THE PREVAILING FAD in the performing arts these days is the multi-media event, a move that often smacks of desperate pandering to a young audience presumed too impatient or disinterested to focus its attention on a single art form. The jury is still out on how well this strategy is working.
But there's no question it's given rise to some interesting inter-disciplinary unions, and this Saturday's music, movement, light and video extravaganza in UA Crowder Hall sounds like one of the most promising yet for fans of the fusion between fine art and electronic technology.
Sacred And Profane is billed as an "electro-acoustic/digital arts event with dance, lighting design, video projection and digital music, presented in quadraphonic (surround) sound." It pairs the talents of contemporary composers Daniel Asia, Kip Haaheim, John Berger, Richard McCandless and Wiley Ross with the choreography of world-dance guru John Wilson, who joins his student dancers on stage for the evening's eponymous centerpiece.
The prolific Asia and experimental Haaheim are among the UA Music faculty's more avant-garde composers. Their 45-minute cycle of five works brings poetic images from 18th-century texts by rabbinic masters of the Hassidic movement (spoken by Haaheim) together with synthesized, digital music, "dance-music elements, a quiet sense of humor (and) subtle references to sounds of the natural and man-made world."
The "Sacred and Profane" title refers to the dual nature of the universe, as well as two sources of basic musical materials. Lighting design by Julie Mack, and projection design work by Sally Day, both of the UA theatre arts department, further illuminate the cycle's latter two profane sections.
Haaheim, who received his doctorate at the UA, describes his electronic compositions as "redefining the sterile and clinical stereotype of electronic music by producing 'organic' compositions whose textures approach the richness and dynamic range of real-world sound phenomena."
The remainder of the evening's program includes Berger's "Echoes of Light and Time," McCandless' "Voyager," Haaheim's "Diffractions and Meditation" and Ross/Haaheim's "Deep Field Revisited."
Sacred and Profane hits the stage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, February 5, in UA Crowder Hall, south end of the pedestrian underpass on Speedway Boulevard east of Park Avenue. Tickets are $15, or $7.50 for seniors and students. Call or visit the UA Fine Arts box office (621-1162) for tickets and information.