Tuesday, June 30, 2009

AldoManutio Abruzzo Concert

Sharing a photo from Aldo's very well received concert on June 20th. His welcome to summer certainly warmed our hearts and put us in the summer mood.

Friday, June 26, 2009

"Storm in a Teacup" video available online

Great new machinama of the Storm in a Tea Cup multimedia experience has been filmed and edited by artist, Christine Montgomery. This is what SL art is supposed to be all about.

  1. Collaborative: Original music composed by Christine Montgomery collaborating with Photographer R0bin Helsinki
  2. 3-Dimensional: Constructed environment built from Second Life prims (primitive shapes)
  3. Fluid: Avatars moved through the space. Two experiences were not the same.
  4. Immersive: Comments about feeling sea-sick, or startled by sounds and motion were indicators that participants were fully involved.
  5. Interactive: Avatars board a vehicle, move through space, and interact with the environment
  6. Social: Best shared in a group of people, the various impressions of the art, inner thoughts were shared by all groups that participated in the experience.
  7. Not possible in real life: Aspects of this work were totally impossible to duplicate in real life.

Monday, June 22, 2009

"Live Music" in Second Life

Daily new avatars find Music Island and are often disappointed to not find musical things happening around the clock on their arrival. When I happen to be there and I explain that we present only "live music events", I often meet puzzlement from them. They do not know what I mean and do not draw distinctions between a truly live concert and the many dance events in SL clubs that have canned music.

To me--and the Music Island audience-- a live musical event is defined as one or more musicians playing live and streaming to us from home or studio, and often sharing their thoughts on their music.

Sometimes I wonder if Linden Labs appreciates the value-added in-kind donation of services that enlivens their world and contributes to their bottom line. As a professional arts administrator in RL, I would estimate the costs for such a small chamber ensemble event in RL at approximately $10,000. (US or Cdn.) I would breakdown these costs like this $4,000. production (venue rental, lighting & equipment rentals, rights payments, stage crew costs) $3000 artistic costs (fees, travel, hotel, per-diems), $2000 promotion/advertising (print, posters, venue lightbox, web updates, emailers, postcards, as appropriate), $1000 administration (insurance, office costs, pro-rated staff salaries & fundraising costs).

Live SL concerts demand almost as much work as RL concerts from artists and coordinators. I donate about a full workday a week (over two or three days) to booking, promoting and running SL concerts. Venue costs, promotional and artistic work is largely donated by those that value such events. I think that arts professionals in SL understand the quality and value of what is being donated by individuals to make live events possible in Second Life. I'm not so sure that everyone does. I know that when my concerns about such issues are greeted with either apathy or hostility, I just want to give up and let chaos rule. Equally I found little support when I suggested that Linden Labs consider finding a way of giving event hosts and participants priority access when there are temporary suspensions of log-ins, so that those in-world will still be able to attend and enjoy scheduled classes and events. Think what SL would be like if all of us who donate our time to planning, hosting and promoting lively arts events simply gave up doing that because our efforts were often in vain. My belief is that many have done exactly that. Any search on Second Life arts, live music, reveals a number of blogs and websites for venues and series that fail to exist.

It would also be helpful if Linden Labs would create a separate category for events that use canned music. Currently DJ hosted dance club events are listed under "Live Music" . I have some sympathy for this as there is really no other category that works for such an event. I have hosted some composer retrospectives that involved the playing of tapes of previously performed concerts of the composer's work. Because the composer was there live and commenting, I chose "Live Music" as nothing else seemed to fit. The "Arts and Culture" category--the only other possible alternative-- has largely been used for graphic arts exhibits.

I see this mainly as a problem for new avatars who fail to understand what is live and what is not. They do not understand that live events begin and end on schedule and will not be repeated. And all too often they expect that the behaviour that they witness at DJ hosted clubs, will be acceptable at a live concert. During a live event, organizers do not always have time to provide orientation to new citizens on how to listen to and enjoy the live concert experience. Sound gestures, running on stage, inappropriate comments result in ejecting and banning of new residents who simply failed to understand that a "live event" meant truly live and the expectation of some respectful listening from the audience in return for all the work that has been done in making the concert available.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

AldoManutio Abruzzo--Summer Solstice Concert

Midsummer's Eve is a time for magic in any reality and nothing will equal the magic of this concert in the warmth and beauty of the Music Island simulation in Second Life. If you haven't had the immersive experience of "being there" afforded by live music in virtual reality, there is nowhere better to start. If you are a longtime resident of Second Life, you know that this is a concert not to be missed.

While any performance by AldoManutio Abruzzo (RL Dennis Moser) is special, if only for the improvised nature of his music, this one will be very different. Having returned from 11 days in Croatia, where he recorded several hours of "live" field recording audio, he will be sharing his creative process by combining parts of these field recordings with his live improvisations into a new work of music; one that incorporates the sounds of the spaces and people of Dubrovnik and Zadar, Croatia. One of the featured sounds will be that of the Zadar "Morske orgulje" ("Sea Organ"), designed by architect Nikola Bašić ... more information on this amazing sound installation/sculpture can be found here

Please join us in this special event that celebrates the beginning of Summer with music from the elements, of both Man and Nature.

The Two Duos Friday June 19 4 pm

On Friday June 19th at 4pm SLT 2 duos of RL classical musicians who have regularly been playing in SL as duos will be performing together in RL as a quartet. The quartet is piano, oboe doubling saw, violin, and violin doubling viola. The concert will be streamed live into SL and the quartet (Sisi Schumann, Kahuna Schumann, Young Zeid, and Izabela Jawowerer) thought it would be a fine idea to stream the concert into as many sims as are interested, making the event a simulcast. 21 sims will be involved. Music Island, where many concerts by both duos have been presented will be one of the participating sims.

Recently, the 2 Duos' benefit recital for the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra was a huge success. They helped raise nearly $2000 and the reviews were enthusiastic!

World Premiere of "Storm in a Teacup"

A total of 36 avatars sat around the rim of virtual teacups to whirl through a multimedia art display for a 30 minute trip that ended in a final movement on the ground. The work was composed by Christine Montgomery and accompanied photography by R0bin Helsinki.

An informative talk was given by the composer and photographer following the performance.

People will be able to experience the multimedia art project at half hour intervals, on the half hour until Friday June 19. You need a Second Life free account to attend events in the virtual world.

Storm in a Teacup Tues. June 16@ 1 pm SLT

R0bin Helsinki, photographer
Christine Montgomery, composer/musician

Music, photography and a flying teacup. I'm not sure of all the craziness that these two have cooked up but I guess we'll find out. Artist chat to follow.

Starting point: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Sea%20Turtle%20Island/97/173/25

Don't have a Second Life account? Get a free account at: http://www.secondlife.com

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Jun 13-14 weekend with the neo-romantics

Saturday June 13 Prowess Rayna, piano@ 11:00 am
Saturday June 13 Tip Corbett, composer presentation @ 12:30 pm
Sunday June 14 Vlad Dysel, composer presentation @ 12:00 pm

Three great events by composer/musicians within Second Life, all linked by a neo-romantic style that combines the romantic with the modern. This is new music with a lush tonal core that is approachable and beautiful.

Prowess Rayna
Sat. June 13 @ 11:00 am
As a Piano & Synthesizer composer, Prowess incorporates extraordinary, fluid technique with her natural genius for melody and harmony to create not only balanced compositions but reflect nature in its micro- and macro-cosmic form. Prowess gave her first public performance in SL at Music Island more than a year ago and now is saying goodbye to us for the summer as she tours Europe--a tour made possible in part through contacts that she made in Second Life. Her live piano performance shared with us in SL will set the mood for our summer on Music Island and in Second Life.

Tip Corbett
Sat. June 13 @ 12:30 pm
Tip will share his recent work for feedback and discussion via live piano demonstration and recordings of workshops and performance of his work.

Tip studied composition at UC Santa Barbara, where he received a B.A. in music, and at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, where he studied with Ned Rorem. He is a member of the American Composers' Alliance (elected Sept. 2000), have received commissions from the MTNA, Arcady Chamber Orchestra, etc., and have had works played at numerous festivals (American Composers' Alliance, SCI, SEAMUS, Bowdoin College Gamper Festival, Ought-One Festival). In August of 2001, the Arcady Chamber Orchestra performed a commissioned orchestral work entitled Arkadia. Since 2004 he has been a regular participant in the ACA Festival of New American Music.

Hi works have been performed by The Curtis Institute Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Pi, Bruce Fithian, John MacDonald, Blair McMillen, Jeff Milarsky, Nancy Ogle, Arkadi Steinlucht, the BU Symphony, and others. He is currently Vice-President of the Maine Composers' Forum, and has had a major hand in organizing concerts since the Forum's inception in 1990.

His MAX computer music algorithm, "21st Century Baroque", has appeared on the MAX list CD, an internationally distributed CD-ROM.

Vlad Dysel
Sun June 14 @ 12:00 pm
Vlad Dysel is a young university composition student that is a member of the Via Media (Middle Way) school of composers. Neo-romantic listenable music that sets the modern in the context of the Masters. Vlad will share some of his works in progress and talk about his process, inspirations and the works themselves, inviting audience feedback and conversation.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Effective event planning and hosting in Second Life

If you've planned, coordinated and hosted an event in real life and been involved in event promotion and publicity, you already know much of what you need to know in Second Life. But some aspects of hosting a virtual event are very unique.

1. Scheduling your event to not conflict with other events in your simulation

A sim seems like a big place but really you have to think of it as being one small room with a capacity of about 60 people at a time. While a totally empty sim can hold 100 avatars, built-up sims vary in capacity from 30 to 60 avatars depending upon what is in the sim and how many scripted objects and prims the avatars have attached.

Only two very small events can be held in the same sim at the same time. If the hope is for a capacity crowd, it is vitally important that event planners consult to assure no conflicts and put the event on the community planning calendar (however that is done in your Second Life community) as soon as possible so that subsequently planned events will not impinge on your developing plans.

All too often, I have encountered the attitude in Second Life of "let's just let everyone plan their own events and if there is a conflict in the schedule, we'll sort it out then". I can only conclude that anyone holding such an opinion has never had to change a scheduled event and all online listings and promotions for an event. Depending on the number and busyness of key event participants it can take many contacts over a number of days to successfully reschedule an event. Besides the inconvenience to event organizers and involved artists or presenters, the audience members who have planned on attending the event will not only be inconvenienced but will lose confidence in the presenter and location. Venues and second life event groups die when they repeatedly disappoint their audience with cancellations, postponements and schedule changes.

Careful coordination of sim and region schedules is not about restricting the rights or abilities of anyone to accomplish their event goals, quite the contrary, a clear scheduling policy and one stop calendar of events assures the minimum of work and confusion and the maximum results for everyone who is both planning events and attending events in any simulation.

2. Assembling event details, materials and information.
You will want to have as many materials in one place well before your event to create informative, interesting promotional materials. Among things that you'll want to acquire or develop are:
a) Participant biographies
b) Participant snapshots (SL and/or RL as desired)
c) Agenda, or program
d) signage for promotion and navigation to event (if needed)
e) URL's for additional information
f) SLURL's or Landmarks for the event
g) any other promotional materials required for event (T-shirts, promotional items)

3. Promoting your event
Events in Second Life tend to concentrate on short-term promotion. However some long-range promotion is necessary to contribute to general awareness about your upcoming activities and to reach those minority of Second Life participants who only attend events which they have put on their schedule days or weeks in advance. You will want to:
a) list your events on the Second Life events listing to assure the event appears as on the search and on the map--good for reaching new audience
b) blog about your event in venue, community and related blogsites
c) connect your blog posts to Social Media such as Facebook, My Space, Twitter and event sites such as Eventful
d) have signage of upcoming events at your venue and around your community simulation.
e) have notecard givers and landmark givers attached to your signage for the event
f) give long-range notification to your core audience in the form of "upcoming events" notecards
g) group promotion is the most effective Second Life promotional strategy. You will have developed your own core audience group by steady effort over weeks and months, proactively inviting group members and assuring that group membership is valuable to them through providing earlier notification and some extras only for the group. Send notices to your core group only and then to additional groups where you have solicited and been accorded posting privileges. Never spam unrelated groups. If in doubt, ask permission.
h) your schedule of group notices should optimally include: 1 week notice to core audience, 1 day notice to core audience plus partner groups, last minute reminders to all of the above, beginning now group IM's to everyone online in core and partner groups. Last minute Twitter posts about events beginning with SLURL's and hash tags for Second Life events are also effective in getting interested folks to your event.

4. Hosting the event
Events which are properly facilitated will make for happy performers and audience members who will keep coming back. The reason that people like Second Life events better than an online podcast is that Second Life is a social experience. It is difficult for an event to feel social without an active and involved host.

Some of these steps seem obvious but I have seen all neglected at times:

a) Don't plan events that you know you will be unable to host. (Believe it or not, this happens!) If emergencies arise be sure that someone else is given ample warning to be able to host the event(s).
b) Event hosts must have sufficient land privileges to properly run an event in the premises. If you are asking someone to host for you assure they have the correct perms. They will need to be able to rez objects, re-set media streams, and eject troublemakers.
c) Assure that artists or presenters have the proper information to connect to media streams. Don't assume because you gave them the information and group invite a month prior that they have it on the day of the event. Confirm that all presenters are in the correct group and have the media stream information.
d) Schedule and participate in a sound-check, if at all possible. Don't assume that because an artist has performed in Second Life previously, that they do not need a sound check.
e) Assure that any special stage set-up is done. Stage set-up is appropriate, any needed props are in place. Test the media screen if one is being used.
f) When you send same day notices of your event, do so from the venue. Some people will always arrive not looking at the time on the notice. Politely let them know when they need to return. (I met one individual at another venue who had mistakenly assumed that all notices were immediate and was very annoyed that so many events appeared to be "cancelled")
g) have general help notecards on hand or signage to help new people in Second Life to tune in media needed to receive sound and/or video for your event.
h) set media stream or assure media stream is correctly set
i) greet people as they arrive, direct traffic, let them know where to get program information and update people on when programming will start. Introduce the artists or presenters and give "housekeeping" announcements about potential annoyances such as typing sounds, sound gestures and bling.
j) be sure that you have the tools and knowledge to deal with griefers. You will need to be able to listen on multiple channels to find the owners of chatty objects, know how to turn off particles to locate particle sources and eject the owners of griefing objects.
k) having some related websites and/or fact sheets handy allows you to entertain your audience during any delays or interuptions in the programming with relevant information and content.
l) if artists are participating for tips, remind the audience to contribute to the artists' costs in Second Life, and draw their attention to links to artist CD's and RL concert schedule.
m) when the event ends, facilitate friendly conversation and thank people for coming to the event.

If you follow this formula, I am sure you will have a packed, fun and hassle-free Second Life event.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Prowess Rayna 11:00 am Sat. June 13

As a Piano & Synthesizer composer, Prowess incorporates extraordinary, fluid technique with her natural genius for melody and harmony to create not only balanced compositions but reflect nature in its micro- and macro-cosmic form. Prowess gave her first public performance in Second Life at Music Island more than a year ago and now is saying goodbye to us for the summer as she tours Europe--a tour made possible in part through contacts that she made in Second Life.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Spring Recital in Virtual Reality

Calling themselves the "Music or Die" Flute Ensemble, a group of young students from the Fribourg conservatory gave their spring year end recital in an unusual venue... the virtual world of Second Life on Music Island.

A supportive and appreciative audience of avatars whooped, applauded and even waved virtual lighters in encouragement of the young performers. Arranged by their teacher Thomas Coard, the audience got occaional auditory glimpses of the chaos that was behind the scenes in Thom's home studio as the occasional microphone thump or misplaced music caused suppressed giggles from the kids. They worked very hard to bring an hour of great music to life. The music and the enthusiasm of these youngsters... and the dedication and warmth of their teacher lifted spirits and hearts from around the world. We were so privileged to have them amongst us virtually for the afternoon on Music Island. It is great to share the photo of the faces behind the music.

Alessandro Marangoni visits Fribourg Conservatory

Italian pianist Alessandro Marangoni first met flute teacher Thomas Coard from Switzerland in Second Life where they both perform as (respectively) Benito Flores and Thom Dowd. Naturally when Alessandro's blossoming musical career took him to Switzerland, he paid Thom a visit. Lucky students at the conservatory had the chance to hear Alessandro perform and also to participate in some classes. Pictured here he performs with Thom and some students at the school.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Flutes on Fire! June 6, 2009 @ 12 pm SLT

Flutes on Fire
Music or Die Flute Ensemble
Saturday June 6, 2009
12 pm SLT

One of the great opportunities in Second Life Music is to be able to gather round and support emerging performers, amateurs and students.

Thom Dowd, a Music Island resident artist has been teaching this group of young people all year at the Fribourg conservatory in Switzerland, now they have been invited to give an end of season recital, not only for their families and friends in Switzerland but to share their music virtually with Thom's international friends in Second Life.

Calling themselves the "Music or Die" ensemble and promising a concert of "Flutes on Fire" these young people obviously love music!

Hope you can come out, don a concert T-shirt and maybe even wave a virtual lighter in the air for encores.