Musicians perform and put on free workshop at art centre in Powell River

Discarded BC wood reborn through music

MAGIK is the name of a musical performance coming to The Art Centre in Powell River next week, and it is a word that aptly describes the sounds created, according to one of its performers, cellist Marina Hasselberg.

“It’s just a very magical thing,” she said of the mostly improvised performance that employs cello, percussion and electro-acoustic sound resonated and diffused through panels of reclaimed BC wood.

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“It’s a gorgeous quality of sound and also it looks beautiful,” she added. “It’s so special to be surrounded by those panels.”

The resonant woods are the creation of composer and conductor Giorgio Magnanensi. Originally from Bologna, Italy, he is now based in Roberts Creek. They were built using large western red cedar, Sitka spruce and Pacific Coast maple boards reclaimed from discarded piles of wood in mill operations and drifting ocean logs on the Sunshine Coast. After being sliced and smoothly shaped, they are planed and sanded to thin them down to a thickness ranging between 2/16” and 1/4” and mounted on a stabilizer wood stand.

An amplifier drives the sound into audio transducers applied to the rear of each panel, transforming the surface of the wood boards into a distributed-mode loudspeaker. Each piece of wood produces different sounds.

“The resonators work as speakers or amplifiers,” said Hasselberg. “They have a little transducer in the back and then [the sound] spreads through the wood.”

Magnanensi said he invited Hasselberg and Loewen to join him in performance last year. 

“We decided to try to get together as a trio and play with the resonators as our unique sound diffusion system,” added Magnanensi. “We started working and playing together and are developing more materials while doing so.”

The group was approached by Donna Lytle, one of the The Art Centre’s board members, who was able to secure a Canada Council for the Arts grant for them to bring eight of the resonators to Powell River, where they will perform and present a free community workshop, said  Magnanensi.

Hasselberg said another unique aspect of the musician’s work is that it brings together a diverse group. 

“It’s three very different people who came together one year ago; Kenton is Canadian, Giorgio is Italian and I’m Portuguese, so it brings all these cultures together,” she added. “Often you have a band where everyone is the same age and from the same town. It’s just a very unusual project and it’s so rich.” 

MAGIK il fuoco e l’artificio (the fire and the artifice) takes place at 8 pm on Tuesday, August 13, at The Art Centre, 215-6975 Alberni Street above Powell River Public Library. The Rizonanze sound workshop is on the same day at the same location starting at 4 pm.

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