January 20, 1984 premiere

169 Speakers


Program Note Excerpts:

When the concept of AUDIUM began taking shape in the late 1950s, space was a largely unexplored dimension in music composition. The composer who suspected space capable of revealing a new musical vocabulary found his pursuit blocked by the inadequacy of audiotechnology and performance spaces.

Because of an unusual combination of art and technology (AUDIUMs creators, composer Stan Shaff and equipment designer Doug McEachern were both professional musicians), AUDIUMs conception and realization were able to evolve jointly. AUDIUM is the only theatre anywhere constructed specifically for sound movement, utilizing the entire environment as a compositional tool.


AUDIUM the sound theatre: Listeners sit in con- centric circles and are enveloped by speakers in sloping walls, a float- ing floor and a suspended ceiling. Compositions are performed live at each program by a tape performer who directs sounds through a custom-designed console to any combination of 169 speakers. Sounds are sculpted through their movement, direction, speed and intensity on multiple planes in space. Live performance of taped works gives a human, interactive element to AUDIUMs spatial electronic orchestra. 

AUDIUMs aesthetic: “I have always been possessed by the evocative qualities all sounds seem to have, whether natural or electronic. Sounds touch deeper levels of our inner life, layers that lie just beneath the visual world. All sounds are communicative sound as birth, life and death; sound as time and space; sound as object, environment or event. Audiences should feel sound as it bumps up against them, caresses,travels through, covers and enfolds them. I ask listeners to see with their ears and feel with their bodies sounds as images, dreams and memories. As people walk into a work, they become part of its realization. From entrance to exit, AUDIUM is a sound-space continuum.” Stan Shaff, Composer