New Music Co-Production: Summer(s) of ’69

I created the visuals for this new music piece written by my husband, composer Nick Benavides. The concept is unique: a semi-structured composition that changes depending on how the conductor interprets the video projection. Here’s how it works:

There are two string quartets, and three solo instrumentalists. And there are three separate musical scores — the video projection is made up of three different visual themes connected to these scores: San Francisco during the industrial age (score #1), the “Summer of Love” (score #2), and modern day (score #3). As the conductor watches the projection, he improvises, signaling one of the quartets to play from a score he recognizes in the video projection — say, the “Summer of Love” score when he sees flowers. When video of mechanization plays, he may cue quartet #2 to start playing that score. During split screens, he may signal two scores to be played at once, and so on.

What reveals is a fascinating new performance each time the piece is played, as the conductor interprets the video in new ways.