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I Drank Red Bull in a Church and Listened to a 50-Violin Symphony

On the 125th anniversary of The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in Manhattan, 50 violinists performed a surreal, uplifting symphony.

Composed by Tristan Perich as part of Red Bull Music Festival in New York, the piece, entitled “Drift Multiply,” also features 50 loudspeakers playing 1-bit audio, the most rudimentary of digital waveforms.

Attendees line up at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine.

Paired with the violins, the dreamy, video game sounds traveled through the ornate cathedral up to its formidable vaulted ceiling. Spine-like columns adorned with cute yet macabre figurines gave the house of prayer a playful quality; flickering candles at the Red Bull cocktail bar and blue and purple lighting throughout made for a magical experience.

For the opening act, Lesley Flanigan premiered her piece “Subtonalities,” which uses just her voice and two self-made sine-wave oscillators; her crystal clear pipes let out extended high-pitched notes and hums over the deep rumbling feedback before an otherwise silent church.

Attendees recline on the church floor during the performance.
Lesley Flanigan
Tristan Perich
Lesley Flanigan; Tristan Perich
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