Multimedia performance of J.S. Bach's
The Art of Fuguetranscribed for wind band by
On January 16, 2010 the Lynn University Wind Ensemble conducted by Kenneth Amis presented a live multimedia concert of J.S. Bach's The Art of Fugue on the Lynn University campus in Boca Raton, Florida. The presentation consisted of lighting and animation choreographed to the ensemble's live performance of the entire work. The program was ordered as follows:
Canon per Augmentationem in Contrario Motu
Applause was held until the intermissions and the end of the concert. Performance time including the two 20-minute intermissions, was 2 hours, 10 minutes.
The animation, which was projected on a large movie screen, helped to
visually guide the audience through the contrapuntal structure of the
work. Earlier in the program the graphics and animation are relatively
simple becoming more intricate with the added complexities of each fugue
but always with a musically untrained audience in mind. Throughout the
visual presentation the fugue voices are represented by a specific
The animations were designed and programmed by Kenneth Amis using Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 for Windows and other supporting software. Each animation was triggered live by a student musician following along with a score and laptop computer running PowerPoint connected to the projector. This gave the conductor and instrumentalist the greatest flexibility with regard to tempi and overall pacing. A second computer operator doing the same thing on another laptop served as a backup. A switchbox placed between the two computers and projector could quickly be toggled by either person in the event of an unexpected software or hardware malfunction on the primary computer.
As suggested in the performance note in the score, the wind ensemble was setup as shown below. (In this performance an additional, assistant Flugelhorn player was used in the soprano choir.)
Setup Used for Fugues
Setup Used for Canons
Spotlights were used to project one of the four colors mentioned earlier on the wall just above and behind the appropriate choir of instruments whenever they played a fugue subject. Two music students followed scores and operated the lighting board, each one operating the sliders for two colors.
The web-ready, low resolution examples below will lack the quadraphonic sound and lighting effects of the performance but will give a good idea of how the animation was coordinated with the music.
Contrapunctus 3 - performed by Lynn University Wind Ensemble, cond.