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Ellen Fullman & Theresa Wong


August 14, 2020

Harbors is a collaboration of composers Ellen Fullman (Long String Instrument) and Theresa Wong (cello), which draws inspiration from the soundscapes, stories and atmospheres that manifest around bodies of water that propagate exchange. Structured around the extended harmonics of the open strings of the cello, Wong and Fullman utilize subsets of these tonal areas to create distinct sonic environments within the piece.

Fullman’s Long String Instrument, a stunning installation of over forty strings spanning seventy feet in length, places the performers and audience inside the actual resonating body, transforming the architecture itself into the musical instrument. Wong has developed techniques that take the cello beyond tradition into a vocabulary more closely rooted in the sounds of the natural world. She captures material electronically, layering textures amplified throughout the space which form an immersive field where figure and ground are in constant flux.

The piece reveals an orchestration of shifting drones, aberrant melodies and glistening atmospheres. Harbors has reverberated many spaces around the world, including: Click Festival, Helsingør, Denmark; Transformer Station, Cleveland; MONA FOMA, Tasmania; Centennial Hall, Sydney Festival; The Lab, San Francisco; and Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.

Harbors was inspired by the foggy San Francisco bay during our residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts. Special thanks to all of the curators and producers who presented this work as we developed it through performance: Georg Rasmussen, Click Festival, Elsinore, Denmark (2015); Tom Welsh, Cleveland Museum of Art, Transformer Station (2015); Dena Beard, The Lab, San Francisco (2016); Shelly De Vito and James Porter, Les Moulins de Paillard, Poncé-sur-le-Loir (2016); Wendy Coutau and Anny Serrati, Dampfzentral, Bern, and ARCOOP, Geneva (2016); Kerry O’Brien, Nief-Norf Summer Festival, Knoxville (2017); Lawrence English, Australia tour, Sydney Festival, MONA FOMA, and the Substation Melbourne (2017). Special thanks to Perrin Meyer and Meyer Sound for the loan of a sound system for our recording session in Berkeley (2018).