Unique collab brings one-of-a-kind performance to the valley

Posted at 7:13 AM, May 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-10 15:29:12-04

*Editor's note: This article has been updated to include the full name of the Keith and Catherine Stein Luminary*

Boise State's GIMM Lab and the Boise Philharmonic are partnering to bring a unique, first-of-its-kind performance to the digital stage.

The musical performance combines new music, written by composer (and soon to be Boise State Grad) Allen Skirvin, and technology.

A group of graduating seniors from the Boise Phil Youth Orchestra are performing Skirvin's piece "Playing with Light," in Boise State’s yet-to-open Keith and Catherine Stein Luminary.

"I was thinking about how I could play with the light and not just the GIMM department and what piece could create a wide variety of visuals," Skirvin said.

For these musicians, the music represents freedom--and unity.

"Having such a freeing piece in a time when a lot has been taken away, it's been really nice," said Jaren Taylor, a French horn player. "It's very chaotic and we're all playing different parts--then we have this part where we all play together and we have this lyrical part."

The Keith and Catherine Stein Luminary is a unique, digital gallery that has projection screens that can create a cave of imagery, floor to ceiling, BSU GIMM students have spent months creating a computer program and animations to react to the music being played. The animations will react to the music and will be projected onto the gallery walls, the students explain.

"Listen to that part again and be like 'Okay what do I want that color to be? What shape do I want to put here?' I listen to it over and over until each piece is perfect," said Ethan Mathes, one of the GIMM Lab designers. "That's something to look for--just how the music and the art play together."

For Skirvin, it's a chance to see the world premiere of his piece in person, surrounded by breathtaking color.

"It's pretty surreal because this is the first time I've been in a building other than my house this whole pandemic--I haven't heard my music in person in a while," Skirvin said.

This performance will premiere on the Digital Stage on June 12th.