BYU’s School of Music Invited Guest Artist Douglas Ewart for an Interactive and Collaborative Performance of Art, Music and Dance
Ewart specializes in collaborative performances with an emphasis on inclusive tones, recently working with several groups, artists and performers from BYU to craft October’s performance. Ewart has been involved with the Chicago-based collective Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians and was a faculty member at the Art Institute of Chicago for several years.
In the Madsen Recital Hall, two large canvases were set up on the stage, with paint in front of them and ever-changing projections shifting across the surface of each canvas.
Steven Ricks, coordinator of the Composition and Theory Division in the School of Music, said the canvas and projected video were prepared by BYU art faculty member Joe Ostraff and his students. Music faculty member Kevin Anthony, with members from the BYU Group for Computer Music, amplified the sound from the canvases and projected it into the concert hall.
Throughout the performance, the canvases constantly evolved as performers painted them, projections advanced and the shadows of dancers moved across the canvases.
Several instrumentalists were positioned across the stage, playing pianos, string instruments and some unconventional instruments.
Ewart stood stage left for most of the performance, wearing his white coat with faces painted on it and a dark beret. He played several instruments, including didgeridoo and bamboo flutes of his own making; he also added some spoken word to the performance as well.
BYU’s Group for Experimental Music (GEM), directed by faculty member Christian Asplund and made up of students Jinxin Fu, Oswaldo Machado and Randall Smith, helped form the instrumental ensemble for the performance. Students from the Group for Computer Music (G4CM) also helped with the music and sound for the presentation. All were joined by a large creative orchestra of faculty and student performers from the School of Music.
Dance professor Keely Song Glenn, with three dance students, moved around the stage at varying rhythms and speeds throughout the performance. Some were crawling and some were rolling, but each of them represented the simultaneous individuality and unity of the performance.
Ewart’s visit was sponsored by the Composition area in the BYU School of Music and supported in part by a grant from the Laycock Center.
“Douglas is an inspiring and interesting artist and person,” Ricks said. “The concert he put together was a memorable example of how disparate elements can be channeled toward a unified creative goal that uses the contributions of everyone involved to maximum expressive effect.”