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Program Note

Stained Glass

for vibraphone and electronic sound

by Reginald Bain

Stained Glass (2014) for vibraphone and electronic sound was written for percussionist Connor Bain. It was inspired by Russian/French artist Marc Chagall’s American Windows (1977), six stained glass panels installed at the Art Institute of Chicago that commemorate America’s bicentennial. Chagall's work serves as the gateway to the museum’s modern wing and its panels celebrate our country’s dedication to religious and artistic freedom. Chagall's depiction of symbols from music, theatre, painting, dance and literature are presented in vivid color against an almost overwhelming background sea of blue color. The composer uses microtonal symmetry-breaking processes in order to achieve analogous coloristic effects in the musical domain.

The world premiere was given on April 2, 2014 at the USC Computer Music Concert under Google Glass control. The Glass interface was programmed by the performer, a member of USC's ARENA (Arena for Research on Emerging Networks and Applications) group directed by Dr. Srihari Nelakuditi. The purchase of Glass was funded by USC's Magellan Scholar undergraduate research program.

Marc Chagall, American Windows (1977), detail
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Updated: March 13, 2017