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An Evening of Music for Virtual Worlds, Chamber Orchestra, and Solo Instruments.
Jaron Lanier

An Evening of Music for Virtual Worlds, Chamber Orchestra and solo Instruments was an unique audiovisual performance premiering Jaron Lanier’s compositions commissioned by the Mayor of Wrocław, highlighting the special edition of the Media Art Biennale WRO in December 2000. WRO 2000@kultura was an international exhibition, congress and artistic activities devoted to the changes in art, technology and everyday life in the age of digital technology organized to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of the City of Wrocław and the 300th anniversary of the Wrocław University.  More  

An Evening of Music for Virtual Worlds, Chamber Orchestra and Solo Instruments

performed by Jaron Lanier and Wrocław Chamber Orchestra Wratislavia
conductor: Michał Nesterowicz
composer: Jaron Lanier

Khaenoncerto, 2000
A concerto for khaen, virtual world, and orchestra. The khaen is an ancient mouth organ from Laos. It will be played by the composer. Sensors are mounted on it, so that it can control the virtual world. The orchestra plays a modal canon. In the virtual world, two forms are in a relashonship. The masculine form is guided by the motion of the top of the khaen, while the feminine form is guided by the bottom of the instrument. The sound of the instrument causes the male form to transform and approach the female.
(world premiere, created for Wrocław)

for piano and virtual world
The piano controls virtual world, the forms of which derive from the trinkets thrown during Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Canons for Wrocław, 2000
A work for orchestra composed of a sequence of overlapping canons. It is accompanied by graphical canons in a virtual world, performed by the composer.
(world premiere, created for Wrocław)

Puls, 2000
For nickelharpa and virtual world
The nickelharpa is a Swedish instrument, combining elements of clavicord and the sarangi. The sound of the instrument is modified by a sensor that measures the performer’s head motion. The virtual world is controlled by the position of the bow. During down bowing, the skeleton planet comes alive, the crystal snake moves, and the heart beats. Extended downward bowing moves our point of view from the inside to outside of the planet, or back again.
(world premiere, created for Wrocław)

Mirror/Storm, 1998
A piece of music for chamber orchestra, in two movements. Commissioned by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
(European premiere)

The Egg, 2000
A concerto for virtual world, orchestra, and a piano. The pianist sets a virtual platter in motion by playing a repeated low note. This causes a virtual gong to be sounded. As the piano is played, the egg starts to grow. In the course of the piece, the egg’s transformation is guided by th music. The harmonies played by the pianist cause the colour of the virtual ground to change. The members of the orchestra watch the virtual ground in order to know where to go in the score, which is color—coded. These are the colours to watch for:


(world premiere, created for Wrocław)

Why art will start to make more sense in the future?
„Technology has become powerful enough that mankind’s primary mission is now to survive despite our own intelligence. The only way to do this is to embark on technological developments that are intriguing enough to engage all of mankind’s creative energy and never become boring. We must seek technologies that unveil new forms of communication and connection between people, new experiences, and new kinds of meaning. The invention of these technologies is the new mission of art. In the past art’s purpose varied from time to time, but now it is clear. Art must seduce our species away from mass suicide.”
Jaron Lanier, Mediation/Mediatization congress, WRO2000@kultura

Text source: catalog of WRO 2000@kultura

Place and date of recording: WRO 2000@kultura, Aula Leopoldina, the Museum of Wrocław University, Wrocław, December 3rd, 2000


artist's bio
Jaron Lanier (US), b. 1953, is an outstanding computer scientist, composer, visual artist, and author. Time Magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2010. He is a pioneer in the field of virtual reality. His scientific interests include biomimetic information architectures, user interfaces, heterogeneous scientific simulations, and advanced information systems for medicine.  More  
Lanier is probably best known for his work in Virtual Reality. He coined the term „Virtual Reality”. In the early 1980s, he co—developed the first glove device for virtual world interaction and was the first to study full hand interactions with virtual objects. In the late 1980s, he lead the team that developed the first implementations of multi—person virtual worlds using head mounted displays for both local and wide area networks, as well as the first „avatars”, or representations of users within such systems. He co—developed the first implementations of virtual reality applications in the areas of real—time surgical simulation and telesurgery. He has been active in the world of new „classical” music since the late 1970s. He is a pianist and a specialist in unusual musical instruments, especially the wind and string instruments of Asia. Lanier has performed with artists as diverse as Philip Glass, Ornette Coleman, Vernon Reid, Terry Riley, Sean Lennon, Duncan Sheik, and Stanley Jordan. He also writes chamber and orchestra music. His symphony Mirror/Storm was commissioned by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and premiered in 1998. Lanier has also pioneered the use of Virtual Reality in musical stage performance with his band Chromatophoria. He plays virtual instruments and uses real instruments to guide events in virtual worlds.
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