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Andrew Bird and Ian Schneller
Sonic Events

Dec 21–22, 2011


Andrew Bird and Ian Schneller. Photo: Shane Welch

“Bird could be the only performer who’s lit up both Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo with a combination of vocals, violin, guitar, glockenspiel and whistling.”
— Esquire

Sculptor and instrument-maker Ian Schneller and composer/violinist Andrew Bird have a long friendship and shared fascination with sound, particularly as music in a landscape. The performance Sonic Events is their highly anticipated return to the MCA’s main floor atrium since installing their Sonic Arboretum exhibition at the beginning of December.

On view through December 31, 2011, Sonic Arboretum is a collection of 75 plant-shaped audio horn speakers, made from compressed recycled newsprint and dryer lint, created and conceived by Schneller and Bird to transform MCA’s atrium into a “forest.” The speakers, ranging from three feet to a towering nine feet in height and powered by custom-made tube amplifiers, are arranged into a symphonic field for which Bird has recorded compositions live and on site, layering loops of violin, guitar, and glockenspiel that play continuously as museum visitors meander and follow the music’s lead.

The performance Sonic Events heightens Bird’s and Schneller’s inquiry into how sound falls in a landscape, in the case of MCA, how the atrium, versus the theater, echoes and absorbs music. As concertgoers wander through the installation, Bird manipulates sounds of his violin.

Installation is free with museum admission.
Performances require separate ticket purchase. Running time: 75 minutes, no intermission.


Program Notes

More information about Andrew Bird.
More information about Ian Schneller.