Last Thursday, I participated in another round of “Outsound Music Presents Conduct Your Own Orchestra Night”. I played iPhone and Kaoss Pad in the “orchestra” along with Tom Bickley (recorder), John Hanes (percussion), Simon Hanes (bass), Carlos Jennings (synthesizers), Bob Marsh (guitar), Marianne McDonand (harp), Ann O’Rourke (percussion), and Rent Romus (saxophone). The event was organized by Matt Davignon.
I also signed up once again for one of the slots as a conductor. I used my graphical symbols, giving different symbols to different musicians throughout the course of the 10-minute piece. Each performer interpreted the assigned symbols as he or she saw fit, while listening to what others were doing. Ann O’Rourke had her metal cat-shaped CD holder again, which as perfect for the “cat” symbol. I also added a lot of direct pitch instructions to this performance, i.e., having specific musicians play a “C” or an “E” for a period of time, to build up unisons and harmonies and provide more variety to the texture. I was actually quite happy with the range of sounds and musical phrasing that resulted.
John Hanes conducted a rather minimal piece, where everyone was instructed to play only the pitch “F” (if one had a pitch-capable instrument) and eighth notes. Within this He built of a minimal texture with a fair amount of dynamic range by having people enter and exit on his cue. For his piece, Tom Bickley gave us the basic concept of choosing a number between 5 and 10, and then repeat a pattern of counting up to that number and sounding a short staccato note The results was a sparse pointed texture, with various clusterings and the different performers moved in and out of phase. In the middle of his piece, Bob Marsh added his voice and words, and gradually moved away from the stage towards the back of the room as the piece drew to a close.
One issue that has become apparent is that my iPhone has performed far worse as a musical instrument since I upgraded to OS 4.0. It runs slow and some applications quit unexpectedly – this did happen once when I was cued for a solo note, leading to a somewhat amusing but somewhat embarrassing moment. Fortunately, for a small and friendly show like this it is easy to laugh off.