Technology is the star of performance piece.

Metamorphonics dancers rehearsing

By Keely Savoie

The Mount Holyoke College Symphony Orchestra will stage Metamorphonics, a “multimedia extravaganza” that layers different art forms—sound, music, video, film, and dance—atop one another, to explore the overarching theme of technology in our lives.

The 75-minute performance, a joint production of the dance, theatre arts, and film studies departments at Mount Holyoke, is scheduled for Friday, April 1, and Saturday, April 2, at Mount Holyoke College. The event will take place in Chapin Auditorium in Mary Woolley Hall and tickets are available in advance.

The show features three short silent films produced by students Yiwen Gong ’17 and Zhengzheng Wan ’16 that explore technology from different angles.

Accompanying the films is a musical piece, Cantus Arcticus, that itself is a further exploration of the uses of technology. Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara traveled to the Arctic to make audio recordings of birdsongs, which he used to inspire, direct, and underpin his musical piece.  

“The birdsongs are the soloists in a concerto supported by his music,” said Ng Tian Hui, an assistant professor in the music department who is conducting the show.

A second piece of music, which will make its world premier with this production, is by Pioneer Valley composer Gregory W. Brown. The piece explores the space between analog and digital sound by playing a compact disc on a retrofitted turntable.

“It produces what Brown calls ‘gray noise,’ ” said Ng. “The sound itself becomes the means for exploring the difference between analog and digital media.”

A dance production will complete the performance. Featuring video by renowned video designer Saulius Slezas and choreography by Mount Holyoke dance professor Rose Marie Flachs, the performance will incorporate projection, sensors, cell phones, and stop-motion animation to explore how technology saturates our daily lives.

World-renowned video designer Elliott Forrest, who works with the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras among other globally known clients, directed the overall look and feel of the video components.

“Putting together this piece has been a continuous learning process, as we are using the very technologies that we are exploring,” said Ng. “The learning is going to go on until the performance itself!”