Music and Architecture

“A pianist with a flair for modernism”  

The New York Times 

Music and Architecture have been linked philosophically and physically since at least the time of the ancient Greeks. In today’s world, some of these connections have been forgotten, while others have only become possible with new technology. The world of virtual reality, digital audio, wifi, and miniature speakers are opening up a magnificent spectrum of options.

Guy Livingston studied music and architecture at Yale University. He is currently in residence at a former embassy in The Hague, designed by Bauhaus architect Marcel Breuer. He is curating symposiums on Urban Space and Sound, and on the Architecture of Power. 

Concurrently, Livingston is creating a new performance for piano, video, and electronics, which explores the links between space and music: an immersive program of piano, video, and electronics. Featuring Music for Airports (Brian Eno), Guy’s solo arrangement of Canto Ostinato (Simeon ten Holt); The Great Gate of Kiev by Mussorgsky (piano arrangament); Debussy’s Sunken Cathedral; a Talking Heads cover; an opportunity for the audience to “play the building”; and a new work by Cléo Palacio-Quentin. 

program one: Bauhaus Centennial

BEYOND BAUHAUS 

with: piano, silent films, lighting, historic audio, narration…

Livingston is an artist in residence at a former embassy designed by the Bauhaus architect Marcel Breuer.

This brutalist concrete and granite building inspired him to create a geometric and surreal celebration of Bauhaus style. Featuring both classic and unknown silent films by Brocksieper, Eggling, Graeff, Richter & Schwerdtfeger; plus music by Hindemith, Antheil, Schulhoff, Wolpe & Webern.

In concert, Guy’s trademark relaxed style, honed through years of podcasting and radio work, is used as a narrative tool to bring us back to his freshman year in college, and his first architecture class at Yale, with the legendary art historian Vincent Scully. 

photos from classic and rediscovered Bauhaus films

From there Livingston guides us through his graduate work measuring medieval temples in the Thar Desert, on up to the Bauhaus and how it came to influence him personally.

The show is presented with costumes, décor, and silent films, all inspired by Bauhaus…plus compositionsofHindemith, Antheil, Schulhoff, Wolpe, and Webern. The program closes with the ambient sound of Brian Eno’s“Music for Airports”, looking towards the future.

program two: Audible Architecture

TRANSCENDENT BUILDINGS

Scored for: amplified piano, film, 4-channel audio, live video, multiple screens, & narration.

An interactive, immersive experience for the audience: notsuitable for traditional concert halls! The concept is to illustrate and illuminate unusual spaces, so each performance is unique and cannot be repeated. The format resembles a TedTalk: High energy, with unexpected insights presented in an entertaining manner.

This performance is about discovering and “playing the building” and is intended for unusual performance spaces: factories, industrial and spectacular buildings: 
audible architecture.

world premieres by…
Vanessa Lann and Cléo Palacio Quintin; music by Simeon ten Holt, new videos by Newt Hinton; interactive video and audio with live electronics. Plus audience participation in music of Cornelius Cardew and John Cage.Each performance is adapted to the particular building, and involves two days of residency/setup time, filming and recording the sounds of the building so they can then be incorporated into the performance.

The visuals and the program sequence are being developed in conjunction with architecture firm TBA.

Seated unconventionally, breaking the 4th wall, or even lying on the floor during Canto Ostinato, this concert is an experiential, immersive one for the audience; an eye and ear opener.