Moving Sound: Judith Shatin’s Black Moon
On October 28th, the American Composers Orchestra premiered Judith Shatin’s Black Moon for conductor-controlled electronics and orchestra. Commissioned by Carnegie Hall, the piece was presented on the ‘Contempo-Scary’ program that included a suite from Bernard Herrmann’s music for Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. The founder of the Virginia Center for Computer Music, Judith Shatin, is William R. Kenan Professor in the McIntire Department of Music. The technology for Black Moon features a Kinect controller whose gesture recognition capabilities are used to enable the conductor to move sound through space. Shatin first developed this method with support from a UVA Faculty Research Grant for the Arts for her composition Being in Time, for conductor-controlled electronics and UVA’s Wind Ensemble. She worked closely with composer and recent UVA PhD graduate, Paul Turowski, to design the interface. The piece had a test run last spring when they were invited to present in an ACO CoLABoratory in New York’s DiMenna Center.
Shatin is also receiving rave reviews for the new CD, To Keep the Dark Away (Ravello Records), created with longtime collaborator, pianist Gayle Martin. Called ‘infinitely rewarding’(Fanfare), it features two of Shatin’s compositions. For the title piece, Shatin was inspired by Emily Dickinson, creating five movements with titles drawn from her poetry. Also included is her Fantasy on St. Cecilia, a solo adaptation of her piano concerto, The Passion of St. Cecilia, itself a meditation on the second-century Christian martyr known as the patron saint of music. For more on Black Moon and To Keep the Dark Away, visit www.judithshatin.com.