composer • educator

 

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Much of composer Carolyn O’Brien’s work is inspired by kinetic sculpture, absurdist theatre, visual art, vaudeville, silent film, dance, jazz, and folk music. She uses her academic training to rigorously create formal structures that allow for tactile childlike exploration with the musical material, often sounding as if the music is ricocheting off predetermined walls, ceilings and floors. Accessibility to all levels of listener, ranging from children to the most musically educated adult, has always been a priority in her work, which is heavily influenced by her previous career as a public school music educator. O’Brien's current work is focused on creating evening-length, non-stop shows, connecting new music with dance, set design, sound sculptures, unconventional instrumentation such as music boxes and antique musical toys, theatrical elements with some performers seldom seen in the “art music” tradition, and the inclusion of audience members in quasi-improvisatory pieces and post-concert exploration.