Presented in collaboration with Buffalo Bayou Partnership, Unsilent Night is an annual holiday interactive cacophony. Experimental New York composer Phil Kline created this 43-minute composition written specifically to be heard outdoors during the month of December. It takes the form of a street promenade in which the audience becomes the performer. Each participant gets one of four tracks of music. When played together, all four tracks create a sound sculpture unique to each audience member’s perspective.
It all started in winter 1992, when Phil Kline had an idea for a public artwork in the form of a holiday caroling party. He composed a multi-track electronic piece that was 45 minutes long (the length of one side of a cassette tape), invited a few dozen friends who gathered in Greenwich Village, gave each person a boombox with one of four tapes in it, and instructed everyone to hit PLAY at the same time. What followed was a sound unlike anything they had ever heard before: an evanescence filling the air, reverberating off the buildings and city streets as the crowd walked a pre-determined route. Phil says: “In effect, we became a city-block-long stereo system.”
Since 1992, it has been presented worldwide in 101 cities and four continents, drawing thousands of participants. To learn more about the history of Unsilent Night, click here.
For more information about the Mitchell Center’s past Unsilent Night, see past events.