Sarah was ninety years old by Adinda van ’t Klooster

Sarah was ninety years old, 2004

This interactive performance was developed in collaboration with the music department of Gloucester Cathedral during a one-year residency there. There were two key influences in this piece:

1) Olivier Messiaen a composer working in the early 20th century, who had a rare form of synaesthesia, causing him to see colours with his music.

2) A piece of music called Sarah was Ninety Years Old by Arvo Pärt based on a biblical story about a woman (Sarah) who gave birth at the age of 90.

Using Arvo Pärt's musical score as a starting point, Adinda van 't Klooster created a visual storyboard to coincide with the music, based on the individual qualities of the voices and instruments and the musical structure of the score She then worked with programmers Martin Robinson and David Stevens who used Max/MSP and Jitter to create the interface that would translate the music into the animated graphicsof Adinda's storyboard. Each singer and instrument had a microphone linked to the computer so that the slightest change in volume or pitch became 'visually audible'. The resulting animated video was a mixture of obstetrical images, minimal abstract elements and changing colour fields. During the performance the audience members were seated in the Slype facing a large projection screen and the musicians were spread throughout the cloisters behind them. The video projection was thus created live by the computer and the musicians.

Participating musicians: Simon Kirk (Organist and musical director), Emma Walsche (Soprano), Peter Morton (Tenor) ,Ralph Barlow(Tenor), Sophie Walters (percussion)


Sarah was Ninety Years Old (generative graphics) from Adinda van 't Klooster on Vimeo.

The half hour animated graphical score thus created during this performance was subsequently given to ten different music collectives to be improvised to. For more information on this part of the project go to: linesandcolours