EMPAC 10YEARS

EMPAC exterior 2008-10-03

Standing outside EMPAC 10 years ago (almost to the day).

The Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute -- EMPAC -- will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary next week with a multi-day series of events: concerts, dance, film, theater, talks. And two events -- one at the start, the other at the finish -- sound like they'll be good opportunities to experience what the venue can do:

October 11: Double Quartet: Strings and Spaces
"Double Quartet: Strings and Spaces will serve as an initiatory journey for guests of the 10YEARS event. Beginning and ending in the EMPAC Concert Hall, Taiwanese-American string quartet the Formosa Quartet will lead their audience through the EMPAC Theater and Studios 1 and 2, performing classical works specifically selected to complement the architectural acoustics of each space." 7 pm -- $18 / $13 students and seniors

October 13: Lost Highway Suite by Olga Neuwirth
"Performed by 25-members of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), with conductor Timothy Weiss and live electronics by Gilbert Nouno, the Suite will be staged in the EMPAC Concert Hall with a 64-speaker Ambisonic dome surrounding the audience. Going beyond traditional surround sound, this audio system is capable of spatializing the music performed by the ensemble, moving sounds around the listening space, and expanding and altering the acoustics of the hall. Creating a sonic environment in which sound clouds and particles seem to come from beyond the walls of the space before retracting back to the performers onstage, the composition pursues a series of existential questions, including: How do we know what is real and what is imagined? How do we differentiate between what is inside of us and what is outside?" 8 pm -- $18 / $13 students and seniors

EMPAC is a remarkable venue -- in terms of its architecture, its technology, and its programming. It also might, at times, not exactly feel accessible to a general audience.

Probably the best way to think of it is not just as a performance venue, but as a flexible research space for artists that allows them to push the boundaries of technology and form and, through that work, create new experiences. That's a rare opportunity -- for artists and audiences -- and it's worth checking out.

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