tomtommagazine

Vibes

In Tom Tom Magazine Notable Video on June 8, 2009 at 3:29 pm

I found a pretty amazing video of a woman named Stephanie Muto playing a piece called Eroica by Tan Dun on the vibraphone.  At first glance I thought it was a piece of performance art video/experimental composition because of the austere staging and certain lengthy pauses in the music. If taken at face value it seems quite avant-garde. 

But then I did a little more digging and realized that LOTS of musicians posted their parts to Eroica because of the You Tube Symphony Orchestra tryouts. Apparently, earlier this spring there was this huge contest, partially sponsored by Google, where people submitted their performances and if chosen were invited to Carnegie Hall.

The funny thing is that even though YouTube turned the Internet Symphony into a relatively traditional performance piece (artists collaborate across great distances quite often and it seems like the YouTube symphony is just that, but with video, too) Tan Dun is supposedly interested in pretty experimental practices. He’s used non-traditional and organic instruments in his compositions. His piece Water Passion After St. Matthew employs amplified bowls of water in lieu of traditional percussion, and his Paper Concerto relies solely on the manipulation of paper to create music.  So perhaps the beauty and absurdity in Stephanie Muto’s solo performance of Eroica wasn’t lost on him, even though it seems to have been an unintentional byproduct of a big internet art project.

-Sara

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  1. I can’t believe you actually led me to watch the whole video (the succession of pauses ends at 4:00, quite save to just skip there).
    Vibraphone is an amazing instrument, I’ve seen the winner of a german contest for young musicians perform a self-composed piece live, and she rocked it like she had at least three additional arms (at some points she actually used T and F-shaped sticks)

  2. She-e Wu is a really amazing vibes player too. I saw her perform at a clinic last year.

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