As arts residencies go, American Modern Opera Company’s visit to Harvard was determinedly interactive — not to mention just plain active.
A dozen members of the company spent nine days on campus during “Run AMOC!,” participating in more than a dozen events with more than 20 organizations. There were open rehearsals and workshops, public performances, a showcase for a recently discovered opera, and jam sessions with students from almost all of the Houses.
“We especially wanted the time in the Houses to be creative working moments that were truly two-way dialogues. We wanted people to actively engage,” said AMOC managing director Jennifer Chen ’11, who started the company last year with Matthew Aucoin ’12 and Zack Winokur.
Three days into the late-winter residency, the co-founders joined six other members of the troupe for an impromptu show at Pforzheimer House. Held in the Holmes Room with lights dimmed, the session began with duets from Claude Debussy and Anton Webern performed by Coleman Itzkoff and Conor Hanick (“Sonata for Cello and Piano in D minor,” “Three Little Pieces, Opus 11”), followed by violinist Keir GoGwilt ’13 and violist Miranda Cuckson pairing up to perform Georg Philipp Telemann’s “Intrada Suite,” based on “Gulliver’s Travels.” Itzkoff returned for a cello solo from Pēteris Vasks’ “Das Buch.”
Aucoin then invited students to participate in creating “a sonic atmosphere” around contemporary composer Pauline Oliveros’ “The Witness,” a piece marked by a set of parameters for improvisation. Some used traditional instruments while others tapped a music stand or made thwacking sounds with a belt.