Glass Armonica performance in Williamsburg

Glass Armonica

Performance by Cecilia Brauer

Friday December 9, 8 PM

The WAH Center is proud to announce a very special performance by glass armonica player Cecilia Brauer on Friday, December 9 at 8pm, following the opening of the exhibition Glass & Thread.

A unique and rare instrument invented by Benjamin Franklin, the glass armonica consists of a series of glass bowls on a rotating dowel played with wet fingers. The glass armonica works on the same principle as singing wine glasses but allows the musician to easily play simultaneous tones, resulting in beautiful harmonies. Due to the mechanics of the instrument, the sound is often slow, sustained, and haunting and can reach incredibly high and low pitches. During the mid-1800s, people began attributing the glass armonica’s music with the power to induce madness, a belief that contributed to its eventual decline in popularity. Only a handful of glass armonica players still exist the world over.  It has an almost anachronistic sound, more like a synthesizer than a colonial instrument, and there has been a revived interest since the 1980s. Contemporary artists such as Bjork and Pink Floyd have incorporated the glass armonica’s ethereal voice in their music.

Cecilia Brauer has been an associate member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for almost 40 years, where she plays the piano, celeste, and glass armonica; she has been playing the glass armonica since 1991. Ms. Brauer recently returned from the Met Japan Tour, playing the celesta and the glass armonica for La Bohéme, Don Carlo, and Lucia di Lammermoor. In a more mainstream endeavor, she worked on the soundtrack for the 1994 movie Interview with the Vampire.

This concert will be an intimate performance in the spirit of the salon setting in which the instrument was traditionally played. Ms. Brauer’s performance will span colonial, classical, and contemporary music, including a special arrangement of Carol of the Bells and scores written specifically for glass armonica. Ms. Brauer will also give a brief talk about the history of the instrument and answer questions after the performance.

The performance will take place on the 3rd floor of the WAH Center.
Admission: $8