Los Angeles Times

soundarch

Ojai Festival opens with new shell
by Mark Swed
June 6, 2011

The Sound Arch is by Trimpin, a sculptor, inventor, instrument builder and composer. And it can literally put a startled spring in the step of anyone heading into the Bowl. The crown of the arch is an automated xylophone made up of 24 tuned metal rods, operated by mechanized mallets. An electronic eye senses when you walk under it, triggering a computer to play a pre-composed xylophonic ditty, which it seems to play just for you.

A library of works will eventually be collected (with composers being able to contribute online). To begin with, there are a handful of short pieces by an inventive 20-year-old Trimpin protégé from Ojai, Albert Behar, now studying in New York and already writing a string quartet for Kronos. One Sound Arch number, Behar’s “Stravinsky in Bali,” is a rollicking “Rite of Spring.”

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