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Dallas Symphony composer-in-residence Angélica Negrón creates music on unconventional instruments: houseplants

Angélica Negrón says writing her piece, "Cooper and "Emma," was like scoring a Mickey Mouse film.
Quique Cabanillas
/
courtesy of the artist
Angélica Negrón will perform at the Women in Classical Music Symposium Tuesday at the Meyerson Symphony Center.

Curious how a plant would sound if you could play it like an instrument?

Find out on Tuesday when the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s composer-in-residence, Angélica Negrón, shares an installation harnessing the secret sounds of houseplants.

In conjunction with the Women in Classical Music Symposium, the Meyerson’s lobby will host a chamber concert curated by Negrón, featuring performances by Negrón and DSO musicians. The showcase includes an exciting and diverse collection of work by seven leading contemporary female composers, including—but not limited to—Pulitzer Prize winner Tania León, the iconic Julia Wolfe and Negrón herself.

In addition to her live ensemble work, “Espacios, objetos, sonidos y tiempo (2020)” for flute, percussion, piano, cello and electronics, Negrón will share an installation of her plant music. Past pieces like “Sembrar,” use houseplants to reconnect with the sounds and memories of growing up in Puerto Rico. Hooked up to biofeedback sensors, the plants’ leaves and stems produce frequencies when touched. Those tonal shifts run through a special synthesizer and pair with field recordings of birds, wind and other electronic reminders of the lush, breezy island where she grew up. The result is a composition unlike any other, where Negrón’s natural world is brought to life, creating its own symphony.

The composer will also join Arts Access reporter Elizabeth Myong at the Symposium on Tuesday afternoon for a free discussion called "The Burden of Breaking Through: Power Structures and Paths to Progress." Vocalist Katherine Goforth and conductor Sarah Ioannides will also participate.

DETAILS

  • Join Angélica Negrón and DSO musicians for a performance in the lobby of the Meyerson (2301 Flora St.) on Tuesday, November 8, from 7:30 - 8:30 p.m. Tickets cost $30. Visit Dallassymphony.org.
  • “The Burden of Breaking Through: Power Structures and Paths to Progress” takes place from 1:45 to 3:15 p.m. at the Meyerson Symphony Center. Attendance is free and open to the public. Click here to register.
Jamie Laughlin is a freelance writer based in Dallas.