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Vessel Orchestra, The Met Breuer, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Oliver Beer: Vessel Orchestra

Vessel Orchestra

The Met Breuer, Floor 5

2nd July – 11th August 2019


The Vessel Orchestra is an instrument composed of 32 hollow objects in The Met's extraordinary collection. Each object’s ambient sound is captured with a small
microphone activated by a keyboard, transforming the arrangement of vessels into a versatile musical instrument. With works whose origins range from ancient Persia to modern America, the installation links art objects across historical periods and cultures, creating an audible portrait of The Met’s encyclopaedic collection. A vast array of vessels were auditioned by Beer to find those that “sing” precisely in one of 32 consecutive notes. For example, a nearly 6,000-year-old ceramic jar from
Central Iran resonates in a low E, while a large, abstract Joan Miró vase elicits a middle F.


“Oliver Beer has discovered a remarkable secret resonance within these objects, said Sheena Wagstaff, Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of Modern and
Contemporary Art. “He amplifies that wonderful moment when, speaking or singing in a room, the voice hits a ‘sweet spot’ that reverberates in the space
into one’s very body. Beer’s genius is releasing the essential musicality of a wide scope of objects from The Met’s collections, giving acoustic form to their
secret interiors.”


During regular Museum hours, a pre-programmed audio interface plays a new composition written by Beer for this exhibition, animating the vessels in a
player piano-style. Beginning on July 5, a diverse group of guest artists, musicians, and composers will activate the vessels, performing compositions
and improvisations in a series of in-gallery concerts on Friday evenings while the exhibition is on view.

Friday, July 5: Bruce Brubaker and Ekmeles (Charlotte Mundy, Amber
Evans, Jeffrey Gavett, Steven Hrycelak)
Music by John Cage, Alvin Lucier, Philip Glass and early medieval keyboard

Friday, July 12: Mashrou Leila (Firas Abou Fakher, Hamed Sinno, Haig
Papazian, Carl Gerges) with Rabih Almuddine

Friday, July 19: Matana Roberts with Darius Jones

Friday, July 26: Brooklyn Raga Massive (Roopa Mahadevan, Trina Basu,
Amali Premawardhana, Roshni Samlal)

Friday, August 2: Nico Muhly and friends

Friday August 9: John Zorn with Sara Serpa, Sae Hashimoto, Kenny
Wollesen, Ikue Mori, and Michael Nicolas


Image courtesy the artist. Photo: Adam Reich 


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