This Sunday (July 14), as part of The Machine Project Field Guide to LA Architecture, composer and CalArts alumnus Paul Fraser (Music MFA 11) needs players for 100 Stylophones to premiere his Symphony for 100 Stylophones at the Compton Civic Center Plaza. The Stylophone is a miniature synthesizer, played by touching a stylus to a metal keyboard.
Fraser and members of L.A. Stylophonic, LA’s premiere Stylophone ensemble, will provide volunteers with the instruments and will use numbers, symbols and shapes to teach them their parts. No musical experience, Stylophone or otherwise, is required for participation. The program culminates with all 100 participants playing the experimental composition.
The Machine Project Field Guide to LA Architecture seeks to bring audiences up close and personal with LA buildings using artist-initiated experiences. The Compton Civic Center Plaza with its iconic King Memorial will serve not just as a backdrop to Symphony for 100 Stylophones, but also will add another layer to the music, as its multiple identical white panels rising up at varying angles create a unique acoustic effect.
Fraser says of the project:
For a few years, I’ve been fascinated by the crunchy, unpolished sounds that Stylophones make. While at CalArts, composer Ingrid Lee (Music BFA 12) and I started L.A. Stylophonic because we wanted to play around with the chorusing effect created by multiple Stylophones and the seemingly endless compositional opportunities that the group would create.
More recently, I’ve been playing with the chorusing idea even more. Machine Project and I did an interactive composition/workshop with 36 Stylophonists last year, so it was only natural that we would step it up to 100.
To give our readers an idea of how Stylophones sound in chorus, we posted a video of 10 Stylophonists playing Moving Portrait, another composition by Fraser.
Symphony for 100 Stylophones and The Machine Project Field Guide to LA Architecture are part of Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in LA.