Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Aftermath from a Planetarium Performance

Klimchak is a composer, percussionist, and performer who also accompanies dance classes for the Emory Dance Program. We asked him to share his thoughts about a recent performance at Agnes Scott College.

Bradley Observatory at Agnes Scott College
Photo by Anne Cox

I recently did my first solo show in a planetarium. It was sponsored by Agnes Scott College's Dalton Gallery and was part of the art show Limitless, which featured some of my home-built instruments. When the curator, Lisa Alembik, approached me to be a part of the show, I was a little unsure, since I don’t really consider myself a visual artist. My instruments are built to produce sound first. Appearance always plays second fiddle.

She talked me into it by promising me a performance as part of the show. When she told me I could perform in the incredible acoustics of the new chapel, or in the planetarium, I jumped up and down like a 10 year old chanting “planetarium, planetarium!” You see, I've always wanted to make music in a planetarium. There's a natural bond between electronic music and the electronic sky of a planetarium light show. I dunno, maybe it has something to do with electricity. The total darkness and the comfy lounge chairs combine to give the audience a great set of tools to relax, look at the stars, and focus on the music.

The show was performed to a full house and was incredibly fulfilling for me. I played theremin, my electronic Marimba Lumina and what I call electric water, in which metal objects are played, plucked and dipped into an amplified bowl of water. The flow of the music went hand in hand with the flow of the star-show. Naturally, this has me jonesing to do another planetarium show soon!

Playing the theremin at the planetarium
Photo by Victoria Campbell

Klimchak (center) in the planetarium lobby.
Photo by Terry Kearns

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