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April 30, 07

Upcoming Visual Recital Outreach: The Meade School with Astral Artists, May 11, 2007

5/11/07: A Visual Recital Outreach Event at the Meade School in Philadelphia, featuring artists from Astral Artistic Services:

Jennifer Curtis, Violin
Susan Babini, Cello
Michael Mizrahi, Piano

Visualizations by Hugh Sung

Program:

Beethoven - Allegro con brio from Trio in C minor, Op. 1, No. 3

Brahms - Adagio from Trio in B major, Op. 8

Paul Schoenfield: Allegro con fuoco from Cafe Music

1:15 pm - 2:00 pm
2:15 pm - 3:00 pm


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April 17, 07

Visual Recital 3 by 3

Yesterday, we had a run-through of my new visualizations designed for 3 piano trio works: the first movement of Beethoven's Trio in C minor, Op. 1 No. 3; the slow movement from Brahm's Trio No. 1 in B major, Op. 8; and the first movement of "Cafe Music" by Paul Schoenfield. During my initial Visual Recital planning meeting with Astral Artists Jennifer Curtis (violin), Susan Babini (cello) and Michael Mizrahi (piano), Jennifer expressed a desire to participate in the 'pedal pushing' activities (she apparently has a lot of experience with a drumset!) My initial idea had been for the pianist to do all the video triggers himself, but getting the other players involved made so much sense!

The initial problem was finding a hardware solution to allow for multiple pedal and keystroke assignments into a single computer. Fortunately, i found a great product from P.I. Engineering: a USB Switch Interface that allows for up to 12 push button or foot tredle inputs. A friend of mine suggested using standard MIDI Damper pedals with 1/4" - 1/8" mono adapters, and it turns out that they work beautifully as input triggers!

The P.I. Engineering USB Switch Interface box with 3 damper pedal inputs

Each pedal was assigned a letter keystroke ("A" for the piano, "B" for the violin, and "C" for the cello).

Pedals for everyone!

Happy Feet!

Splitting the pedal trigger tasks among 3 players makes for a much easier job, particularly in situations with tricky page turns. It also opens up the possibility for much greater complexity and interactive visualizations!

Running through the visualization of "Cafe Music" with Susan Babini, cello and Jennifer Curtis, violin

Michael was a brave soul, not only using the pedal trigger for the visual triggers, but also tackling the use of my Tablet PC as a digital music reader with a second footswitch for turning pages!

Michael Mizrahi tackling both tablet pc's with both feet!

We're aiming for our first Astral/Visual Recital show at one of the Philadelphia public schools sometime next month. In the meantime, Michael will be borrowing both my Toshiba Tablet PC (which will run the visualizations via Liquid Media) and my backup Fujitsu ST5022D tablet pc as a digital music reader ("Kaylee"), along with the USB Switch Interface and the pedals for the group to practice on. Generous soul methinks i yam, eh? Well, the excitement really comes from seeing other musicians having an opportunity to try out some cutting-edge technology and seeing the true benefits that come from these tools. That can only happen with hands-on experience.

BTW, special thanks go to David Michie for taking time to show the wares of his beautiful Violin shop (right next to my office!), and to Rich Galassini for the fantastic tour of Cunningham Piano Factory. I'm using pictures taken from both locations for the Beethoven Trio movement, giving a visual "story" of how trees become musical instruments. I can't wait to show you clips from the 'finished product' once we play this show in public!


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