The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center

The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute | Troy, NY
Master Electrician / Lighting Supervisor
January 2013 - September 2016

EMPAC Website

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.”


above text and logo from EMPAC website | Images 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 Mariel and Nate in which a third lighting scenario was introduced. For the solo performances, I relied on saturate colored side-light for Mariel'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 Mariel'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)this series of shadows turned into a rainbow of color. Highlighting the wall in a surprisingly nicely mixed white on the tiles, and red, yellow, green, cyan, blue and magenta shadow of Mariel behind Nate, and similarly a shadow of Nate behind Mariel. This pairing of musicians echoed perfectly behind them, and allowed for an amazing visual end to the evening.



video from EMPAC website

Some work from my time at EMPAC

Returning to EMPAC after his 2013 multi-venue installation and performance, British artist Mark Fell presents Recursive Frame Analysis , a new work for light, sound, and human movement.
A rare US performance by Mouse on Mars, one of the most influential and innovative duos in German electronic music.
Rosa Barba’s two-part EMPAC commission was produced in collaboration with Rensselaer’s Hirsch Observatory, and was presented on four consecutive Saturday evenings throughout March 2015.
On the final evening of Cally Spooner’s EMPAC production residency, in which she will be shooting her new film work And You Were Wonderful, On Stage in Studio 1, the artist invites you to be part of a live studio audience
Almost every object struck, plucked, or blown in Memory Palace, a 22-minute work for amplified percussion and electronics, has to be made by the percussionist.
The Mivos Quartet, one of the most sought-after string quartets in the international new music scene, will be in residence at EMPAC to develop and perform a new work by American composer Eric Wubbels.
Mick Barr presents a solo performance of his electric guitar works.
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.
Mark Fell is a multidisciplinary artist based in Sheffield (UK). He is widely known for combining popular music styles such as electronica and techno with more computer-based compositions, with a particular emphasis on algorithmic and mathematical systems
Ben Frost’s music is not just heard; it’s felt

Information on more of my previous work can be found below

Since its inception in the mid 1990’s, Disney’s Broadway musical, The Lion King, has recurred throughout my life. I grew up fascinated with puppets and when Julie Taymor’s production hit theatres during my high-school days, I was enthralled.
The beautiful, historic Geary Theater — rising from the rubble of the catastrophic earthquake and fires of 1906 and immediately hailed as the “perfect playhouse” — was A.C.T's home since the beginning. This 1040 seat theatre would be a source of countless projects during the time I spent in the San Francisco Bay area.

Thoughts, Ideas, or Suggestions?