Austin Symphony Orchestra Celebrates 100th Anniversary

The Austin Symphony Orchestra celebrated its 100th year anniversary by inviting its hometown Texas city to experience a new sound and light event: "Into the Light."

It was the extravagant after-show of the symphony’s centennial concert at the Long Center for the Performing Arts. Patrons spilled out onto the terrace while citizens gathered on the adjoining lawn to enjoy a spectacle created by Tim Grivas and Jan Bozarth, partners in the Austin event experience company yodayoda.

High End Systems lighting and control featured prominently in the design. Performing along to music were 22 SHOWPIX pixelation luminaires, 9 intellaspots and 10 Studio Color 575 automated wash luminaires. A Road Hog Full Boar and DP8000 controlled the entire rig.

The yodayoda team scripted the musical score by editing snippets from the Austin Symphony’s recorded classical pieces to cue with the light display. A recorded narration by Austin Symphony conductor Peter Bay spoke to the crowds, pointing out musical highlights of the symphony’s history.

"Lighting the building itself was a big challenge," Grivas said. "Topping off the all glass front of the Long Center were green multi-shaded tiles. Not lighting friendly. Glass reflected light and colors could take on a green shift from the tile."

Luckily a structure called the compression ring around the side of the building was the light saver. The white structure served as an architectural canvas for the intellaspots’ gobo and animation content, while the Studio Colors easily painted the pillars.

To lighten up the building’s darkness, yodayoda designed a 21-foot high by 110-foot wide wall shaped like a pyramid out of scaffolding, and within its shelves installed 22 SHOWPIX. The LED graphic display fixtures initially reflected onto the glass behind them, before turning around to stimulate the eyes of the audience – both up close on the terrace and out on the lawn.

"The SHOWPIX were fantastic for washing the building. More importantly, the energy from the stock content was perfect for the chosen audio tracks," Grivas said. "We did not need strobes as the SHOWPIX were extremely bright already. The compression ring really took to the intellaspots? gobo animations, which they do quite well. The Studio Colors are classic industry workhorses and continue to work well doing washes indoors and out."

Grivas chose the Road Hog Full Boar console for control. "I could have used any Wholehog OS console as long as it had MIDI. The Wholehog OS is what it’s all about. I prefer the Full Boar. The touch screen response is great and it’s all in one package, easier to set up."

Because yodayoda expected the cueing to be intense, they brought in Brad Schiller to help program. That enabled Grivas to focus on the big picture and on show control, while Schiller could focus on programming to make the cues happen.

"There were only two nights to program the 12-minute show. I knew there would be many cues as the music was extremely complicated," Grivas said. "The lighting cues were specific, so I used the SAM show control software to fire off the cue intensive looks to accompany the violin flurries and so on."

Said Jan Bozrath, "Into the Light was designed to be a gift to the patrons of the symphony as well as to the city of Austin. It turned out to be a successful snapshot of the symphony’s 100 year history and was well received by all."

Yodayoda created the entire event, including contracting of the gear from Austin’s Olden Lighting. Grivas and Bozrath created their first yodayoda experience event during the past holidays with "Flipped on Christmas." Set up in a festival theater in the park, the nine-day event mixed a similar fusion with scripted holiday music and a delight to the eyes with SHOWPIX, SHOWGUNs, intellaspots and more High End Systems products. Austin’s mayor took such a shine to it, he proclaimed the nine days before Christmas as official "Flipped on Christmas" days for the City of Austin.

[Photo courtesy of Greg di Donato]


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