Coming up in Philly music: New music, old visions

Network for New Music will explore steampunk, futures of the past, and more. (Creative Commons photo via

Are you a movie buff? A science fiction fan? A devotee of the Victorian fantasy genre commonly called “steampunk”? The Network for New Music (NNM) has the world premiere you’re looking for.

The Navigator is a multimedia work that combines music with visuals inspired by 1950s science-fiction sets, 19th-century astronomical illustrations, and “mythological scientific instruments.” It’s the latest entry in the Warp Whistle Project, a collaboration between visual artist Mary Laube and Philadelphia composer Paul Schuette. Laube and Schuette call The Navigator “an amalgamation of past representations of ideological futures” and a journey in which the chief priority is the voyage, not the destination.

NNM consistently produces satisfying concerts performed by veteran musicians who play with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and other mainstays of the Philadelphia classical music circuit. The Navigator will open a program featuring works that combine music with visual elements. The other items on the agenda include pieces in which the performers respond to scores with special graphics and Steve Reich’s 1982 “Vermont Counterpoint” for flute and tape accompanied by video. NNM's artistic director, Linda Reichert, reports that the musicians have been having fun preparing for a little “outside the box” performing.

The Network for New Music will present The Navigator on Sunday, January 21 at 3pm at Caplan Studio Theater at University of the Arts (211 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia). Advance tickets ($20; $15 for seniors and $10 for students) are available online. Tickets are $25, $20, and $10 at the door. Admission for UArts faculty and students is free. 

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