“Festival of Whispers” (2017), a new work commissioned by the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in honor of the 20th anniversary collaboration with San Diego New Music and the 10th anniversary of SoundOn Festival, opened in January, 2017. The work includes a multichannel sound installation and a concert work for ensemble and electronics. Listeners hear the sound of the La Jolla coast through the walls, composed to sound like the Pacific is pushing up under the building, pulling it out into the sea stone by stone. Whispered texts drawn from the music library stacks (the writings of composers) scatter around the venue, as if washing off the shelves. Like tide pools, personal listening points around the room allow listeners to explore aspects of the soundscape individually and in greater detail, small musical settings of individual texts to be discovered.
The installation opened on Friday January 6, 2017 and the concert piece premiered on Saturday, January 7. An octet of musicians including the NOISE Ensemble and members of San Diego New Music performed.
Marcus Overton, The San Diego Union Tribune wrote of the premiere of “Festival of Whispers”:
It was water, it was ocean (lulling, frightening), it was rocks grinding, it was whispers — whispering players, whispering listeners who had been given small ”scores” to whisper to each other. At one point, I heard a small phrase that summoned up all of Debussy’s “La Mer” in a second. It was haunting and unforgettable.
And all of it was beautiful — outstanding playing, remarkable music.
More information on the 2017 SoundON Festival: http://www.ljathenaeum.org/sound-on