Commissioned by the New York Philharmonic for its 2018 opening gala, Filament occupied a unique position on that season’s roster, offering the first note conducted on the first concert of the first season under the artistic direction of maestro Jaap Van Zweden.
The work is scored for orchestra, three amplified soloists (bassoon, trumpet, and double bass) and fifteen moving voices. The soloists perform from pedestals triangulated across the stage and audience while the singers move throughout the hall, projecting their voices through custom 3-D printed megaphones that both amplify and directionally focus each vector of sound.
The goal of these bodies in the space is threefold: 1) to democratize proximity and spread access to the intimacy of performance throughout the hall, 2) to create a dynamic spatialization of sound whose angles and arrays shift around the audience in real time, and 3) to activate a theater of the social – toying with the codes of access and intrusion that bind the orchestral ritual.
Throughout the piece these distinct forces — orchestra, soloists, and singers — call out to each other across the void, from edge to edge, from periphery to center, tuning toward and pushing against one another as the work unfolds.
Rebekah Heller, Bassoon
Brandon Lopez, Double Bass
Nate Wooley, Trumpet
Constellation Chor: Marisa Michelson (director), Nikko Benson, Kinga Cserjési, Danyel Fulton, Tamrin Goldberg, Chad Goodridge, Sepideh Moafi, Luisa Muhr, Sarah Beth Pfeifer, Raphael Sacks, Heathcliffe Saunders, Sara Serpa, Shawn Shafner, Kalli Siamidou, Pyeng Threadgill
Visual Movement and Direction by César Alvarez and Lilleth Glimcher
Lighting Design by Marika Kent
Costumes by Touloupe Aremu
Production Assistance by Michelle Navis, Lester St. Louis, and Weston Olencki
Megaphones designed by Matter Design (Brandon Clifford, Wes McGee, Johanna Lobdell) and supported by the Fay Chandler Faculty Creativity Seed Fund from MIT.
Filament premiered in Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall on September 20th, 2018, with further performances on September 21st, 22nd, and 25th.