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REDCAT pesents KarmetiK Machine Orchestra's 'Samsara,' featuring special guest artist and MacArthur Fellow Trimpin

Musicians, Dancers, Animators & Robotic Instruments Unite for an Evening of Ancient Morality Tales Retold in the Technologically Ingenious 21st Century

"KarmetiK Machine Orchestra mark[s] a giant leap toward a future when we might go to concerts to hear machines play." —Newsweek

LOS ANGELES, CA — REDCAT presents the world premiere of KarmetiK Machine Orchestra's Samsara, a musical event directed by Ajay Kapur and Michael Darling featuring fantastic robotic instruments performing musical interpretations of several traditional Indian fables drawn from the Panchatantra and the Jataka Tales. Performances will be held at REDCAT, the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater, Thursday, April 12, 2012 and Friday, April 13, 2012.

A preview of music's future, the KarmetiK Machine Orchestra brings together robotic instruments with human performers using modified instruments and unique human computer interfaces. The orchestra's performances combine high-tech interpretations of world music on modified traditional instruments and original experimental compositions performed on one-of-a-kind robotic instruments.

For Samsara, brilliant musicmakers are allied with robotic instruments in this paradigm-shifting performance that invokes "samsara"—the Sanskrit concept of the cycle of birth, life, death, and reincarnation. Pulling inspiration from these ancient morality tales, the interdisciplinary and international creative team combines music, dance, theatre, and technology to extend the boundaries of these traditional fables, using musicians, electro-mechnical instruments, dancers, and multiple speakers dispersed in and around the audience.

"We're combining ancient traditions of dance and music with the most futuristic technology," comments Machine Orchestra director, Ajay Kapur. "Students working in CalArts' Machine Lab work with custom-built robotic instruments developed to interact with humans—so the musicians and dancers can improvise with the robots. This is combined into a total work of theater where the interplay among the animation, dancers, musicians and the machines on stage combines to convey the story: Samsara."

Under the direction of composer/robotics engineer Ajay Kapur and sculptor/theater designer Michael Darling, this unique performance features an international ensemble of interdisciplinary performers that includes interactive electronic performers Curtis Bahn and Tomie Hahn, choreographer Raakhi Kapur, animator Jason Jahnke and the legendary kinetic sculptor and musician Trimpin.

A 1997 recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, Trimpin is a Seattle-based, world-renowned sound artist, kinetic sculptor, engineer, musician, composer, and inventor. With a longstanding relationship to California Institute of the Arts as an artist-in-residence and as the recipient of an honorary doctoral degree in May 2010, Samsara marks Trimpin's first appearance at REDCAT, CalArts' downtown center for innovative visual, performing and media arts.

The KarmetiK Machine Orchestra is a project of the Music Technology: Interaction, Intelligence and Design (MTIID) program at CalArts' Herb Alpert School of Music, and the School of Theater's Technical Direction Program.

The artists are available for interview. To request an interview, additional information, media or images, please contact Diana Wyenn at 213 237-2873 or dwyenn@calarts.edu.

Tickets and More Information

KarmetiK Machine Orchestra
Thursday, April 12 & Friday, April 13 at 8:30 pm
Tickets: $20 general ($16 students)

Seating is general admission and tickets are available for purchase in person at REDCAT Box Office, by phone at 213-237-2800, or online at redcat.org.

REDCAT | Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater
631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

REDCAT is located at the corner of W. 2nd and Hope Streets, inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex in downtown Los Angeles.

Additional Links


The Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) is an interdisciplinary contemporary arts center for innovative visual, performing and media arts located in downtown Los Angeles inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex. Through performances, exhibitions, screenings, and literary events, REDCAT introduces diverse audiences, students and artists to the most influential developments in the arts from around the world, and gives artists in this region the creative support they need to achieve national and international stature. REDCAT continues the tradition of the California Institute of the Arts, its parent organization, by encouraging experimentation, discovery and lively civic discourse.

Media Contact

Diana Wyenn
Media Relations and Promotions Manager, REDCAT
213 237-2873

Last edited by dthatt on Mar 27, 2012
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