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Mixed-Ability Music Performances Featured at International Symposium

Monday, July 31, 2017

Lawrence – Using a computerized musical instrument that transforms movement into sound, three public performances will be held the week of Aug. 6 as part of an international symposium at the University of Kansas.

Gathering at KU will be leading experts on the Adaptive Use Musical Instrument (AUMI), a software interface that can operate on electronic devices with front-facing cameras. The camera captures physical movement that triggers sounds, from bells to drums to synthesizer tones, enabling people of all abilities, including those with little voluntary movement, to create music and participate in group improvisation.  

As part of the symposium, Canadian composer, performer and artist Jesse Stewart will lead a weeklong workshop for people with disabilities. Stewart has appeared on more than 20 recordings, is a professor of music at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada and founder and director of We Are All Musicians, an organization dedicated to fostering inclusive group music-making.

Stewart will be featured in three performances during the week. On Wednesday, Aug. 9 at 7:30 p.m., Stewart will perform a drum and percussion concert in a duet with the sounds of the Audio-Reader Sensory Garden, 1120 W. 11th St. The public is invited to come as early as 7 p.m. to watch demonstrations of the AUMI and have the opportunity to play the instrument.

Later in the week, two performances of Improvising Inclusive Communities will be held featuring Stewart and the AUMI Workshop Ensemble. On Friday, Aug. 11 at 5:30 p.m., a concert will be at The Commons in Spooner Hall, 1340 Jayhawk Blvd. On Saturday, Aug. 12 at 3:30 p.m., a final concert will be at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont St. The concerts are free and open to the public.

Along with the workshop and performances, the international multidisciplinary research consortium dedicated to using the AUMI will hold a research symposium on Friday, Aug. 11 and Saturday, Aug, 12 at the Hall Center for the Humanities, 900 Sunnyside Ave. The public is invited to attend the Aug. 12 presentations from 9:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.  

The symposium is made possible through a $35,000 National Endowment of the Arts grant and in partnership with the AUMI-KU InterArts, The Commons, Lawrence Public Library, Independence, Inc. and Hall Center for the Humanities. The AUMI-KU InterArts faculty include Sherrie Tucker, professor of American studies; Abbey Dvorak, assistant professor of music therapy; Bryan “Kip” Haaheim, professor of music composition; Michelle Heffner-Hayes, professor and chair of the dance department; and Nicole Hodges Persley, associate professor and acting chair of the theatre department.

More information can be found online at or by emailing

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Performance this Friday!

Please join us Friday, August 11th at  5:30 for a 30-45 minute performance, followed by audience feedback and discussion.  The performance features Jesse Stewart and the Wooden Snap Dragons Ensemble.