College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

CLAS alumni collaborate on transcontinental Olympic event

Date: July 10, 2012


Posted on July 09, 2012 News & Information Services


As college students, Adam Cuthbert and Daniel Rhode had always wanted
to compose music with electronic influences for a symphony orchestra.
Now their collaboration will be part of a transcontinental project in
honor of the Olympics.

Cuthbert, a native of Farmington, and Rhode, of Grosse Ile, met as
music students at Grand Valley State University. Both have since
graduated with bachelor’s degrees in music: Cuthbert in 2010 and Rhode
in 2012. Cuthbert now lives and works in New York City and Rhode is in
Grand Rapids. Most of their collaborating for this project was done
online via Skype and Dropbox.

 Their collaboration, “Bodies in Motion,” is part of a larger Cultural
Olympiad project that will take place over three days, July 9, 10 and
12, in Allendale, Amsterdam and London, with simultaneous interactive
performances captured for live webcasts, viewable each day at http://research.kingston.ac.uk/bodiesinmotion

On July 9, at 2:30 p.m., and July 10, at 1:30 p.m., Grand Valley senior
student dancers Judi Jaekel, of Montague  and Jessica Loosenort, of
Cedar Springs, will perform at Grand Valley’s Allendale Campus to music
from student ensembles performing at London’s Kingston University and
the Amsterdam Conservatory in the Netherlands. The dancers will wear
special costumes that contain Wii controllers to allow their movements
to trigger specific pre-recorded music events. The dancers kinesthetic
performance incorporates the athleticism of the Olympic games while
integrating modern technological advances.

The reverse will happen July 12, at 12:30  p.m., when the Grand Valley
Symphony Orchestra will perform the music written by Cuthbert and Rhode
in Allendale as dancers from the other two universities respond to the
music. Fully embracing today’s technology, Cuthbert and Daniel Rhode
composed new work that combines traditional orchestra instruments with a
solo electric violin and several iPad performers. 

“We were asked to compose music for orchestra that related to the
historic work of the Kingston-born photographer Eadweard Muybridge, who
was fascinated with movement and technology, and is noted for his
stop-action photos used to study the movement of horses,” said Rhode.
“We decided to make a study of the orchestra through the lens of
electronic dance music.”

 It isn’t the first time the duo collaborated. In fact, as students they
wrote music for many of the student ensembles and curated a concert
series called Sight/Sound that put on six concerts of more than 70
works. “It gave us a context in which to write more experimental music
that was less ‘classical,’” said Cuthbert.

 The Cultural Olympiad celebration of the 2012 London Olympic Games
through dance, music, theater, film and digital innovation is the
brainchild of David Osbon, head of Collegiate Music at Kingston, and
will be the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern
Olympic and Paralympic movements. The collaboration is also in
celebration of the 25-year partnership between Grand Valley and Kingston
University, which has provided international opportunities for hundreds
of students, faculty and staff members.


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