John Patrick Stewart
September 22 at 8:00am
Penn Museum’s Chinese RotundaMap
a disruption is a 50-minute musical performance of swirling, sputtering percussive dissonance. It is the latest composition by John Patrick Stewart and written for 3 cellists, 4 pianists, and 4 percussionists. The piece is performed in-the-round placing the audience in the center of the radially distributed musicians.
$20 / 50 minutes
a disruption was encouraged at a macro level by disruptions that weave through our physical, cultural, and psychological landscape; conveying the conflict and resolve we experience when energy is wedged violently into the inescapable arrow of time. To form this notion into a context of unspoken performance, various strategies were used to compose the piece and assemble the performance.
Three instrument types are used; piano, drums, and cello. These instruments types are further divided into 3 cellists, 4 pianists, and 4 percussionists.
Composition & Performance Techniques
During the writing process, it was understood that each of the instruments within each slot would occupy a specific spatial coordinate. From there, five core building blocks were conceived; melodic gestures, rhythmic gestures, spatial gestures, pulse gestures, and directional gestures.
Melodic | Rhythmic Gestures
Melodic and Rhythmic gestures are easily understood as traditional composition devices of note selection and sequence repetition.
To take advantage of spatial aspects of the venue, the primary instrument slots have been separated in to eleven units; 4 pianists, 3 cellists, and 4 percussionists. The musicians are dragged radially from a center point and surround the audience; placing them in a symbolic cage within the performance space. Using this spatial aspect of the arrangement, discussion and argument between musicians can be experienced from within. Beyond the conventional one-sided separation of audience and musician.
Pulse-like variance is used throughout the composition to communicate matters of confusion, weakness, and strength. Within each piece the change in distance between notes is functionally adjusted to expand and contract the pulse. This happens either in unison between the instrument groups, within instrument groups, or by each individual performer.
Performer coordination and placement is used to create an illusion of movement. Chaotic swirling gestures and radially smeared dissonance are positioned alongside sparse high pitched mosaics. Notes are thrown back and forth and around the room.
Musicians Branson Yeast (cello), Carolina Diazgranados (cello), Erin Busch (cello), Michael Tan (piano), Risa Okina (piano), Jeff Torchon (piano), Daniel Espie (piano), Jeff Willet (percussion),
Anthony Di Bartolo (percussion), Shawn Hennessey (percussion), Andy Thierauf (percussion)