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"Tropos" for chamber orchestra and EEG premieres

The piece "Tropos" incorporates real-time EEG visualisation of a performer (me on drumkit) in an orchestra setting. Pictured above is the 2nd performance of Sinfonietta Riga's program "From rock arena to concert hall" in Ventspils, Latvijas Koncertzale.

Data streamed live from an EEG device attached to my head was used to generate a visual representation of my brainwaves as the piece unfolds. A composer's emotions are a raging firestorm during a performance of one's own work. I was curious as to whether this would be visible in the bio-signal from the brain. I was also curious to exploit the different noise levels when sitting still and listening closely for my entrance, and while playing the drums.

The visualisation was created by my dear friend and artistic mentor Mārtiņš Dāboliņš. He sat a few

meters from me in the orchestra, so as to be within USB cable range, and controlled the visual output.

Martins and I, at the end of the 2nd performance.

I would like to include here a brief program note concerning the work, as it is not all about new-fangled EEG tech:

Tropos is a Greek word meaning 'a turning towards'. In English, it is the root of the word tropism, referring to the tendency for the structure of plants to turn towards the sun (phototropism) or for the roots of plants to grow towards the sound of water (phonotropism). The intention of the music is to describe this turning towards the source of life. The shape of every tree is a manifestation of individual struggles to reach for life in every condition, climate or soil.

In this way, I hoped the EEG visualisation would serve as a depiction of the normally hidden inner struggle towards perfection.

Here below is a little segment from Latvian television about the concert:


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