The Johns Hopkins Gazette: March 3, 2003
March 3, 2003
VOL. 32, NO. 24


Classical Music to Meet Digital Artistry in HSO Performance

By Amy Cowles

Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

The Hopkins Symphony Orchestra takes a trip back to the future on Sunday, March 9, opening its spring 2003 season with "Coming to Life," a multimedia performance marrying classical music with 21st-century digital visual artistry. The performance will be at 3 p.m. in Shriver Hall Auditorium on the Homewood campus.

Music director Jed Gaylin will lead the orchestra in a performance that will be dramatically enhanced by digital images created in real time on laptop computers by digital media performer Joseph Reinsel, a composer who teaches classes and workshops at Homewood's Digital Media Center, and visual and animation artist James Gillispie, an award-winning student painter at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

The performance will open with the world premiere of City of God: Prelude by Robert Sirota, director of the Peabody Institute. Sirota's composition will be followed by Copland's Appalachian Spring and Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 (Eroica). While the orchestra plays, real-time digital graphics will be projected onto two large scrims. The goal is to synthesize the two art forms through the spontaneity of live performance.

"In film, the music highlights the action on screen, but in this performance, the roles are reversed," Gaylin says. "The visual element will now adjust to the spontaneity of the performance, and thus the imagery will support and comment upon the sonic landscape."

Joseph Reinsel's work has been performed in numerous places on the East Coast, and he performs his own compositions around northeastern United States. Reinsel has master's degrees in music composition and music technology from Radford University and in electronic arts from iEAR Studios at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His studies evolved from his work in Los Angeles with film composers. Reinsel is completing a new video and sound performance environment constructed with help from the 2002 artist-in-residence program at Harvestworks Digital Media Center.

James Gillispie is a senior majoring in painting with a concentration in digital art at Maryland Institute College of Art and is the son of a classical pianist. He has been involved with other collaborative projects, including a permanent mural installation in the family division at the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse in Baltimore and set design for the feature-length film The Instrument, with Princeton University.

Tickets for "Coming to Life" are $9 for the general public; $7, senior citizens, students and Johns Hopkins affiliates with ID.; free for Johns Hopkins students with ID. Family discounts are available. Call 410-516-6542, e-mail or visit for tickets and more information.

Portions of "Coming to Life" will be presented the previous day, Saturday, March 8, in Shriver Hall, in the HSO's 11th annual children's concert. The 45-minute program will include multimedia selections, explanations about the sights and sounds of an orchestra and a participatory conducting lesson. To request a ticket, which is free, call 410-516-6542 or write to

Financial support has been provided by the Dodge Foundation. The Hopkins Symphony Orchestra is also supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.