Guitars, computers, percussion, oh my! ASU Hybrid Ensemble's upcoming concert

Digital culture students will be performing a collection of pieces they composed, which will be played both on traditional instruments and electronics like game controllers and tablets. On Wednesday, ASU’s Musical Interlude Series will present a Hybrid Ensemble concert at the Musical Instrument Museum.

The hybrid music ensemble accomplishes the major's program goals by marrying creativity and technology. Digital culture junior, Colin Carter defines hybrid music in his own way.

“One part of making music is strictly traditional instruments and one is strictly digital,” Carter said. “A hybrid ensemble tries to bring these two worlds together so it is a little bit digital and a little bit traditional as well."

Hybrid ensembles have become popular in the musical landscape as composers and musicians are looking for ways to evolve classical music and keep it current. Some of music’s biggest names have contributed to the genre including Yo-Yo Ma and composers like Frank Ticheli and Daniel Montoya. One of these contributors are ASU's own, Professor Garth Paine and his students.

“The students have all composed their own pieces,” Paine said. “But there is lots of it going on around the world in major institutions, in Europe. Lots of ensembles and famous musicians are looking at how, in a sense, do we move classical music forward and how do we bring computation into that mix.”

Hybrid music creates problems that are unique to the genre considering the anchor that is technology. But for bassist, composer and digital culture major, Xavier McDonald composing also has its own challenge.

“There are a lot of technical challenges," McDonald said. "In order for me to create the digital sound, I need an audio interface in the computer. Just connecting that alone can face a whole lot of problems. Then there is engineering, getting the levels right and mixing. It also isn’t very easy to come up with a concept and what you feel like you should be doing.”

Among the ensembles playing is the Laptop Orchestra of Arizona State (LOrkAS), an experimental ensemble that is the first of its kind. Professor Paine will be playing his own composition with Simone Mancuso, the adjunct professor of Percussion, and students who will be performing their compositions as well. McDonald teams up with a guitarist for his piece that samples sounds from an old zombie film.

Along with percussion, guitar and bass musicians will be play on Xbox Kinects, Wii remotes, laptops and tablets. It is sure to be a unique listening experience for a growing genre.

The concert is at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday at the Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix.

Related links:

ASU's Lyric Opera Theatre presents student production of the renowned "Grease"

Aulos Ensemble brings post-renaissance quirk to ASU's music scene


Reach the reporter at tanner.stechnij@asu.edu or follow @tannerstechnijon Twitter.

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