Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble makes noise at Mattress Factory |

Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble makes noise at Mattress Factory

So what does a musical ostinato pattern have to do with a room full of polka dots and mirrored walls• Repetition.

The artistic medium is different, but the idea that’s being expressed is the same. Helping to illustrate this point Saturday at the Mattress Factory is the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, for the museum’s second annual “Art of Sound” family workshop.

“It’s sound and visual art and music,” says Jennifer Baron, education director at the Mattress Factory. “We’re going to be looking at color and depth in the works of James Turrell, Yayoi Kusama, Winnifred Lutz, and then some of the contemporary compositions by the New Music Ensemble.”

When families arrive, they’ll get a booklet that they’ll take to different exhibitions in the museum. Musicians from the ensemble will be stationed in or next to certain works, such as Kusama’s “Dots,” the room of mirrors and dots.

A percussionist will be in Turrell’s outdoor room – “Unseen Blue” – and a dancer will be in Lutz’s outdoor Garden, and other musicians are working with some of the smaller installations.

All the members of the New Music Ensemble will be participating Saturday, using performance to relate different concepts in visual art.

“I think that everyone perceives things differently. There are people that perceive aurally, with their ears, better than seeing things – visually,” says Jeffrey Nytch, managing director of the ensemble.

With the dancer – and a choreographer – the idea is expressing movement and space. Some of the musicians will focus on color.

“In music, we have a term called color as well, and one thing that’s great to explore with the kids – what do we mean when we talk about music color versus the color of painting?” Nytch says.

The kids can try out instruments and help to compose a song – the ensemble will perform a family concert, which also will include snippets of pieces in the ensemble’s repertoire this season.

Additional Information:


‘The Art of Sound’: Family Workshop

  • Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble with the Mattress Factory
  • 1 p.m. Sunday
  • $5
  • Mattress Factory
  • (412) 231-3169 or

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