Thu October 10, 2013

Resonance at the Exploratorium: Unheard Sounds, Undiscovered Music

Take a journey inside contemporary music with Resonance, a bimonthly evening series that features musicians and sound artists performing their work and discussing their ideas, techniques, and inspirations with radio host and pianist Sarah Cahill. Hear a musical instrument made from penguin bones, learn how remixed sound samples can form the backdrop for a lounge act, and discover songs that were composed by the wind and rain. It’s an exploration of unheard sounds, and undiscovered music at the world’s most experimental museum.

The series debuts October 10, 2013 at 7pm with a performance by Cheryl E. Leonard, a composer, performer and instrument builder who creates instruments from a raw materials that range from glass shards and pinecones to glaciers and boxspring mattresses. (Hear recordings by Leonard here and see a performance of her composition Sila here.)

Resonance performances will be held in the Exploratorium’s Kanbar Forum, an experimental performance space equipped with a state-of-the-art, 72-channel Meyer Constellation sound system, which provides the audience with an intimate experience of every sonic detail.

“We’re featuring artists who use any, and every, means to create sound,” says Wayne Grim, curator of the Resonance series. “Many of these artists may be unknown to the general public, which by no means is a reflection of their relevance. By focusing on unheard sounds and undiscovered music, we want to uncover the how and why of music making, and observe, question and celebrate sound and its makers. Sarah Cahill, who is an extraordinary musician and scholar, is the perfect voice to lead this exploration.”

Resonance is at 7pm on the 2nd Thursday of every other month, beginning October 10, 2013. Admission to the museum on Thursday evenings is for ages 18 and up from 6-10pm. Admission to Resonance is included with museum admission, however space is extremely limited (150 seats) and visitors should arrive early in order to secure a seat. Please stop by the table just past Admissions to pick up your Resonance ticket on a first-come, first-served basis. Kanbar Forum doors open at 6:15 p.m. Tickets for unfilled seats will be released at 6:45. Live video of the event will also be streamed into our webcast studio, which holds an additional 100 people. The season features performances by Cheryl E. Leonard (October 2013), Roscoe Mitchell (December 12, 2013), Anne McGuire and Wobbly (February 13, 2014), Jem Finer (April 10, 2014), and Colleen (a.k.a. Cécile Schott) (June 12, 2014).

To complement the live performances, the Exploratorium is launching a Resonance website on September 13, 2013 at, which will present video recordings of each performance, a library of intriguing sound clips, and other content exploring the science, art, and technology of music and sound to be added in the future.

About Sarah Cahill
Pianist and radio host Sarah Cahill has commissioned, premiered, and recorded numerous compositions for solo piano. She has consistently championed new works by contemporary American composers, and many have dedicated works to her, including John Adams, Terry Riley, Frederic Rzewski, Pauline Oliveros, Annea Lockwood, and Evan Ziporyn. Cahill was music critic for the East Bay Express and other alternative weeklies for twenty years, and has contributed her writings to several books, including The John Adams Reader, Critical Essays on Galway Kinnell, and A Life Drawn to Liberation, an edition of the Contemporary Music Review devoted to Frederic Rzewski. Her radio show, Revolutions Per Minute, can be heard every Sunday evening from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. on KALW. She also teaches twentieth century keyboard literature at the San Francisco Conservatory and curates a monthly series of new music concerts at the Berkeley Art Museum.

About Cheryl E. Leonard
Performing on October 10, 2013, Cheryl E. Leonard, finds music in raw materials just about anywhere. From these diverse sources come works that embrace the spectrum of musical possibilities: improvised to composed, acoustic to electronic, diaphanous to bombastic, notes to noise. Over the last decade Cheryl has focused on investigating sounds, structures, and objects from the natural world. Many of her recent works cultivate stones, wood, water, ice, sand, shells, feathers, and bones as musical instruments. Leonard uses microphones to explore the micro-aural worlds contained within her sound sources and develops compositions that highlight the unique voices they contain. Her projects often involve constructing one-of-a-kind sculptural instruments that are played live on stage. She is particularly interested in collaborating across artistic disciplines and developing site-specific works.
Take a journey inside contemporary music with Resonance, a bimonthly evening series that features musicians and sound artists performing their work and discussing their ideas, techniques, and inspirations with radio host and pianist Sarah Cahill. Hear a musical instrument made fr...
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