The “fourth wall” is the imaginary barrier that separates the actors from the audience in a traditional theater production. When it’s broken, the audience is shocked into an awareness of the role they play in supporting the spectacle at hand.

In British artist Ant Hampton’s new production, The Extra People, the fourth wall is so thin as to be nearly imperceptible, with the line between performer and audience equally unclear. The Extra People was commissioned by EMPAC and will premiere in the space where it was developed via the artist-in-residence program.

The piece will begin at 7 pm tomorrow and cycle on the half hour until 10 pm. Ant Hampton joins us to tell us more.

      Andrea Reinkemeyer  is a free-lance composer and an Assistant Professor of Music at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. She will be presenting the world premiere of her latest work: NaamJai (Liquid Heart) for Orchestra at the grand finale of this weekend’s event - the Festival Orchestra Concert, taking place on Saturday night, May 16th at 7:30 in EMPAC’s Concert Hall.

Also premiering a new work is composer Clint Needham who currently serves as Composer-in-Residence/Assistant Professor of Music at the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music. He is also the Andrew W. Mellon Composer/Educator-in-Residence at The Albany Symphony. The new work that the ASO is premiering is entitled We Are All From Somewhere Else

  The role of a development director is vitally important to an organization like the Albany Symphony Orchestra. The ASO’s Development Director, Rachel Jason, is here to tell us about her duties. When Rachel isn’t here with us at EMPAC – she is working to develop and implement a strategic plan to raise vital funds for the ASO in a cost-effective and time-efficient manner. Rachel is chiefly responsible for bringing in revenue streams to the orchestra from grants, donations, special events.

David Alan Miller also joins the conversation.


  The Albany Symphony American Music Festival’s Reading Session will take place tonight at 7:30pm in the Concert Hall at EMPAC.

The Reading Session is a one-of-a-kind sneak peek into the world of music today, as up-and-coming composers -- chosen from a competitive national selection process -- have their works played by an orchestra early in the piece’s development.

Composers will receive feedback from Maestro David Alan Miller and the audience as well as from orchestra members who will weigh in on their work.

The composers are: Justin Ralls who composed Tree Ride, Michael Lee who composed Amped and Baljinder Sekon, the composer of Civil Variations.

  David Alan Miller has established a reputation as one of the leading American conductors of his generation. As Music Director of the Albany Symphony Orchestra -- a position he has held since 1992 -- he has proven himself a creative and compelling orchestra builder.

Through exploration of unusual repertoire, educational programming, community outreach and recording initiatives, he has reaffirmed the Albany Symphony’s reputation as the nation’s leading champion of American symphonic music and one of its most innovative orchestras.

He joins us to talk about this year's American Music Festival at EMPAC.

Ellie Ga At EMPAC

May 5, 2015

  Ellie Ga is closing out the Spring EMPAC season on May 7 and 8. Ellie Ga's multimedia essays are part field dispatch, part artist’s notebook, part home-movie, part poem.

On Thursday, May 7, at 8PM, Ga will perform The Fortunetellers, a narrative performance inspired by her six-month residency on the Tara, a research boat drifting near the North Pole to gather scientific data.

On Friday, May 8, at 8PM, she will perform Eureka, a lighthouse play - Commissioned by EMPAC, Eureka centers on the Great Lighthouse of Alexandria and recounts Ga’s journey, beginning in 2012 when she joined a marine archaeology program at Alexandria University in pursuit of the lighthouse.

Ellie Ga joins us now along with Victoria Brooks, a Curator at EMPAC.

Kris Qua

  Situated on the campus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, EMPAC is where the arts, sciences, and technology interact.

We are joined this morning by EMPAC’s associate music curator, Argeo Ascani who will tell us about upcoming musical presentations at the venue and sound artist Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon whose new work The Only Thing that Makes Life Possible is Not Knowing What Comes Next is opening at EMPAC on Friday. Her work integrates audio technologies into sculptural forms to question relationships of affect to an environment. She is a 2014 Artist in Residence at EMPAC.

    Legendary science fiction author William Gibson will read from his work on Sunday, November 9, at 7:00 p.m. in EMPAC Concert Hall.

Gibson is a visionary author of speculative fiction whose work explores the future implications of contemporary human technologies. His 1984 novel, Neuromancer, winner of the Nebula, Hugo, and Philip K. Dick awards, introduced the term "cyberspace" and have helped to define the popular culture of the Computer Age.

Gibson’s latest novel, The Peripheral, is about drones, drugs, outsourcing, telepresence, trailer parks, kleptocracy, and 3D fabbing.

Joan Tower

May 15, 2014


  Composer Joan Tower, began writing music in 1956 at the age of 18. Orchestras around the world have played her works. She is currently Asher Edelman Professor of Music at Bard College, where she has taught since 1972.

Tower is widely regarded as one of the most important American composers living today. She has made lasting contributions to musical life in the United States as composer, performer, conductor, and educator. Her works have been commissioned by major ensembles, soloists, and orchestras, including the Emerson, Tokyo, and Muir quartets and the orchestras of Chicago, New York, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Washington DC.

She also has worked with amazing soloists, including: Carol Wincenc, David Shifrin, John Browning and Dame Evelyn Glennie who will be performing Tower’s Strike Zones for Percussion and Orchestra for Saturday night’s festival concert.

  We broadcast today from EMPAC which is, of course, part of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Our next guest, Dr. Mary Simoni was named dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in October 2011. Previously she served as associate dean for research and community engagement and professor in the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance at the University of Michigan.

Last year Simoni published a book that serves as a guide for musicians and composers learning to use algorithms to create music, a field in which she is an expert. Simoni is an accomplished pianist and has performed at EMPAC several times since joining the Rensselaer faculty. She also sits on the EMPAC steering committee and she joins us this morning.