EMPAC - Roberts | Wooley



The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute | Troy, NY


Mariel Roberts & Nate Wooley Performance

Mariel Roberts - Cello

Nate Wooley - Trumpet


Argeo Ascani - EMPAC Curator, Music
Ian Hamelin - Production Coordinator
Daniel A. Swalec - Lighting Design / Lighting Director

April 12, 2014 | EMPAC Studio 2


Already among the most well-known musicians of their generations, Mariel Roberts (cello) and Nate Wooley (trumpet) have quickly developed international reputations for their dedication to the advancement of music. Wooley’s iconoclastic, expectation-defying playing and Roberts’ fearless technical prowess highlight why they are at the forefront of the jazz and classical musical worlds. Roberts and Wooley each will be presenting solo sets.


Mariel Roberts

Trailblazing cellist Mariel Roberts is a deeply dedicated interpreter and performer of contemporary music, whose performances have garnered praise for their technical flair and sensitivity, as well as their ability to couple youthful vision with maturity. She holds degrees from both the Eastman School and the Manhattan School of Music. Roberts has played throughout the US and Europe.



Nate Wooley

Nate Wooley is one of the most in-demand trumpet players in the burgeoning Brooklyn jazz, improv, noise, and new music scenes. One of the leading lights of the American movement to redefine the phys- ical boundaries of the horn, his combination of vocalization, extreme extended technique, noise and drone aesthetics, amplification and feedback, and compositional rigor has led one reviewer to call his solo recordings “exquisitely hostile.”


To view a video of a portion of this performance please use this button to scroll to the bottom of the page.

text and logo from the EMPAC website
photos courtesy of EMPAC

 Technical Project Notes:

This evening of experimental music performed by world-class musicians in EMPAC’s Studio 2 concluded with a improvisational duet performance by both Muriel and Nate in which a third lighting scenario was introduced. For the solo performances, I relied on saturate colored side-light for Muriel’s cello performance, and intense, stark-white back light for Nate’s trumpet performance. While the saturate colors pulled interesting tones out of the wood grain of Muriel’s cello, the stark white light present in Nate’s performance relied on its intensity to add a level of interest to the stage. During the third act, I utilized a series of six 1000w 7” fresnels with the lenses removed, mounted on a 12” box truss downstage center in a foot-light configuration. Using these 6000w of bare-bulb power, I achieved an array of shadows of the performer on the white tiled back wall of the stage. Adding color into these fixtures took the effect to the next level. Using saturate red, green and blue gels (R27/R91/R80) I was able to turn this series of shadows into a rain- bow of color. Highlighting the wall in a surprisingly nicely mixed white on the tiles, and red, yellow, green, cyan, blue and magenta shadow of Muriel behind Nate, and similarly a shadow of Nate behind Muriel. This pairing of musicians echoed perfectly behind them, and allowed for an amazing visual end to the evening.


To download a PDF synopsis of my work on this project please click the download button below.




EMPAC | Nate Wooley | Documentation

EMPAC | Spring 2014 | Season Video