Music and technology mingle in three-night concert series


The School of Performing Arts, the Moss Arts Center and the Institute of Creativity, Arts, and Technology are collaborating for the New Music + Technology Festival Dec. 5-7 at the Cube. The three-night concert series showcases experimental music from students, faculty and guest performers across artistic and technological mediums.

Kyle Hutchins, a School of Performing Arts faculty member, will perform in addition to acting as the festival’s director.

“As the director of the festival, I’m learning about, curating and organizing performances for many kinds of settings beyond my primary instrument,” Hutchins said.

The piece in which he is involved will be performed on the first night of the festival and is a large-scale work by Virginia Tech composition faculty member Tiffany M. Skidmore called “The William Blake Cycle: Unseen, Unbodièd, Unknown.” This 70-minute piece is an experimental electro acoustic instrumental opera that prominently features the saxophone, 134.2-channel spatial audio, 360-degree video projections, theatrical staging and costumes, with thematic concepts of “nonbinary gender identity, sexual politics, and gender stereotypes,” as Hutchins described. It will be directed by School of Performing Arts faculty member Amanda J. Nelson.

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The second night of the festival features the student group L2Ork, the Linux laptop orchestra directed by Ivica Ico Bukvic, a professor of music and director of Creativity + Innovation transdisciplinary community and the individualized Ph.D. program in human-centered design at ICAT.

Tyler Johnson, a performer and computer science major, said L2Ork uses “software and external devices on Linux to generate sound. This means we can control the sounds by moving our arms or typing.”

The piece the group will perform is called “Transcontinental Grapevine,” a riff on “Grapevine,” a popular ambient house music track by musical groups Lane 8 and Elderbrook. The second night of the festival also will feature the Virginia Tech Percussion Ensemble performing “A Man With A Gun Lives Here” by Steven Snowden, and a world premiere of Juhi Bansal’s “Grief,” commissioned for the Jessie S. Yee Memorial Commission and performed by the Virginia Tech Faculty Chamber Ensemble.

The third evening of the festival will feature award-winning violinist Sarah Plum performing a number of solo pieces. Praised as “both an intrepid new music champion and a violin virtuoso” by Textura music magazine, Plum has had a prolific career advocating for new music, commissioning composers, and bringing contemporary music to a wider audience.

All performances start at 6 p.m. at the Cube at the Moss Arts Center, and are free and open to the public. Seating is limited and reservations are required. Go to

– Submitted by Virginia Tech

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