During the 5-year run of the hit scifi series Babylon 5, composer Christopher Franke wrote a unique and original score for every episode. A Synclavier music computer, a Waveframe work station and digital recording are his tools of the trade. To find out more about this composer, log on to www.sonicimages.com.
BALLET MECANIQUE was composed in 1924, by George Antheil, a young American composer living in Paris. It calls for a percussion orchestra of three xylophones, four bass drums, and a tam-tam (gong); two "live" pianists; seven electric bells, a siren, and three airplane propellors; and 16 synchronized player pianos. It was never performed during Antheil's lifetime, and in fact it was never performed in its full orchestration until 1999, because there was no way of coordinating 16 player pianos until MIDI compatible electric player pianos became available. To find out more about this remarkable piece, visit www.antheil.org.
According to a new national study by Chorus America, nearly 28.5 million adults and children regularly perform in choral groups in the U. S., more than any other art form. One or more adults in 15.6 percent of households in America performed in at least one chorus, and of those, almost 45 percent performed with more than one chorus. The study also estimates the number of choruses in the U.S. to be 250,000. For details on this study, see the Chorus America website, www.chorusamerica.org .
Another interesting development: drum and bugle corps. Originally a type of military band, they have evolved into a form of marching band, sometimes with 100-200 members, performing highly complex musical and precision marching shows. Competitions are held during warm weather months. For more information, try Drum Corps International: www.dci.org.