Pro'ject Sound is an innovative performance project featuring stunning photography and live piano music.
Specially-prepared images from community arts groups and classrooms are projected via powerpoint onto a large screen overtop the piano during a live performance. The result is a highly marketable event combining community talent and spirit with world-class musicianship.
Pro'ject Sound is a new way of hearing imagery and seeing music.
In the above video, Sarah is interviewed on Telus TV about her approach to the piano, to music, and to her collaborative work with Pro'ject Sound.
Concept & Vision
Several months in advance, photographers in a community camera club are given guidelines for taking photos (specific colours, lines, shapes) along with recordings of the music which will be used in the final production. All of the images are emailed to Sarah several weeks in advance and she carefully selects the ones which work best with the changing colours of the music. The photographs are timed on Powerpoint and Sarah memorizes where they line up with the music, essentially playing to the changing slides. In performance they are then projected via powerpoint onto a large screen overtop the piano.
Sarah has also done this with a group of artists who painted new works while listening to assigned music over the course of several months. She then photographed the images and projected them onto a large screen. This worked particularly well with the 24 preludes, Opus 28 of Chopin.
To give a clearer sense, in one version of Pro’ject Sound she plays 10 works of Debussy. Each overall colour is assigned a piece of music, which the photographers are informed of in advance so they can listen while they are out on shoots. The photos move slowly (changing about every 15 seconds) through the colours of the rainbow, starting with violet and ending with a dramatic red over the course of the 45 minute programme.
Classroom project with Jean de Brunhoff’s “Story of Babar” set to music of Poulenc:
Sarah also produces a classroom version of Pro'ject Sound which involves children's artwork. With a local narrator, she performs "The Story of Babar the Elephant" set to piano music of Poulenc for a school group, ideally for students between 9 and 11 years old. Each student is given a line from the story to paint during the classroom performance. The pictures are photographed and then projected in the concert setting, with slides changing in coordination with the story. The resulting effect as the images change to the storytelling of both text and music is that of a giant storybook on the stage. This project also works en français, which is an added bonus.
While it is not essential that the Babar project become a public performance, the opportunity to participate in a classical concert in this way is an invaluable experience for young artists. In the classroom this project also becomes occasion to learn about Poulenc, the piano, and even about French music.
It is possible for Sarah to workshop the artwork with the students in the morning, prepare the
powerpoint in the afternoon and have the entire production ready for a performance that same
night, making this entirely feasible for a touring project.
The main philosophy behind Pro’ject Sound is to combine community talent and spirit with world-class musicianship, creating an exciting event which may introduce new listeners to classical music.
Pro'ject Sound has four options, and
up to two can be chosen to create a programme. (The favourite combination for theatres is Option 1 with Option 4.)
Option 1: Images which carry the listener through the entire spectrum of the rainbow with the music of Claude Debussy.
Option 2: An exploration of the music of Sergei Rachmaninoff, using photographic themes of contrast, balance, pattern, and rhythm.
Option 3: Frédéric Chopin's Opus 28 Preludes, examining perfection of form and harmony with images of human expression and the world around us.
Option 4: Story of Babar the Elephant, set to illustrations from local students.