Digital Orchestra @ MusiMars 2008

Screenshot of the McGill Digital Orchestra performing at MusiMars 2008.

Wednesday night’s MusiMars concert#3 featured two performances by the McGill Digital Orchestra group, the details of which are given in previous posts. Here is the review from the Montreal Gazette:

There were two pieces involving the latest electronic instruments from CIRMMT, the research centre that occupies the sleek building you have no doubt noticed a at Sherbrooke and Aylmer. Instead of twisting dials and flipping switches, electronic-music operators now play air keyboard and move their wired hands around. Call it Wii Remote for music nerds. Interesting. But are the new electronic sounds substantially different from what Morton Subotnick was giving us 40 years ago? More subtle, one concertgoer told me. Maybe.

and from La Presse:

Un laboratoire envahit la scène: ordinateurs, écrans, microphones, objets divers. Nous allons assister à une ‹‹dissection visuelle du son››. Le terme m’est soufflé à l’oreille par l’un des compositeurs, qui admet que les notes de programme ne sont pas très claires.

It is interesting to see how the DMI performances were received, especially since they were programmed on a concert (and during a festival) of primarily acoustic works. It is unfortunately true that the supplied program notes barely provided any detail or context on the works, which is why we prepared our own notes which were distributed at the concert. Perhaps the first reviewer did not receive a copy; if he had read them, he might have understood that the instruments were built by individual students in the IDMIL, and that the novelty of the works lies in their use of gestural control. From the notes:

Unlike the majority of “tape” or “laptop” music, these digital musical instruments enable the reincorporation of performer gesture as the main source of control in computer-based music making. A community of researchers and performers of novel digital instruments exists worldwide, but they are very seldom performed ensemble.

Subjectively, it seemed that the performances were very well received by the approximately 300 audience members. I’ll post some video soon.