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From Nathan: One week down

My residency at the Denver Art Museum is over one week underway. I’ve installed several projects, had my “open house” for my first piano office hours, had a rehearsal, and my first performance!

The week felt like a whirlwind. But it also seemed less uncertain than the weeks of pre-planning before it. The piano office installation went really well, and there were so many people on hand to help set up harmonicas and pedestals on Level 7 that I felt like such a big shot. Almost 300 people played harmonicas in the first week of their installation, thanks to a busy free Saturday for families.

My favorite elements of the residency so far have been small moments. I saw two children in the American West Gallery looking around to find the source of the water sounds they were hearing (one of my subtle additions to the room, an unmarked sound piece disguised under the sofas).  Several friends and colleagues sent me pictures of themselves playing harmonicas in the galleries. And my piano office was a big hit with school groups—lots of people came by to ask me questions, say hello, record their musical sounds for the “Corridor Voices” project, and even get pictures with me.

The “American West” performance went really well and almost 75 people roamed the galleries and listened to the ambient and folksy performance. There was a technical difficulty with audio recording, but I think the video turned out well. Judging by all the guests recording things on their phones during the performance, they enjoyed the experience, and that’s paramount. The tree branches that were so difficult to get approved for galleries were a big hit, and sounded beautiful in performance. It was a really special atmosphere that’s hard to describe- something a bit lonely, a bit nature-inspired, and a bit ephemeral.

I’m completely humbled by the amount of work and staff it takes to execute these projects. I knew there was a lot of logistics needed, but I didn’t expect this much! Installing electronics for the “Corridor Voices” this past Monday was the most challenging yet, but even it went quite smoothly, and the DAM staff are incredibly nimble and creative with problem solving. There will be a few minor glitches with the speakers and iPods in the piece as I continue to trouble-shoot, but this has been a really good challenge for me to work with technology!

Creatives-in-Residence