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The Memory Palace


The Memory Palace Project, a dance, percussion, and cinematic production, explores how the mind and body respond to –  and remember – significant moments in both an individual’s life and the greater cultural consciousness. The 70-minute production in the Cube will feature Annie Stevens, percussion soloist, and Rachel Rugh, dance soloist and choreographer, on world premieres by Eric Lyon (percussion solo) and Emma O’Halloran (percussion quartet performed by the VT Percussion Ensemble and dance students), as well as the epic percussion solo, Memory Palace, by the Grammy nominated composer, Chris Cerrone, notable for its inclusion in the New York Times article, 5 Minutes That Will Make You Love Percussion. As the performers traverse the space, the Cube transforms into a memory palace, embodying relentless, aggressive, beautiful, sensitive, and somber moments. Original cinema created by Charles Dye and Karl Precoda will explore themes that emerge from all of the works, beyond mainstream representations. Dr. Audrey Reeves, a political scientist and classically trained dancer, will provide support in bringing this program together as a seamless production of three diverse works, drawing on her research on the politics of memory and performance. The co-investigators’ creative exchange will run alongside, and intersect with, the ASPECT graduate seminar in CLAHS, “The Politics of Memory”, co-taught by Reeves. This performance is at the frontier of artistic expression, captivating the audience through the unique and beautiful sounds of a live percussionist, the thoughtful and intentional movement and choreography, the serene images of nature as projected media, the vastness of the spatial audio system, and the dialogue giving witness to the research by Reeves.



Fall 2023

The six members of the Memory Palace Project team have been following our proposed timeline accordingly. During the fall of 2023, Annie Stevens and Rachel Rugh engaged in regular discussions with team members to plan the spring 2024 semester, which will include guest lectures by team members in Audrey Reeves’ graduate seminar, The Politics of Memory, and the performance of The Memory Palace on March 15-16, 2024 in the Cube. 

As scheduled, composer Emma O’Halloran completed her multi-movement percussion + electronic work in November and the VT Percussion ensemble will begin learning selections from this piece in January. 

Eric Lyon is currently composing his solo percussion + electronic work, and he has collaborated with Stevens to gather field recordings of various percussion instruments. Reeves, Lyon, Rugh, and Stevens have engaged in discussions regarding the philosophies of how memories are held and disseminated, which will inspire Lyon’s work and the concert at large. 

Rugh and Stevens have coordinated with team members Karl Precoda and Charles Dye, via Zoom, regarding the film that they will create for the 20-minute piece, The Memory Palace. Rugh and Stevens will provide the film makers with some original footage that may be incorporated into the final product.

Stevens has met several times with Jon Rugh, instructor in the School of Architecture, who is building original tuned wooden instruments for The Memory Palace. 

Winter/Spring 2024

Currently during December-January, members are working on learning and rehearsing music, choreography, composing, and research towards upcoming seminars. 

The team has rehearsal time scheduled in the Cube during January and February leading up to the performance. Regular rehearsals with percussion and dance will begin when the semester resumes in January, as planned in our project proposal. 

Given that this concert includes newly composed music by O’Halloran and Lyon, the team is working to finalize the order of programming, as well as any additional music that may be included. The concert is still planned to be no longer than 60-minutes. 

Additional performances

Additional performances of The Memory Palace are planned for the Day of Percussion on March 23rd, as well as on April 10th during the VT New Music Festival, both in the Cube. 

Project Documentation

As the team resumes meeting in-person during the spring of 2024, regular documentation in the form of video and photos will be captured for inclusion on the project website, and for social media purposes.


Video excerpt from An Index of Possibility by Robert Honstein, choreography by Rachel Rugh, percussion ensemble directed by Annie Stevens.

Memory Palace Project Concerts

  • Friday, March 15th at 7:00pm, Cube
  • Saturday, March 16th at 7:00pm, Cube