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Glimpse 2012 - Arts District - 10/19/12

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Glimpse 2012 Arts District Friday, October 19

After seeing the Dallas Chamber Symphony perform at Dallas City Performance Hall about a month ago, I started wondering who their audience was. Is it patrons who are already going to the see the Dallas Symphony Orchestra? Younger folks who want to enjoy classical music in a more intimate space? Fans of more outre music? Chamber orchestras, by design, are somewhat experimental in nature.

I thought about this again on Friday, as I took in Glimpse, the Arts District's free light, sound and video event, which doubled as a "sneak peek" at Aurora 2013. In an effort to weave disciplines together, an early evening performance from the New Texas Symphony Orchestra featured a visual contribution from Dallas musician John Barker, who, later that night, would perform in front of the same backdrop with with Waterfalls, an experimental project featuring Sean French, Colin Arnold and Chad Walls of Eyes, Wings & Many Other Things, plus Nathan Jackson of CHVDS.

The quintet played a nearly three hour set in front of a staggered wall of sheer white photo umbrellas, on which projections bounced and shrugged. The music was textural in its layers of drone, the pitch and tempo shifting and changing with the light behind them, as fog machines lent that extra edge of disorientation. It served as background music, in a way, but there was also a magnetic pull to it, drawing the casual bystander in.

If you were so inclined, you could be propelled onward through the fog, and end up in front of the reflecting pond near the Winspear Opera House, where drummer Stefan Gonzalez provided a beat while dancers participated in a performance called "Bedding," a collaboration with In Cooperation With Muscle Nation. There was little light, just a bed covered in crumpled white bedsheets, and a table at which a man and a woman sat wordlessly, making us feel like voyeurs in a public space.

It was one of those nights where we all felt challenged, either by what we saw or heard. The crowd that came to witness the interaction of disciplines - music, dance, art - is perhaps the one that might go to see the Dallas Chamber Symphony as well. I left wishing this sort of cross-cultural event could happen more often on these unlikely stages.

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