Listen: Machine Music with Acoustic and Robotic Instruments

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

SONiC Festival 2015 audience members mingle and pass around composer Albert Behar's wooden "Sound Orbs" (SONiC Festival)

On Oct. 17, the SONiC Festival presented an afternoon program of music that incorporated new robotic instruments with acoustic instruments and the voices of the Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble. The performance took place at Brooklyn's ShapeShifter Lab and was hosted by composer Anna Clyne.

Composer Albert Behar opened the show with a demonstration of his "Sound Orb", a self-described tactile speaker system in the shape of a basketball-sized sphere. Audience members feel, as opposed to hear, the sound in their hands and bodies.

Ruby Fulton's Cycle Loops incorporated piano and electronics with a bicycle. Fjola Evans's Whirlpool blends three vocalists with four theremins constructed by Merche Blasco. Levy Lorenzo's Inside Voice made use of a new iPhone instrument – the iLophone.

The program closed with a performance of Molly Herron's Stellar Atmospheres, combining vocal quartet, Baroque viol consort and The Dervishes, a creation of instrument builder Andy Cavatorta.

Listen to the full concert, including Albert Behar's "Sound Orb" description and interviews with each of the composers, at the top of this page.


Ruby Fulton - Cycle Loops

Fjola Evans - Whirlpool

Levy Lorenzo - Inside Voice

Molly Herron - Stellar Atmospheres

This performance was recorded, mixed and mastered by Jeremy Kinney.

The American Composers Orchestra’s inaugural SONiC Festival, presented in 2011, was hailed as "a brilliant and unpretentious showcase for music in the new millennium" (The Guardian). The second edition returned in 2015 with over 20 world premieres, and music from over 80 composers age 40 and under at venues across New York City. Q2 Music is the digital media partner of the SONiC Festival, and all concerts will be available for on-demand streaming at

Comments [1]


Thank you for posting this concert - we had an excellent time at the SONiC Festival. The diversity of programming was commendable, the performers engaging, and the crowd was simply marvelous.

Dec. 19 2015 09:53 AM

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