Flames and Frequencies: Performance for Glass Percussion and Fire

During a residency at Rochester Institute of Technology, I created a glass percussion orchestra. Teaming up with percussionists Peter Ferry (Chicago) and Adam Maalouf (Brooklyn), and Glasgow-based composer Alistair MacDonald, we presented Flames and Frequencies: performance for glass percussion and fire, an inter-disciplinary event of fire, live and electronic music, and glass blowing at Rochester Contemporary Art, New York State on May 10th 2013. This film documents moments in this collaborative performance.

In 2010 I founded Torcher Chamber Arkestra, an experimental platform 
that explores cultural identity, social and political topics through flameworked glass performance
 and glass-made music with audience participation. Torcher members come from flameworking, academia and music. The British glass orchestra section of Torcher Chamber Arkestra was built for composer Alistair MacDonald, Director of the Electroacoustic studios at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. He composed two pieces, “Glimmer” and “Scintilla”, which were performed with live percussion parts created especially for this performance by Ferry and Maalouf.


During the performance I blew new glass instruments in the fire  that were handed off to the musicians and incorporated into their soundscape.

Ferry and Maalouf, longtime collaborators, created music for this performance based on planned forms, as they have in previous improvisation and electronics projects such as “Circles and Squares” and the incidental music for playwright Kelsey Burritt’s production of “Threading”.
All of the glass instruments for this performance were developed during my residency at Rochester Institute of Technology with assistance from Shane Caryl, Bob Ponton, H.S. Martin, Wil Sideman, Jordan Smith, and Tom Zogas.

Flames and Frequencies: Performance for Glass Percussion and Fire was part of the Coburg Prize Exhibition at the Veste Coburg, Coburg, Germany in 2014, and both the film and one of the bells from the performance were acquired for the permanent collection of the European Museum of Modern Glass, Rödental, Germany.

This film was part of the British Crafts Council touring exhibition Real to Reel: film as material in making, touring Britain from September 2013 through January 2016.

This project is supported by Creative Scotland.

© 2020 CARRIE FERTIG

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