The Opera of the Future crew spent the Memorial Day weekend in Detroit, doing activities for the SYMPHONY IN D project. The 3 days were packed and each activity was an adventure: from driving in (and recording audio from) a Grand Prix race car, to visiting the Movement techno music festival with young DJ students, to jamming with indie improvisors, to meeting a pioneer of urban gardening, to singing opera with Martha Reeves (of the Vandellas)…and on and on. Detroit is a city brimming with complexity and vitality, individuality and soul. Tod says “I always miss it when I’m gone, and hope to capture some of its spirit in sound and music.”
Learn more about some of the amazing people will have gotten to know:
Expect the unexpected in Detroit, including people you never imagined you’d run into…like Martha Reeves (of Martha and the Vandellas) who we met while leaving Bert’s jazz club on Sunday night. She asked about SYMPHONY IN D (http://www.dso.org/symphonyind
) and sang us an opera aria and a VERY high (pitch-wise) version of America the Beautiful. You couldn’t make this up:)
Detroit’s Grand Prix starts on Friday, but I was lucky enough to get a ride in this souped-up Corvette Stingray on the Grand Prix track. Scary as hell…but what a sound!!!
We didn’t just drive the Grand Prix car in Detroit; we recorded it too…big-time. Jeremy and Josh from Ringside Media put high-res mics inside and outside the car; the sound is spectacular and will definitely find its way into SYMPHONY IN D (http://www.dso.org/symphonyind
Charles Burns, General Manager of the Cehvrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, personally drove me around the track…at VERY high speed. I screamed the first time around, then managed to shut up so that we could record the race car sounds in hi def:)
We had a wild recording session with 20 young musicians in project manager Chad Rochkind’s living room. From cello to electric guitar to synths to winds and more, beautiful Detroit music was made that I’ll weave into SYMPHONY IN D (http://www.dso.org/symphonyind
20 young musicians convened by Bryan Pope improvised around the “sound of Detroit” for my Symphony in D project.
The Z-Lot parking garage is filled with commissioned murals on each of ten floors and in two parallel structures. Where else but in Detroit could you find THAT?!?
Detroit views from the top of the Z-Lot parking garage.
Vivid, mural-bedecked alleyway in downtown Detroit.
Where else but in Detroit???
What?!?!? A “car” spotted on the street in Detroit.
An unusual home in the Hamtramck section of Detroit.
This amazing performance space was built inside an almost-condemned single family home in the Hamtramck section of Detroit. What a great idea to open up the full inside of the house and turn it into this. Inspiring…and wish we’d been able to see a performance there.
Went back to the Heidelberg Project, although it was the first visit for Noa, June and Hana. Powerful, somehow unfathomable.
Viewed at the Heidelberg Project in Detroit.
Baynard Dinkins was sitting on a park bench and told us everything about the history of the Heidelberg Project. He proposed the name to artist Tyree Guyton in 1986! http://www.heidelberg.org/
Garret Koehler coaxing sounds out of the organ in his being-converted (physically, not religiously:) church. The keys don’t play exactly what your expect, but the rushing air and pipes make some indescribable and unforgettable sounds…sure to find a place in SYMPHONY IN D.
This visit to Detroit was scheduled to coincide with the Movement Festival, one of the largest techno festivals in the world (in the place where techno was born). Lots of crazy subwoofers and razor-sharp timbres, with the most interesting sounds and scene in this (literally) underground rave-room.
Spent hours at the Movement Festival in Detroit, one of the largest techno music festivals in the world.
Not sure exactly what these folks were doing at the Movement Festival…but it was very white:)
Everyone – and I mean EVERYONE – was at the Movement Festival in Detroit.
Matt, one of the students from the YouthVille DJ class we are working with, trying out an Elektron synth.
With Dave Smith, inventor of MIDI (or so they say), and Morris Porter, visionary composer and producer and brilliant YouthVille mentor of beatmaking and DJ’ing.
With Morris Porter and the YouthVille kids at Detroit’s Movement Festival.
9-year-old Matt from YouthVille (right) stole the show by truly moving with great expression and panache at Detroit’s Movement Festival on Sunday. A star was born, methinks.
With the brilliant musician, poet, storyteller, historian, performance artist and all-around-great person Marsha Battle Philpot.
Although we were super-tired after 3 very full days of Detroit experiences, we went to Bert’s jazz club on Sunday evening…and lucky we did. We heard the brilliant young electric bass player Jonathan Muir-Cotton, who was giving his senior high school graduation concert with his trio plus some extra players. I haven’t heard such exciting, heartfelt music in a long while.
Jonathan Muir-Cotton and his band (including an astounding 13-year old drummer) at Bert’s jazz club in Detroit on Sunday evening.