Resonance on the Walls II
Resonance on the Walls II featured the work of faculty members, Annie Stevens (Assistant Professor of Percussion), Charles Dye (Assistant Professor of Cinema), Karl Precoda (Advanced Instructor in Cinema, Sociology), Tanner Upthegrove (ICAT), students in the Virginia Tech Percussion Ensemble, and cinema students Mordecai Lecky and Claire Jessie. The program included three works for solo percussion + electronics performed by Annie Stevens. Additionally, the percussion ensemble performed Robert Honstein’s An Index of Possibility which was accompanied by film created by cinema faculty and students. Audience members were provided an immersive environment to witness this 20-minute work, with the film displayed on the cyclorama. Finally, the VT Percussion Ensemble performed a world premiere of Drew Worden’s Volume of a Cube for 18 percussionists. Tanner Upthegrove was the sound engineer for this performance.
Volume of a Cube is a performance for 18+ percussionists in a multi-level structure with surround sound spatial audio and live video projection. Written by Boston composer and percussionist Drew Worden, it was commissioned by Virginia Tech in 2017 for their multi-level research facility: the Cube. Musicians are spread throughout the performance space, located on different levels of the structure, and are individually amplified and mixed into surround sound to create an immersive audio experience. This work is portable and fit to be performed on a stage for the masses.
A one-of-a-kind composition, it utilizes accompanying film and spatial audio; individual performers are amplified and sounds are dispersed throughout the house sound system using software co-designed by Tanner Upthegrove (audio engineer for the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology at Virginia Tech). The audio software being used on this program delivers spatially accurate 3D reverberations from real spaces around the world, and the audience can hear what these large-scale venues might sound like (for example, Scotland's grandiose Hamilton Mausoleum, a 19th century building which reportedly has a 15 second echo).
The work was performed on four different occasions during the spring 2017 semester at Virginia Tech, and has received positive reception and intrigue from a variety of audience members. Volume of a Cube is comprised of three movements and features found percussion instruments and traditional instruments including: wood slats, metal brake drums, found metal objects, marimbas, a vibraphone, and bass drums. In its current form, the piece is 16 minutes in length.
The recent performances have inspired further creative ideas, and additional musical material will further explore the use of spatial audio with a variety of instrument timbres and colors, all within the mesmerizing context of Volume of a Cube.