Berklee Interdisciplinary Arts Institute Performs in Brazil July 14-18

By
Nick Balkin
July 9, 2014

Berklee College of Music's Interdisciplinary Arts Institute (BIAI) enables students to engage in cross-cultural collaborations with artists of other areas, such as dance, theater, and video/sculpture installation. Under the direction of BIAI artistic director Neil Leonard, students have premiered such projects with collaborators in Cuba, China, Germany, Italy, and Boston.

The BIAI's next performance will take place at the third Bahia Biennalein Salvador, Brazil, at the Goethe-Institut theater on Wednesday, July 16, at 8:00 p.m. At the event, students will premiere an original piece of music influenced by the sound and philosophy of Anton Walter Smetak, a Brazilian-based artist and composer who invented close to 150 musical instruments. The concert will feature voice, fiddle, and percussion, as well as synthesizers of their own design.

The trip will also include an exchange at the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), where BIAI members perform in concert with UFBA students and share their research in interdisciplinary production, modular synthesizer design, and interactive music apps. Jason Lim, a 2014 Berklee graduate who recently launched the company Qu-Bit Electronix with fellow BIAI alum Andrew Ikenberry, will give a presentation on modular synthesizer design and creating tools for electronic musicians.

The BIAI group traveling to Brazil includes Lim; student Alexia Riner, a vocalist, electronic musician, and film composer with a background in Indian classical music; and student Dalton Harts, a percussionist, producer, and engineer who created animations for Berklee's 160 Massachusetts Avenue building dedication.

BIAI artistic director Neil Leonard is an interdisciplinary arts composer and saxophonist. His work includes jazz performance; composition for orchestra with computer-generated video and sound; and sound/music for dance, theater, installation, and film. He has performed live electronic music with the Boston Ballet, composed music for Tony Oursler's video/performance piece "Relatives" at the Whitney Biennial, and created sound design for numerous multimedia installations with Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, including exhibits at MoMA/New York and the Venice and Dakar Biennales. Leonard is a professor of electronic production and design at Berklee.