1. Richness or significance, especially in evoking an association or strong emotion.

2. Intensification and prolongation of sound, especially of a musical tone, produced by sympathetic vibration.

by Lee Zimmerman (7-17-10)

This is a proposal to create a visual performance to resonate with the aural performance of the Rose Ensemble at a concert.

I am a painter. I paint large panels of silk with dyes, in front of an audience. I am on one side of the silk panel while the audience is on the other side. When I paint, the dyes flow through the fabric and the audience doesn't see me but does see the patterns being created. The resulting silk painting looks like a stain glass window. You will find a video of one of my performances HERE.

The silk painting for the performance would be created live, in a church, on an eight foot by five foot panel of silk, during the Rose Ensemble Concert.

The initial visual element of the painting would suggest at the preparation, learning and research that goes into the creation of the concert. The painting would continue by incorporating the images pulled from the songs being sung. By the end of the concert, the painting would include aspects of the Rose Ensemble's performance in the sacred setting.

The final image would be a resonant echo of the concert experience.

Performance Description:

My part of the performance would begin by mimicking the staff and notes of a song manuscript in black and white. Beginning with a slow song, I would paint in the notes as they are sung. By the end of the concert, the original music staff would virtually disappear into the colors.

After this beginning, over several songs, I would create images of the Rose Ensemble people, their interesting instruments, and hint at the sacred nature of the space where the concert is taking place. The musicians of the Rose Ensemble would flow around the outside of the central image, forming a frame.

The center part of the painting would be filled with images gathered from the songs. So for example, if the focus of the concert were The Spanish Court of Ferdinand and Isabel (a Nochebuena: Music from The Golden Age of Spain), the central part of the image would be of the royal court with dancing couples and other motifs taken from that time period.


The complexity of the silk painting performance would take a minimum of twenty minutes to complete. The dyes used, are specially designed for silk fibers. After the performance the resulting painting must be steam set. This takes about three to four hours. Once set, the dyes are permanent and the painting becomes washable and light fast - ready for framing. More information about silk, silk painting, framing and care of the artwork can be found HERE.

During the performance, I will only paint when there is music being played. I will pause between songs and at any times where the audience attention should be focused on an individual part or person. This would be determined by the director.

At the performance I would need a footprint on the stage of about 6ft by 6ft. This would contain my free standing frame and lighting. I would also need acces to an electrical outlet to supply the dim lighting built into the frame. The frame would present an 8ft by 5ft blank white area to the audience.

I would need at least two weeks notice to be incorporated into a concert, a copy of some music manuscript, access to at least one rehearsal, four hours of set up time in the concert space, and one hour of breakdown time after. My frame is portable and can be driven easily. Also given a day, I can reconstruct the frame at the remote site very cheaply.


Other Possibilities:

Silk and dyeing silk has a very long history that is bound intimately with human history. The Byzantine Empire, which existed from 300ad to 1450ad, was powered by silk production. This empire was filled with the blazing glory of humanity throughout the "dark ages". The Byzantine Empire also encompasses a strange mixture of the orient, roman and greek culture, early christianity and paganism. For example, in Ravenna Italy, a city locked into about 500ad, it is possible to see a christian baptistry with pagan shrines or a mosaic depicting both a bearded and non-bearded Jesus.

The following is purely speculative. If the Rose ensemble were to tour Europe, as a part of that tour, they might sing at the Ravenna Festival. Given a long enough timeline and guidance, I might secure funding (McKnight Fellowship or Jerome Foundation) to tour with the Rose Ensemble as part of their European program - leaving a wake of large silk paintings across Europe and northern Italy. It is my dream to paint within the sanctuary of Saint Vitales, under the brilliant mosaics of Justinian and Theodora, surrounded by Byzantine Music.