Barry Sharp

Composer and Musician



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Song Sessions (2018)

is an ongoing project with the New York City based Duo Helix. The piece started with our mutual interest in the notion of "to sing is to change" coined by biologist Katy Payne in her work on humpback whale songs and how they relate to music in the 1960s and 70s. Each time the whales sing, variations occur that alter the course of the song's development. Over time their collective song becomes something entirely new.  In collaboration with clarinetist Eric Umble and flutist Izzy Gleicher, we are creating a work that draws on the songs of humpback whales to form new improvisatory structures.

In use (2017)

is a performance art work for tuba and water. It is a ritual between the audience members and the performer.  The tubist plays concert B-flat over an over again, while audience members are invited to choose a cup, pour its contents into the instrument, and listen to the sound slowly change over time. The tuba's transformation is slow at first, but it eventually becomes permanently occupied by water. 

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Round (2017)

is an improvised performance piece for suspended cymbal and two performers with bows. The goal of the piece is to create drones through collaborative bowing. To maintain a given sound, the two performers have to be perfectly in sync and precise with their bowing. The two performers also must coordinate their movements while moving around the instrument. Round ends when both performers have made a complete pass around the instrument, and end where they began.

Hear me (2017)

was a collaborative project with architect Min Keun Park, the Cornell Chamber Orchestra, and Chris Kim (conductor). We created a piece where the string players were put in to pairs with one another and then spaced around the Johnson Museum of Art (across two floors). Each duo performed the same music, but at different times, creating a sort of wash of sound. There were benches placed around the museum where listeners could move around the space and listen in their own way. Hear me was part of the 2017 Cornell Council for the Arts Bienniel project "Empathies."