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Die Winterreise: A Digital Reinvention

November 29, 2017 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

One event on December 1, 2017 at 8:00 pm

UNC’s Process Series presents

Die Winterreise: A Digital Reinvention

Performed by Professors Marc Callahan, Lee Weisert, and Sabine Gruffat
November 29 & December 1 at 8pm
UNC-Chapel Hill Campus, Swain Hall Studio 6
101 E. Cameron Avenue, Chapel Hill, NC

The Process Series tenth season continues on November 29 and December 1 with a look at how digital media can transform the musical journey in Franz Schubert’s Die Winterreise. In a collaborative experiment, digital media artist Sabine Gruffat and composer Lee Weisert will reinvent the musical selections during a live performance by baritone Marc Callahan. According to Lee Weisert, “This project seeks to extend the vivid, expressionistic imagery of Schubert and Müller’s 19th-century song cycle into an immersive multimedia environment.”

By sharing the same stage, these artists hope to draw inspiration from one another, giving the audience a new perspective on this iconic song cycle. Marc Callahan says, “After having performed these songs many times in concert, it is especially important for me to rework and reinvent these pieces—taking them far away from their original iterations—and finding a new voice, a new image, and a new soundscape to enhance their meaning.” Using a combination of biosignal sensors and facial recognition software, projected images will come to life over a harrowing, digitalized reinvention of this 19th century music.

Die Winterreise will be accompanied by the art installation Aura Retrieval Machine created by Professor Bill Brown. It can be viewed one hour before and after each show. It also can be viewed Friday, November 30, between 5pm and 7pm.

Artist Bios:

Marc Callahan (Assistant Professor), bass-baritone, is a native of Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin College where he studied with the renowned pedagogue Richard Miller. He holds a Master of Music degree from the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and a Doctor of Musical Arts in vocal performance and opera direction from the same institution. Dr. Callahan was also the recipient of the Rotary Scholarship from the Cincinnati Chapter, which allowed him to travel to France, where he earned a Diplôme Supérieur d’Exécution de Chant from the École Normale de Musique de Paris and a Diplôme d’Artiste Lyrique from the Schola Cantorum.

Lee Weisert is a composer of instrumental and electronic music and an associate professor in the Music Department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he teaches courses in composition, electronic music, and musicianship. Weisert’s recent music has incorporated increasingly disparate elements such as orchestral instruments, found sounds, field recordings, digital synthesis, and analog circuitry, in an attempt to find, “through experimentation, tinkering, and unconventional approaches, a ritualistic and deeply expressive world of sound” (Dan Lippel, New Focus Recordings). His instrumental music has been commissioned and performed by nationally recognized performers and ensembles including Stephen Drury, the Callithumpian Consort, ICE, JACK Quartet, Spektral Quartet, Wild Rumpus, Yarn/Wire, Matthew McClure, Clara Yang, and Joann Cho.

Sabine Gruffat is an artist who works with experimental video and animation, media-enhanced performance, participatory public art, and immersive installation. In this work, machines, interfaces, and systems constitute the language by which she codes the world. The creation of new ideas means inventing new tools, crossing analog and digital signals, or repurposing old machines to patch into new ones. By actively disrupting both current and outmoded technology, Gruffat questions standardized ways of understanding the world around us.  She is also a filmmaker with a special interest in the social and political implications of media and technology. Her experimental and essay films explore how technology, globalization, urbanism, and capitalism affect human beings and the environment.

Aura Retrieval Machine

As 16mm film follows the arc of its impending industrial obsolescence, its essential nature shifts. Once an archetypal medium of mechanical reproduction– the infinite reproducibility of the photographic image rendered material– 16mm film now grows more precious as its material conditions become increasingly precarious. Guided by a microcontroller and a sensor switch, the Aura Retrieval Machine is a digital/analog hybrid that attempts to restore to the mechanically reproduced image what Walter Benjamin calls its aura, the mark of its singular existence in time and space. Donated and deaccessioned 16mm film footage is automatically projected, then immediately shredded by a paper shredder. In the few short seconds between projection and destruction, the infinitely reproducible photographic object is rendered unique and valuable. The aura returns, just before the image vanishes forever.

Bill Brown, creator of Aura Retrieval Machine, is a media artist living in North Carolina, where he is an Associate Professor of Media Production at the University of North Carolina.


Wednesday, November 29, 8pm
, December 1, 8pm

Tickets: Admission is free, but if you would like to reserve a seat you can do so for a $5 donation. Go to to learn more.

About The Process Series: New Works in Development

Dedicated to the development of new and significant works in the performing arts, The Process Series features professionally-mounted, developmental presentations of new works in progress. The mission of the Series is to illuminate the ways in which artistic ideas take form, to examine the creative process, to offer audiences the opportunity to follow artists and performers as they explore and discover and by so doing to enrich the development process for artists with the ultimate goal of better art and a closer relationship between artists and audiences. The Series is a program of the Department of Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.




November 29, 2017
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm


UNC Chapel Hill Department of Communication
(919) 962-2311


Studio 6
101 E Cameron Ave
Chapel Hill, NC 27514 United States
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