Bystander

for speaking cellist

Duration: 18:00

Program Notes:

Bystander cellphone videos have become increasingly important documents to counterbalance, confirm, and deny official and media reports of current events. Recent bystander videos have exposed a man ranting against Spanish-speaking mall employees, BBQ Becky, and more serious atrocities such as the Las Vegas shooting and police brutality.  I believe these videos are usually made with good and just intentions.  However, there is an inherent choice made to film rather than to take action, a passivity conveyed by several common synonyms for bystander: onlooker, nonparticipant, spectator.  The source material for this work is the audio from a bystander video of a violent, ultimately fatal arrest.  Eight portions of audio were selected, providing the reservoirs of frequencies and amplitudes for eight formal sections. Fragments of speech occurring in these portions are included. Like the action and inaction that the bystander video documents, the music of Bystander is quietly, powerfully disturbing. 

Premiere:
Craig Hultgren, cello
March 7, 2016, 7:30pm 
Gallery MC
549 West 52nd Street, 8th Floor (Between 10th and 11th Avenue)
Manhattan, NYC