Song Cycle by Chris Kallmyer on View at Walt Disney Concert Hall

To celebrate the return of live music to the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association commissioned the piece Song Cycle by CalArts alum Chris Kallmyer (Music MFA 09) to present inside the venue. 

Song Cycle features a kinetic sign that uses code-driven randomization to continually inscribe and reinscribe itself with a series of speculative scores. Reminiscent of 20th-century arrival and departure boards in airports and train stations, the sign has a 256-character split-flap display. Echoes of Kallmyer’s piece can be traced back to one of the first computer-generated poems, The House of Dust, by Alison Knowles, a founding CalArts faculty member and Fluxus innovator. 

Song Cycle is part of the LA Phil’s Humanities program, which began in 2019-20, as an extension and consolidation of the organization’s efforts to support and engage with local curator-driven festivals, visual arts projects, and publications. 

“The LA Phil Humanities program takes the work on our stages as a starting point for a larger cultural conversation,” said Humanities Director Julia Ward. “By inviting a diverse range of guest curators, artists and partner organizations to reflect on the themes of our concert programming, our Humanities efforts seek to contextualize the LA Phil’s work in thought-provoking ways, delve deeply into subjects that matter in contemporary society and provide new points of entry into our art form.” 

Kallmyer’s Song Cycle is on display in the Grand Avenue Lobby of the Walt Disney Concert Hall through December 31, 2021. 

Related Reading: Alison Knowles, James Tenney and the House of Dust at CalArts

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