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Events Close Music For Bodies

Close Music For Bodies

Michael Kiley

September 22 at 6:30pm

Runtime TBA

$15 – $35

Venue TBA

Wheelchair Accessible

DescriptionAbout the ArtistsInterviews

“My history with performing choral music is deeply tied to this work, compositionally and spiritually. Some of my most transcendent experiences occurred while playing a small part in a large group of voices.” Michael Kiley

“Dramatic and beguiling.” The New York Times

Intimate, unfiltered voices become one.

No microphones, no electronic meddling, only the resonant voices that come from the bodies of the performers are heard and felt. The audience is arranged about the entire floor of the theater. Singers move in geometric patterns throughout the audience, their movements become the sound design—like placing speakers about a room, only the speakers are mobile performers.

A journey inward into the individual and outward to include the entire group—audience and performers—who share the space together as one greater entity. An immersive, artistic experience that taps the singing voices within us all, Close Music for Bodies connects its audiences to the transcendent gift of singing, and the sonic community of a group voice.

Note: Close Music for Bodies is presented in promenade, meaning the audience stands and walks for the duration of the performance. Specialty seating is available for those unable to do so. Audiences check their bags and remove their shoes prior to entering the performance. There is no late seating available.

$29 general / $20.30 member (Click here to join and save 30% on tickets to all shows!)
$15 student + 25-and-under

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Creator Michael Kiley Director Rebecca Wright Choreographic Consultant: Sean Donavan Mentor Creative Mentor Faye Driscoll Lighting Yi Zhao Costumes Maiko Matsushima Production Stage Manager Nicole Labadie-Bartz Performers Michael Kiley, Eppchez, Martha Stuckey, Scott McPheeters, Brandon Washington, Cynthia Hopkins, Michele Tantoco, Arielle Pina, Sheila Zagar

Major support for this project has been provided to Michael Kiley by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

Close Music for Bodies is a sponsored project of Bowerbird, Inc., made possible by a grant from Wyncote Foundation.



Festival Producers Martha Carey & Mark Tomlinson Festival Co-Producer Jo Buyske

$29 general / $20.30 member (Click here to join and save 30% on tickets to all shows!)
$15 student + 25-and-under

Photos: Adachi Pimentel

About Michael Kiley

Michael Kiley is a sound designer, composer, performer and educator working in dance, theater and public installation. In 2010, his ensemble, The Mural and The Mint co-created a performance of music and dance, As The Eyes of The Seahorse, with Nichole Canuso Dance Company, presented at HERE Arts Center in New York. In 2013, he released The Empty Air, an iPhone application which uses GPS to trigger composition due the location of the listener inside of Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia. Later that year he released a similar application, Animina, for the opening of the new FringeArts performing space. Also in 2013, he composed Kuerner Sounds, a commission from The Brandywine River Museum to be heard during a tour of Kuerner Farm, inspirational home to painter Andrew Wyeth. In 2014, Michael performed, composed and sound designed Thank You For Coming: Attendance for choreographer Faye Driscoll and worked as vocal consultant for luciana achugar’s Otro Teatro. Michael has been an artist in residence at The Hacktory, and commissioned by The American Composers Forum and Mural Arts for With Happiness For You, World; a composition using poetry of an immigrant student from Karen State as libretto. He teaches workshops in a voice/movement practice of his own design, Personal Resonance, at The Headlong Performance Institute and various studios.

Interview with Michael Kiley

Abridged, check back this summer for the full interview on the FringeArts Blog. Photos by Adachi Pimentel are of a 2017 rehearsal.

May 2017

FringeArts: Do you remember how the title Close Music for Bodies came into being?

Michael Kiley: I was running. I wanted a title that represented what the piece is in a literal sense, yet also make people curious.

FringeArts: How would you categorize this performance?

Michael Kiley: I call it a voice piece. Sometimes I call it a voice piece with movement. It is immersive. It is educational. It is participatory, if you like. I usually talk to my collaborators first about my voice practice, Personal Resonance. I explain that my primary goal with teaching is to have the student understand that the real beauty and benefit of voice has nothing to do with how you sound, and everything to do with how your voice can make you feel physically (and therefore mentally). Once someone understands how to control that physical sensation, their voice becomes as accessible as breathing. My goal with Close Music is the same. There is no real venue for secular, public acts of group voice in our culture. The corporatization of music, and the heavy influence of technology on singing performances has driven us to feel like our voice has to be perfect all of the time. The result is that most people don’t sing. And for those who do, it is usually during some kind elevated performance, where the goal is to be impressive. I hope to dismantle that expectation in my own small way, and change people’s thinking into understanding that simply making sound is one of the healthiest things that we can do.

FringeArts: What inspired you, or nagged at you, to make this all voice?

Michael Kiley: I’ve been working a lot with technology of late: sound reinforcement, coding, recording equipment and techniques. I felt like I was starting to rely on technology to make interesting music. All the while I’ve been reinventing my teaching, working in group settings, creating a social atmosphere. It became clear that the next step in my own learning would be to create a piece for the acoustic human voice. I wanted to find a way to meld my teaching practice with my creative practice in hopes of unifying them. I’ve been pleased to find that working with the ensemble feels a lot like learning about a piece of tech, or picking up a new instrument.

I’ve been thinking of the movement as sound design—like speaker placement, only my speakers happen to be performers. A lot of movement comes out of a geometric impulse related to what the group of voices is doing. I’m also very interested in how bodily position and physicality affects vocal production, which I want us as performers to embrace, rather than fight against. If you are tired, sound tired. If you are bent over, and blood is rushing to your head, let that affect how you sound. Don’t try to sound good or pretty. Sound like what you are doing. I’m also working with choreographer Faye Driscoll to help shape and develop the movement impulses. She’s amazing at honing in on what is essential about movement, which is important to me. I want the movement to be inseparable from the vocal impulses that we score out. I am also collaborating with director Becky Wright who is instrumental in drawing out movement and staging from the impulses that we generate. She is also one of the most compassionate community builders and organizers that I know. All of the performers have contributed text, melody, sound, and movement to the work.

FringeArts: What are some of the musical antecedents/influences you are drawing from?

Michael Kiley: My history with performing choral music is deeply tied to this work, compositionally and spiritually. Some of my most transcendent experiences occurred while playing a small part in a large group of voices. I also remain very influenced by Janet Cardiff, whose speaker installations I am copping, just flipping the stationary component to an audience member, and the moveable component to a live body sound source.

I seem to keep moving my work towards becoming a social practice. I’ve always wanted to create community through my work, I think all artists do, but I used to think of my work only as a way to communicate how I feel. Through teaching, I’ve learned that artistry can come from being a facilitator and educator. Writing music can be an incredibly lonely and isolating act, and I spend most of my days wanting to feel more connected to others. I enjoy helping people find sounds, words and movements that are unique to them much more than I do saying, “This is what you should do, this is how you should sound.” Making this work, and teaching my practice, have become the most meaningful ways that I have found to learn about and connect to people.

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