Ochre With

The 2005 ISCM World Music Days, held this year in Zagreb, in conjunction with the Music Biennale Zagreb, played host to an audio installation by Canadian-American composer and sound artist Eric Marty. Marty’s Ochre With represented the US in this year’s festival, which took place from April 15 – April 24 in the Croatian City.

Eric Marty is an Athens based composer and sound artist, and winner of several international awards, including the 1998 Stauffer prize from the Canada Council for the Arts, the 2004 ALEA III International Composition Prize, and a fellowship from the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Germany for the year 2006. 

The first World Music Days were held in 1923 in Salzburg, and have been held every year since (except during World War II). Organized by the ISCM (the International Society for Contemporary Music), the World Music Days Festival is one of the world’s most important venues for contemporary music. This year’s World Music Days featured the music of 79 composers from 37 countries. 

The Music Biennale Zagreb (held every two years since 1961 in the former Yugoslavian city of Zagreb) played an important role during the Cold War in bringing together music of the East and West. In its first years, the Kremlin and the State Department both financed delegations to the Yugoslavian festival, which welcomed the Bolshoi Ballet and Moscow Philharmonic, the Berlin and Hamburg Operas, and composers Igor Stravinsky and John Cage. Today, the Biennale continues to be an important component of the European festival circuit.

Marty’s installation, Ochre With, was supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and by ICE. The interactive work is a sound environment featuring flocks of ethereal, bird-like sounds flying about the audience in three dimensions. A computer hears the audience walking through the exhibition space and alters the behavior of the sound environment in response to what it hears. Ochre With was also exhibited in 2003 at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center. 

Ochre With belongs to a series of works called the With Triptychs, a series which includes three works for orchestra, three works for piano and three sound installations. Liquid With, an orchestral work from the series, won a Morton Gould award from ASCAP. That work and three others from the series were funded by the Canada Council for the Arts. 

Eric Marty was born in 1969 in San Francisco, and studied composition in Montreal, Canada and Berkeley, California. He has taught at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, The University of California at Berkeley, and now teaches sound art, music theory, and interactive performance at the University of Georgia.