“Creating integrated visuals and audio for a large-scale orchestral/choral performance, ‘Peacemakers: A Filmic Oratorio'”


Media & Studio Arts Symposium

Inventing Oneself Through Art and Technology

Creating integrated visuals and audio for a large-scale orchestral/choral performance, ‘Peacemakers: A Filmic Oratorio’

February 21, 2020 | 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Mike Halerz

Description: In 2016, James Aikman (composer) and Mike Halerz (visual + sonic artist) were commissioned by the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra to create “Peacemakers: A Filmic Oratorio”— a 90 minute work for orchestra, choir, children’s choir, visuals, narrator, and soloists (inc. voice, sitar, saxophone, piano). The piece’s ten movements showcase historical figures who spent their lives fighting, and often dying, for peace.

Working collaboratively with the composer and the ICO, Mike orchestrated the visuals and narration (feat. the world-renowned vocalist George Shirley), working from a combination of notes, scores, MIDI files, and audio recordings. He produced all the original animation and video footage; researched, acquired, and edited all the historical photos and video footage; and edited and mastered pre-recorded audio components throughout. The result is an experience where the music, visuals, and performance are well-integrated and vary stylistically from one movement to the next — the visuals are often treated as a soloist and include abstract animation that reacts visually to the audio, historic footage and photos that reveal the humanity of their subject, and original footage of scenes meant to evoke a mood or illustrate a personal journey.

Mike will discuss the high-level creative planning and project management efforts that were needed to coordinate and produce all of these aspects in a less than 3 month window; examine the work required during tech week rehearsals to bring music, lighting, video, and technology elements and personnel together successfully; and explore the artistic and technical aspects of each movement and their components (along with managing intellectual property rights for such a broad range of source materials!)

The presentation will feature visuals from the production process, finished excerpts from movements, interview footage of the composer, and clips from the Emmy Award-winning PBS documentary of the World Premiere performance.

Peacemakers received an Emmy Award and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

‘Peacemakers’ to be screened in its entirety Sunday, February 23, 4:00-6:00 pm at Stamps Auditorium, Walgreen Drama Center

Presenter Bio:

Mike Halerz holds a BFA Media Arts from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, & Dance and was the first student accepted into that highly interdisciplinary program in 1995.

He co-founded TeraPixel in 1997 and has designed and produced video, audio, photo, web, print, and UI/UX content for clients such as BP, 3M, ADP, Intel, IBM, Sony, Dell, Samsung, NSF International, the University of Michigan, and the Federal Highway Administration as well as small and mid-size technology clients.

Mike has worked with arts organizations including the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Kerrytown Concert House, Theatre Nova, Saginaw Choral Society, Performance Network, and the International Computer Music Association to produce materials for marketing, fundraising, as well as performance-based visuals.