Scott L. Miller, with support from a St. Cloud State University 2017 Research Faculty Improvement Grant, has created Raba, a virtual reality concert piece. This work was created in collaboration with Mark Gill of the SCSU Visualization Lab, Rein Zobel of Maru VR, and Ensemble U:, Estonia’s premier new music ensemble, based in Tallinn.
Raba (which means “bog” in Estonian) is an immersive audio-visual concert piece inspired by the Marimetsa Raba, located about an hour drive from Tallinn. Raba is experienced by the audience seated in swiveling office chairs and wearing VR headsets. Audience members can visually explore a 360 video while Ensemble U: performs the music, Raba, in sync with the film. The ensemble and speakers (for the electronic sound in the music) physically surround the audience, unifying the audience experience with a live, immersive audio performance while each audience member has a unique, individual immersive visual experience.
Miller says, “I am really interested in producing collective audience experiences through live performance. What is exciting to me about Raba is that the audience is immersed in the sonic reality of the space, surrounded by the performers and electronic sound, while they are visually immersed in the unique beauty of the Marimetsa Raba.”
The musical composition, Raba, was originally commissioned by the Spitting Image Collective, written by Miller following his first visit to Marimetsa as a Fulbright Scholar at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre in 2014. This original version premiered in Minneapolis and St. Paul in May 2015.
Miller will present an electronic performance of Raba (with the studio recording of Ensemble U:, not live performers) on the SCSU campus on December 7, 2017. The 11-minute work will be presented 9 times in Performing Arts Center 158 from 1:30 – 4:30 pm. Tickets are free, but must be reserved in advance due to limited seating. Audience members may reserve seating for shows at 1:30, 1:50, 2:10, 2:30, 2:50, 3:10, 3:30, 3:50, and 4:10. Tickets will be assigned on a first come-first serve basis.