MASS Ensemble residency to feature performances, workshops, lectures

body harpThe acclaimed MASS Ensemble will offer performances, interactive workshops and lessons on art and technology during a residency through SUNY Oswego’s Artswego program.

The MASS (Music Architecture Sonic Sculpture) Ensemble blends music, technology and visual arts in its groundbreaking productions. Members also bring expertise in a wide variety of fields, said Mary Avrakotos, who coordinates the Artswego Performing Arts Series.

“MASS Ensemble is so innovative and imaginative that the residency presents a real opportunity for the public and our students to learn about everything from the creative process to sound technology,” Avrakotos said. “The troupe’s residency is one of the most ambitious educational outreaches by visiting artists we’ve ever had.”

MASS Ensemble will provide a series of outdoor concerts with the Earth Harp, the world’s largest instrument. Shows featuring the instrument with 100-foot strings attached to a building will take place in the academic quad outside Lanigan Hall, weather permitting, at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 12, and 12:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15.

“There is only one instrument in the world that can produce a sound as you reach for the sky . . . MASS Ensemble’s Earth Harp,” a CBS News report said, also praising the harp’s “beautiful sounds.”

An installation art exhibition, “E=MC2 Closesound: A Musical Exploration by MASS Ensemble,” will allow visitors to play the musical art in Tyler Art Gallery. The exhibition runs Sept. 5 to Oct. 9 for general viewing, and group tours are available by calling the gallery at 312-2113.

Bill Close, MASS Ensemble’s artistic director, will give a talk on how the arts have increasingly partnered with the business world to foster innovation. His open lecture will take place at 9:10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13, in Room 101 of Lanigan Hall.

Close will also speak on the creative process in art and science at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 12, in Tyler Art Gallery.

Members of MASS Ensemble will lead a yoga and sound workshop at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13, in SUNY Oswego’s academic quad. Those attending are encouraged to bring a blanket or mat.

All of the above sessions are free and open to the public.

MASS Ensemble will also offer a full-length performance of its multimedia production “Critical MASS” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre. Tickets are required for this show—at $25, $20 for seniors and students, $7 for SUNY Oswego students—by contacting Tyler box office at 312-2141 or

The residency is supported by the New York State Music Fund, created when the New York State Attorney General’s Office resolved pay-for-play investigations against major record companies and administered by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. Entergy Nuclear Northeast also supports MASS Ensemble’s educational work at SUNY Oswego.

For more information about the appearance of MASS Ensemble, contact the Artswego office at 312-4581, e-mail or visit

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(Posted: Aug 23, 2006)