If you want to completely immerse yourself for a day in a technologically advanced, 360-degree music environment, you’re about to get your chance.
The Seattle Symphony on Wednesday announced its initial artistic programming for Octave 9, a new performing space at Benaroya Hall in Seattle that opens next March. And out of the gate in the first month is a “concert” likely to take the venue through its paces — a 24-hour, non-stop Contemporary Music Marathon.
Unveiled in June as “the only known space of its kind,” the Symphony’s Octave 9 space can morph from traditional concert performances into a 360-degree chamber for shared immersive experiences. Among its features will be a modular surround video screen with 13 movable panels, 10 ultra-short-throw projectors, motion-capture cameras, and a Meyer Constellation Sound System with 42 speakers and 30 microphones. It replaces the Soundbridge music education center and classroom at the corner of 2nd Avenue and Union Street that closed in late 2016.
The programming at launch appears to be as experimental as the space. One highlight is the 24-hour marathon on the weekend of March 23 and 24, which includes an overnight “sleepover.” The marathon will be broken into three separate acts, called Nightfall, Dreams and Daybreak. Within each act will be one-hour programs including music from composers like John Luther Adams.
Opening the Contemporary Music Marathon will be a world-premiere electronic piece by Melody Parker that showcases the acoustic system, followed overnight by its transformation into what the Symphony calls an “interactive sound installation.” In all, works by more than 50 living composers will be performed during the marathon. Passes for the entire 24-hour marathon will be available, but tickets for individual acts will also be sold.
Overall, the Symphony says five world premieres, more than 70 contemporary composers, and 70 instrumentalists will be part of programming for what is formally called the Octave 9: Raisbeck Music Center between March and June 2019. The space will also be used for family music education — as Soundbridge had been before it — and sensory-friendly concerts.
“This new space adapts sonically, visually and with tailored seating configurations to become the ideal space for young families, schools and community partners to come together and explore their creativity with the Seattle Symphony,” said Laura Reynolds, Seattle Symphony vice president of education and community engagement, in a statement.
Octave 9 is set to officially open on Sunday, March 3, 2019, with a ribbon-cutting and a free open house.