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Christine Southworth (b. 1978) is a multimedia composer based in Lexington, Massachusetts, dedicated to creating art born from a cross-pollination of sonic and visual ideas. Inspired by intersections of technology and art, nature and machines, and musics from cultures around the world, her music employs sounds from man and nature, from Van de Graaff Generators to honeybees, Balinese gamelan to seismic data from volcanoes.
琮 (Christine Southworth, 2016), pronounced cóng, are ancient Chinese jade artifacts from the Liangzhu culture (3400-2250 BC), rectangular objects carved on the outside, and hollowed out with a circular tube on the inside. It is said that the squareness of the outside represents the earth and a circular inside represents the heavens. I discovered these beautiful and mysterious artifacts while visiting Hong Kong in 2015, and took the idea of this representation of earth and the heavens as the influence for this piece, which features electronic tracks developed from sampled music of the world and sounds from space, courtesy NASA, with projected video and live solo Galician gaita, koto, and gamelan.
Christine Southworth String Quartets (2010)
Christine Southworth Zap! (2005, 45 minutes) for Van de Graaff Generator, Lyricon, voices, guitar, cello, bass, percussion, piano, robotic xylophone and electronics. The sound of electricity at its rawest and most majestic - sparks, booms, lightning bolts, sizzling corona and low hums from giant motors - intermingle with the sounds of cello, bass, guitar, piano, clarinets, percussion and voice. Christine Southworth created Zap! in 2004 to explore these possibilities, using the Boston Museum of Science's Theater of Electricity as her venue and instrument. Its centerpiece - MIT Professor Robert Van de Graaff's eponymous Generator, was born in 1931 as one of the world's largest atom smashers. It is still the largest of its kind in the world, standing forty-feet tall and producing up to 1.5 million volts of electricity. Zap!, a composition in seven parts, takes the sounds of this machine, two large Tesla Coils, and a Jacob's Ladder, merged with rock rhythms and sweet melodies performed by Robert Black, David Cossin, Felix Fan, Philippa Thompson, Eddie Whalen, & Evan Ziporyn. The resulting music is ... electrifying! Premiered February 4, 2005 at Boston Museum of Science by Ensemble Robot, Jeff Lieberman (guitar), Blake Newman (bass), Sachi Sato (keyboard), Mei-mi Lin (keyboard), Akili Haynes (percussion, voice), Erik Nugent (Lyricon, voice), Rebecca Zook (cello), Christine Southworth (voice, Van de Graaff controls), Leila Hasan (Van de Graaff controls), Giles Hall (robot controls).