Suite for the Passersby (2019)
Suite for the Passersby is a suite of seven pieces for solo instruments (bass clarinet, cello, french horn, clarinet, piano, and two works for soprano) and interactive electronics and one piece for fixed electronics, designed for the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO. The movements combine to create an immersive and interactive sonic environment realized through a smartphone application called “Suite for the Passersby.” Using GPS data, the application responds to the listener’s location within the boundaries of the park, playing movements of the piece informed by where they are in relation to the sculptures. The structure of the piece is therefore nonlinear and variable to each individual’s chosen path through the area. These movements can also be performed live in concert, individually, in any combination, and in any order.
The movements of the suite correlate to individual zones in the park. These zones are defined by radii from prominent sculptures. The music in each area is in some way inspired by or responding to the sculptures within its respective zone, creating a musically structured puzzle. There are multiple possible transitions, beginnings, endings, and middles. In addition to referencing sculptures within the zone, many movements share musical material with other movements, which creates cohesion throughout the experience regardless of the listener’s physical location. The length of time that a person will spend in each zone is indeterminate. Each movement is designed to loop seamlessly, creating several circular forms. The eighth fixed media piece is “promenade” music that plays when the user is in transition. Promenade consists of various texture-driven drones, instrumental samples from each of the other seven movements, and soundscapes from sampled voices of the guests recorded at the sculpture park.
The smartphone application for Suite for the Passersby creates an interactive musical and visual experience for the community as a location- sensitive audio player. The goal is to create a compelling audiovisual experience linking the sculptural works in the park and the music inspired by them, offering the Kansas City community a new music experience that is accessible and exciting.
The music for Suite for the Passersby was premiered live at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art on June 16, 2019 to celebrate the launch of the app. The app is currently available for download on iOS and Android devices; thus, this virtual sound installation continues to be enjoyed by the public today.