The Philly weather leaves no doubt: Fall is here, and with it comes a non-stop stream of events, festivals, classes, and more. Next week we continue our online mini-series with Play On Philly, Creative Conversations for a Changing World, focusing on how arts and education are innovating through the pandemic. We’re joined by leaders of premier organizations who are actively exploring new ways of performing, learning, and sharing in the era of social distancing. At our kickoff event last week, we had a great conversation with David Devan (Opera Philadelphia), Valerie Gay (Barnes Foundation), and Melissa Talley-Palmer (Bartol Foundation). Each is pursuing and supporting new forms, venues, and media for producing creative work.
Our next Conversation focuses on Collaboration, with another amazing group. Each panelist is both an innovative musician and educator:
- Ellen Fishman is a composer and Director of Arts & New Media at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. Since school choirs are unable to sing together this year, she started Choir Forward, a virtual collaboration between K-12 schools and The Crossing, the Grammy-winning Philadelphia professional chamber choir. Dr. Fishman is also an Apple Distinguished Educator and the creator of Marie Begins, an interactive work supported by a Discovery Grant from Opera America.
- Jay Fluellen is Philly-born musician and composer and is Choir Co-Director & Music Technology Specialist at Northeast High School. Collaboration has been a hallmark of his work as composer, musician and educator, having worked on large scale projects with many Philadelphia area arts organizations, including LiveConnections, The Mann Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, The Bucks County Choral Society, Art Sanctuary, and the Philly Pops, among others.
- Paul Smith is an innovative and creative performer, conductor, composer, and educator and co-founder of the award-winning vocal group, VOCES8. This August, he launched Live from London, an online streaming festival with some of the world’s finest vocal ensembles: VOCES8, The Swingles, The Gesualdo Six, Apollo5, and Chanticleer (from San Francisco). Paul is also serves as CEO of the VOCES8 Foundation. Since its inception in 2007, the Foundation has worked with 400,000 young people.
I am really looking forward to this conversation, which touches upon “all the things” I love (well, many of the things): music, ensemble singing, collaboration, and technology. We’ll highlight some amazing virtual projects and some truly novel ways musicians at all levels are finding to keep making music together.
Register here for the next event on September 29 at 4pm and mark your calendars for our third Creative Conversation on October 13. We planned a mini-series of 3 events, but we could be convinced to change our minds if there’s demand! 😉
(Socially) Distant Creations
- Equitable Cities Through Civic Engagement and Innovation [Amplify Philly@Home for Philly Tech Week] Originally scheduled for SXSW 2020 back in March, I’m moderating this incredible panel of urban innovators later today (Wed 9/23 at 1pm).
- Jurassic Park for 8 cellos [Samara Ginsberg] The prolific YouTube cellist returns with another solo cello octet performing one of my favorite John Williams themes.
- Adagio for Strings [COVID Cello Project] Even more cellos! This group’s 10th collaboration includes 278 participants, performing Samuel Barber’s masterpiece.
- Super Mario for solo violin [Teppei Okada] This is a few months old, but absolutely amazing. A live soundtrack for the classic Nintendo Super Mario Bros. game entirely on solo violin!
- Civil Dialog [Entrepreneurial Game Studio] I wrote about my colleague Frank Lee’s latest building-scale interactive work a few weeks ago. In partnership with WHYY’s Radio Times and Billy Penn, the project makes a return engagement for Philly Tech Week this Thursday evening (9/24)!
What I’m creating
This term, I am teaching ECE-101: Electrical & Computer Engineering in the Real World, a weekly seminar featuring distinguished guest speakers on applied topics related to our field, primarily for our 100+ first-year students. The first class is today (9/23 at 2pm… I’m the first speaker), and everyone is welcome to tune in.
Our next speaker (9/30 at 2pm) is Ophelia Wells (pictured), an engineer at Merck Research Laboratories in Device Development who’ll be speaking about Engineering Vaccines at Pandemic Speed. Register here for next week’s class!