Olivia Block

Olivia Block

Olivia Block website

132 Ranks for the E.M. Skinner Pipe Organ (2017) 

Photo by Brandon Harrington

Photo by Brandon Harrington

Photo by Brandon Harrington

Photo by Brandon Harrington

 

132 Ranks  was composed  in 2016-2017 as a commission for LAMPO and The Renaissance Society. The premiere was on April 21, 2017, at The Rockefeller Memorial Chapel in Chicago.

The world premiere of 132 Ranks, a free concert performed by Block, drew an audience of approximately 500 people. 

The event was a hybrid of concert and sound installation. Audience members were participants, silently walking through the majestic, dimly lit chapel, listening to the way the acoustics, materials and shape of the space altered the live and recorded organ sounds as Block performed. Some audience members relaxed on the floor of the chapel, listening. 

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Official text for 132 Ranks:

132 Ranks, Olivia Block’s newly commissioned work for the Skinner Organ at Rockefeller Chapel, emphasizes the instrument’s relationship with its surrounding architecture, and straddles the line between musical composition and sound installation.

Block has spent months studying the organ—the largest in Illinois—and how its sounds move around the chapel. In this special project from the Renaissance Society and Lampo, she plays long tones, while pre-recorded sounds come from multiple speakers. 132 Ranks includes both the lowest pedal notes, felt in the body, as well as the highest bell tones, at extreme dynamic levels. Sounds will originate from discrete locations to emphasize the chapel’s shape.

“Like a living body, the organ circulates vital sound-breaths throughout the chapel,” writes the Chicago artist.

 

Photo by Adam Sonderberg  

Photo by Adam Sonderberg

 

Photo by Adam Sonderberg

Photo by Adam Sonderberg

Elodie Felker-youngest audience member. Photo by Lori Felker

Elodie Felker-youngest audience member. Photo by Lori Felker

 
Photo by Andrew Fenchel. Courtesy of LAMPO  

Photo by Andrew Fenchel. Courtesy of LAMPO