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Soundpainting 3 Night Festival

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June 11, 2015 8:00 pm


For three days and nights, Williamsburg’s Firehouse will host NYC’s Annual Soundpainting Festival. The festival will feature performances by the country’s leading Soundpainting ensembles and intensive workshops with Soundpainting’s inventor, Walter Thompson. Soundpainting is the multi-disciplinary live-composing sign language for musicians, actors, dancers, and visual artists. The language comprises over 1500 gestures that are signed by the Soundpainter indicating the type of material desired of the performers. Walter Thompson headlines the festival, leading his New York-based Walter Thompson Orchestra all three nights. The festival will feature six different ensembles, led by six different Soundpainters. Each ensemble will showcase its unique application of the Soundpainting language.

The performances by the Walter Thompson Orchestra are funded by the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.

Thursday, June 11: Opening Night 

7:30pm – doors open

8:00pm – ZAHA (Evan Mazunik, Soundpainter)

9:00pm – Brooklyn Soundpainting Company

10:00pm – Walter Thompson Orchestra (Walter Thompson, Soundpainter)

Friday June 12, 

7:30pm – doors open

8:00pm – Brooklyn SoundpaintingEnsemble

9:00pm – Strike Anywhere Performance Ensemble (Leese Walker, Soundpainter)

10:00pm – Walter Thompson Orchestra

Saturday  June 13

1:00 – 4:00  JAM

7:30pm – doors open for concert

8:00pm – Festival Blow-out! 20 – minute live compositions from Brooklyn Soundpainting Percussion Ensemble , Cinesthesia, New York Soundpainting Orchestra, Brooklyn Soundpainting Ensemble, Walter Thompson Orchestra and Special Guests


Walter Thompson OrchestraWalter Thompson has achieved international recognition as a composer and for the creation of Soundpainting, the universal multidisciplinary live composing sign language. Thompson has composed Soundpaintings with contemporary orchestras, dance companies, theatre ensembles and multidisciplinary groups in United States, Europe and South America.

In 1974, after attending Berklee School of Music, Walter Thompson moved to Woodstock and began an association with the Creative Music Studio. While there, he studied composition and woodwinds with Anthony Braxton and began to develop his interest in using hand and body gestures as a way to create real-time compositions. Beginning as a tool to help shape the direction of a performance, it has evolved to become a universal composing language for composers and artists off all disciplines and abilities.

The language continues to be developed through Thompson’s performances, international think tanks, and the contributions of a wide range of artists and educators. Soundpainting is now being used both professionally and in education in more than 35 countries around the world including; the United States, France, Canada, Australia, Czech Republic, China, Germany, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Japan, South Africa, Brazil, Uruguay, Montenegro, Guadeloupe, Argentina, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Nigeria, Switzerland, Turkey, and the Netherlands.

The New York Soundpainting Orchestra is comprised of many members of the Walter Thompson Orchestra and other professional musicians and performance artists in the New York area. NYSO Director Gil Selinger tours worldwide giving workshops and performances as a both a concert violincellist/improvisor and a Soundpainter/live composer.


While short and sweet by name, ZAHA presents a world of complex live compositions at every event. Past performances have ranged from Halloween film scores to a guerilla show in Times Square to an installation with human bowling pins. Director Evan Mazunik, now resident of Denver, CO, is a member of the Walter Thompson Orchestra, and has led ZAHA in shows throughout NYC and the east coast since 2006.

Brooklyn Soundpainting Company has been developing new performance and video projects since 2007, using a combination of text, music, dance, structured improvisation, and the adaptation of non-dramatic source materials such as popular music, YouTube videos, games, news stories, infomercials, interviews, scientific experiments, literary fiction, and essays.

LeeseEstablished in 1997, the Strike Anywhere Performance Ensemble is a permanent collective of jazz musicians, modern dancers, and actors. Performers collaborate through an ensemble-based process to create politically-charged, original works. Strike Anywhere’s mission is to promote empathy, freethinking and greater social awareness through provocative theatre and educational outreach. SA performances always feature live music, physical theater and modern dance. The company applies structures and concepts from American jazz to their inter-disciplinary improvisations to create performances that are provocative and alive. SA’s Founder/Soundpainter Leese Walker has been a core member of the Walter Thompson Orchestra since 1997 and was the first actress to be soundpainted. Strike Anywhere has appeared in Indonesia, France, Hawaii & England. National Venues include: B.A.M., P.S. 122, The Irondale Center, Theatre at St. Clements, Long Center (TX), Goethe Institut (Washington DC), Theatre Building Chicago, Bucknell University, Brown University, Penn State, Trinity College, KO Festival of Performance (MA), Catskill Festival of New Theatre (NY), Network of Ensemble Theatres Festival (ME, NC & CA) and the Fury Factory Festival (CA). Strike Anywhere has been featured on Radio France, NPR, WBAI, German Public Radio and U.S. and German television. This summer the company will perform a 2 week residency in Tours, France to create a large-scale, immersive Soundpainting in collaboration with the Tours Soundpainting Orchestra



The Brooklyn Soundpainting Ensemble has performed throughout New York in venues large and small, from Pete’s Candy Store to Brooklyn College.  In 2013, they collaborated with the Tours Soundpainting Orchestra in Battle of the Bees, a concert featuring artists mixing live bee sounds in performance.  BSE Director Dennis Shafer performs as a saxophonist and Soundpainter world-wide. This year, his projects will bring him to Paris, Rome, Talinn, and Boston for performances of new works for saxophone and Soundpainting.


For more information, visit Soundpainting.com and NYCSoundpainting.tumblr.com.

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