LEMUR Robots and Pat Metheny’s Orchestrion Project collaboration!

Text by LEMUR director Eric Singer

After more than a year of work and collaboration, I am extremely excited to tell you about the Orchestrion Project. In 2007, 17-time Grammy-winning jazz artist Pat Metheny came to LEMUR with the idea to produce an album and tour backed entirely by robotic musical instruments. This led to a year-long project where we produced an orchestra of nearly 40 robotic instruments, including GuitarBots, mallet instruments and a large array of percussion. These instruments, augmented with several instruments by other roboticists, comprise the Orchestrion, a robotic orchestra entirely under Pat’s compositional and improvisational control.

Pat spent the better part of 2008 composing for and recording with these instruments. The result is a new album entitled Orchestrion, scheduled for release on January 26, 2010. I’ve had the pleasure to preview the album and see Pat perform in studio with the Orchestrion. I and others who have heard and seen the Orchestrion Project believe it is some of the best music Pat has ever produced.

From February to May 2010, Pat will be touring the world with the Orchestrion. I am eagerly looking forward to the tour and the exposure it will bring to our art form and the great music produced by Pat Metheny with these instruments. When Orchestrion comes to your city, it is a performance not to be missed.

I would like to personally thank all of the LEMUR artists and apprentices who worked on this project. I especially want to thank Leif Krinkle and Boris Klompus – without their hard work and dedication, the extraordinary results we achieved would not have been possible.

This project, along with other projects, performances and installations we’re working on in New York and Pittsburgh, should make 2010 a banner year for LEMUR. I hope we’ll have the opportunity to share our work with you.

Pat Metheny’s Orchestrion
Beginning in January 2010
More Information on the Orchestrion Project

On going and upcoming LEMUR robots related events

GuitarBot II Debut
GuitarBot II, the latest model of LEMUR’s GuitarBot, makes its debut in a show produced by Rossum’s, Pittsburgh’s local robotics collective. The show, entitled Robot Resolution, takes place as part of Pittsburgh’s First Night celebration and features works by more than 10 local robotics artists.

GuitarBot II @ Robot Resolution
Three Rivers Arts Festival Gallery
937 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA
Free with First Night pass
Click here for event info

Two NYC Shows with Michael Hearst

LEMUR robots figure heavily in Michael Hearst’s latest project, Songs for Unusual Creatures. Inspired by Camille Saint-Saëns’ Le Carnaval des Animaux, Songs For Unusual Creatures celebrates some of the lesser known creatures that roam the planet. From the Australian Bilby to the deep-sea Magnopinna Squid, the songs are brought to life by a gaggle of bizarre sounds and instruments including LEMUR’s musical robots!

APAP Conference
Saturday, January 9th, 4pm
Regent Parlor (2nd Floor at Hilton)
1335 Avenue of the Americas, NYC
Note: You must be registered for the conference to attend
Click here for conference info

Joe’s Pub
Monday, January 11, 7pm
425 Lafayette Street, NYC
Click here for more info

GamelaTron at Telfair Museum’s PULSE: Art and Technology Festival

Zemi17 brings the LEMUR GamelaTron to Savannah, GA as part of the Telfair Museum’s PULSE Festival. The GamelaTron is the world’s first and only fully robotic Indonesian Gamelan. Modeled after traditional Balinese and Javanese gamelan orchestras, the GamelaTron is an amalgamation of traditional instruments and other percussive sound makers.

Zemi17 performs on the GamelaTron from laptop and in spoken word, playing more than 100 robotic mechanisms and producing intricately woven, intoxicating rhythmic music. His performance follows the arc of a classic Indonesian gathering, where stories are told in words and music.

Zemi17 & LEMUR GamelaTron @ PULSE
Telfair Museum Jepson Center
207 W York St, Savannah, GA
Click here for more info

More about Pat Metheny