Artful amalgam

Collage Concert combines artists, designers, musicians and dancers for fast-paced medley

Music and fine art don't lie too far apart on the artistic spectrum.

But it's no easy task bringing together young composers and visual artists at the university level. Class scheduled don't jibe, curriculum objectives don't mesh and it's more work for the instructors.


Special to the Journal-World

This still image of a woman in a car was captured from a student-created video titled "Public/private."

But that doesn't mean the desire to collaborate doesn't exist. In fact, Kansas University art professor Maria Velasco and music professor Kip Haaheim found a way to make it happen last spring.

Velasco's installation art students teamed up with Haaheim's electroacoustic composition students to create videos that combine imagery -- sometimes beautiful, sometimes haunting -- and soundscapes built with both instrumentation and natural and mechanical sounds.

The resulting products perfectly encapsulate the theme of KU's annual Collage Concert: creating an artistic composition from a fusion of media and genres.

Excerpts from the four videos will be played during the concert, which is set for 7 p.m. Friday at the Lied Center. A silent auction and reception will be after the performance at 8:30 p.m.

Past Event

Collage Concert

  • Friday, September 10, 2004, 7 p.m.
  • Lied Center, 1600 Stewart Drive, KU campus, Lawrence
  • All ages / $7 - $10


It takes students and faculty from each of the school's three departments -- art, design, and music and dance -- to make possible the fast-paced, 90-minute concert. It's the only time all year the departments collaborate for one show.

Proceeds from the concert benefit the School of Fine Arts, while funds from the silent auction go to the Fine Arts Educational Enhancement Fund, which supports travel costs for students to compete in national exhibitions and competitions.

On the cutting edge

Velasco and Haaheim had been talking about combining forces for awhile, but the timing wasn't right until last spring, when their classes happened to overlap. Students were charged with generating a theme, shooting raw video, manipulating it using editing software and then creating a score to accompany the images.

Each of the four videos is drastically different.

"For example, one of the groups focused on dead things," Haaheim says. "They found some skeletons and they found some other things in various stages of decay. ... It's actually quite beautiful.

"They took this subject that we normally think is not so touchy-feely and turned it into something that's really quite compelling."

Another group took a more socially conscious track with a piece about same-sex relationships, in which the students played ambiguous roles.

"It seems like a typical love story of a heterosexual couple, and then at the end you realize that it is a man loving a man and a woman loving a woman," Velasco says.

Aside from being an interesting exercise in new experience, the project exposed students to what's cutting edge in the fields of art and composition.

"Video is current, and we need to stay up with current vocabularies that are present in the visual arts," Velasco says. "Being able to deal with the dimension of sound and time is just very innovative. Students learn that they can manipulate the dimension of time to create, just as they do with other materials that we are more used to."

A lot of the music was heavily process with computers, Haaheim explains.

"They would record sounds of, say, traffic noises and then modify the sounds and isolate things and then use them more musically. They would create a drum beat out of car sounds or ... the sounds of knives and forks," he says.

On the program

In addition to the video excerpts by Velasco's and Haaheim's students, the Collage Concert lineup includes:

  • "Times Line," by Scott Wendholdt, arranged by Dan Gailey, performed by the KU Jazz Ensemble
  • "Rise Up, My Love," by Eleanor Daley, performed by the KU Women's Chorale
  • "Bugler's Holiday," by Leroy Anderson, performed by the KU Symphony Orchestra
  • "Histoire du Tango," by Astor Piazzolla, transcribed by Claude Voirpy, performed by the KU Saxophone Quartet
  • "Sing Joyfully," by William Byrd, performed by the KU Chamber Choir
  • "Ride," by Sam Hazo, performed by the KU Wind Ensemble
  • "My Country," arranged by Paul Tucker, performed by the KU Men's Glee Club
  • "Head Talk," by Mark Ford, performed by the KU Percussion Ensemble
  • "Drifting Along with the Tide," performed by Rachel Moses, excerpt from University Dance Company's spring 2004 concert
  • A video featuring new art faculty member So Yeon Park
  • Student video segments selected from KU's introductory video classes
  • "Down Among the Dead Men," performed by Matt Abbick, Royce Matthews, James Horton, Michael Ingle, Meggi Sweeney and Carly Fox, excerpt from the University Dance Company's spring 2004 concert
  • Excerpts from the 2004 season, performed by the KU Marching Jayhawks


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