david bithell
experimental music theater

  whistle from above  (2008)
   for 2 percussionists, robotic instruments,
   computer controlled lighting and sound

                           --photography by Sharolyn Hagen--                           excerpts  complete
program note:  "Whistle from Above" is a work of experimental music theater - actors as much as percussionists, the two performers negotiate at complicated terrain of technology all the while being prompted and provoked by forces outside their own control.  The work takes its title and inspiration from a stage direction in Samuel Beckett's "Act Without Words".  "Whistle from Above" was made possible through the generous help and technological resources of the following:

Russell Greenberg and Ian Antonio, Levy Lorenzo, Ali Momeni, Sukandar Kartadinata and his Gluion interface, and the University of North Texas Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia.

Performances of this work have been supported, in part, by an Encore grant from the American Composers Forum.
  • Pixilerations Festival - Hunter/Gatherer - Providence, RI - September 26, 2009
  • Yarn/Wire Ensemble - Tenri Cultural Center - New York, NY - November 24, 2008
  • Festival of New American Music - Hunter/Gatherer - Sacramento State University - Sacramento, CA - November 16, 2008
  • Hunter/Gatherer - South Pasadena Music - Pasadena, CA - November 10, 2008
  • sfSoundSeries - Hunter/Gatherer - ODC Theater - San Francisco, CA - November 9, 2008
  • SUNY Stony Brook - Hunter/Gatherer - Stony Brook, NY - October 19, 2008
  • SPARK Festival of Electronic Music and Art - Hunter/Gatherer - Cedar Cultural Center - Minneapolis, MN - March 1, 2008 (premiere)
  • University of North Texas - Hunter/Gatherer - Denton, TX - January 22, 2008 (preview)
technical notes:   The two performers play on a series of six percussion setups, all with some robotic and computer controlled lighting elements.  Individual spotlights may be used to supplement the built-int instrument lighting.  In this case, they are controlled independently using a 6-channel dimmer pack, a DMX controller, and a computer running Max/MSP.  Stereo sound file playback is also coordinated via the same computer.  You can see a flowchart of the technology used here.

score: whistle_from_above_score.pdf
max patch: whistle_from_above.pat
video: whistle_from_above.mov
duration: 21 minutes