lined up with the dates for ArtWeek Boston. Stars aligned - gigging time! 

Trying to think of a unique venue to pursue, I was Inspired by the new ice "concert hall" in Sweden. So, I contacted the Frost Ice Bar here in Boston. I asked them if we could do some concerts on ice instruments. They connected me to an ice artist and Frostbeat was born! We did six 20 minute performances - it was a bit chilly in there! 

Next, I connected with the Scandinavian Cultural Center, and pitched to perform Charles' works "nordlig vinter" based on those chilly winters in Piteå! We projected photos and videos from our time in Sweden and performed Charles' music - that incorporated tons of improvisation and his iPad instruments! Here are a few videos form the event, shot by Scott Quade. 

Lastly, we performed an experimental show at Outpost 186 in Cambridge to feature Charles' work with iPads. He wrote a great blog post about it on his website. 

I love being able to curate new projects with such an awesome colleague! Who knew that our experience in Sweden would inspire so many cool performances and collaborations. 

- Maria 

Sonic Scenes from the Arnold Arboretum

Creating a new piece for Adam's photos was a rewarding way to conclude our "Sounds from the Treetops" concert at the Arnold Arboretum. Adam spent weeks collecting materials and creating beautiful images to inspire our work. It's always fun to collaborate with a new artist, especially when we give all creative license to them. We weren't sure what Adam would come up with, and the results were stunning! 

It was equally exciting to workshop the piece before a live audience during our open rehearsal. A couple in the audience emailed us an amazing review just after the session, which gave us a lot of great energy for the performance! 

“We were just blown away by this afternoon’s session. It was an honor and joy to be able to witness creativity in the making. Because of your generosity and warmth, we were able to see and hear your piece take shape. When we arrived at 3PM, we had no idea what to expect. We knew the Arboretum, we knew a bit about percussion instruments, and knew nothing about you three. An hour later, we were transformed. Your sense of what the Arboretum conveys brilliantly arose from your talent, your collaboration, your art. Being present for that journey is an experience we will not soon forget. We are still talking about it.” - Eleanor and Fred Sabini

We hope that the video will be just as enjoyable. Some favorite moments occur around minute mark 1:20, 4:50 and 7:15 (all the way to the end). Take a look! 

On board with Grover Pro Percussion

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We are happy to announce that we are official endorsers of Grover Pro Percussion! Maria was lucky enough to meet Neil as a young undergraduate at the Ohio State University, and has been using his tambourines, triangles, and snare drums ever since! (The triangle mount happens to be her favorite item and has been used religiously for years!) When she moved to Boston Neil was one of the first people on her list to contact, and he has been an amazing mentor and listening board ever since. 

As the reunion tour was taking shape, it was obvious that we wanted to use Grover woodblocks for Charles' composition, Planks, for the Tree Sauna. Neil was kind enough to invite us to the factory, and we were able to pick the perfect trio! Not to mention, it was fantastic chatting with and learning from Neil over a yummy Brazilian lunch. After the visit, we were happy to sign the paperwork and officially endorse these great products! 

At PASIC we had the pleasure of using many Grover products in our iPad/acoustic improvisation, The Birdsnest. The new musical anvils provided a perfect pallet of sounds to explore! Thanks to Neil and the gang for making this tour and the convention so memorable! We look forward to more projects in the future! 

Our Birdsnest set-up at PASIC 

Our Birdsnest set-up at PASIC 

Boston liked Evolution!

From a feature in the Boston Globe to glowing reviews from audience members, we are proud of the work we presented while in Boston, MA. It was wild to get the gang back together! Performing for such a welcoming and responsive audience set the tone for a successful performance at PASIC 2013. Videos, more photos, and reviews coming soon! 

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After our residency, Pam Thompson (the manager of Adult Education at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, our main collaborator) sent this reflection to the community.

"Percussion trio Ensemble Evolution filled the lecture hall with exquisite sound.  In a workshop, the group sought audience input for a composition in response to their walks in the Arboretum landscape. Several attendees were regular Arboretum visitors and able judges of how well the musical elements supported their own experiences of the landscape.

Taking elements from jazz and contemporary classical music, the ensemble performed Sounds from the Treetops on Saturday evening. The program ended with the debut of their Arboretum composition. Entirely mesmerizing with each piece uniquely transcendent, the performance surprised with its interplay of complexity, delicacy, and power.
 
On Sunday, Ensemble Evolution with clarinetist Angela Shankar guided kids and their adult companions in creating percussive music from natural elements. Divided into three instrumental groups, we made music from bark, the leaves and stalks of bamboo, and an assortment of nuts and seeds. Angela encouraged experimentation with intensity and subtlety, frequency, as well as simple and layered sounds. We ended the morning with a raucous celebration of our newly discovered percussive talents.

Each gave of themselves without restraint, revealing the passion that supports their profession. I am grateful to have witnessed such incredible talent."

Tomorrow - concert at Arnold Arboretum!

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We're excited to perform our Sounds from the Treetops suite at the Arnold Arboretum's Hunnewell Building tomorrow evening at 8pm! More info and tickets available here!
 
We had a great day there today setting up, rehearsing and performing at a special open rehearsal where we developed a new work "Sonic Scenes from the Arboretum" along with members of Boston Percussion Group. This new work consists of a collective improvisation inspired by Adam DeTour's amazing photos of the arboretum. 

The musical and visual experience starts at 8pm tomorrow - book tickets to avoid disappointment! Only 75 seats available!

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Charles Martin

Charles Martin is a specialist in percussion, computer music, and interactive media from Canberra, Australia. He links percussion with electroacoustic music and other media through new technologies. His works, described as “a thing of rare beauty” in The West Australian have been performed throughout Australia, Europe and the USA and presented at international conferences on computer music and percussion. He also has ten years experience teaching percussion from primary to tertiary levels.