Virginia Tech Percussion Ensemble: "Resonance on the Walls"
On December 4, 2014, the Virginia Tech Percussion Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Annie Stevens presented "Resonance on the Walls", a unique concert in the Moss Arts Center's multimedia enhanced space, the CUBE. The concert immersed the audience in a varied aesthetic experience by combining traditional acoustic percussion works with both visual media and the 128-surround sound speaker system, an experience only the CUBE can provide. Performances were given of the popular percussion quartets, The Song of Queztecoatl by Lou Harrison, Omphalo Centric Lecture by Nigel Westlake, and Threads by Paul Lanksy. Each piece carried with it a specific multimedia element made possible by the CUBE's outfitting of technology. During the Harrison, specific instruments were given isolated microphones and amplified throughout on the house sound system. In utilizing the spacialization effect of being able to move sound around the space to any of the 128 speakers, the wind chimes were amplified specifically to distribute their rustling sound around the audience. During the Westlake, a marimba quartet, the audience could view the performers on the stage, or above as they were broadcast on the video screen.
Paul Lansky, known to many as a composer of electronic music, and a pioneer in the genre of computer music composition, composed the mesmerizing acoustic quartet, Threads- a ten-movement mesmerizing percussion quartet that required the performers to play everything from vibraphones and concert toms, to tuned pipes, glass bottles, and flower pots.. The performance of Threads by Virginia Tech was accompanied by newly commissioned video from percussionist and videographer, Colin McCall.
This program inspired the students to come to a greater understanding of how art and technology can align. Students were challenged to interpret the music in a new and different fashion because of the accompanying video and the intimate nature of the CUBE. This opportunity afforded the director and the students of the Virginia Tech Percussion Ensemble the experience of creating and sharing a performance in the CUBE, utilizing many of the technological aspects this space has to offer.