Olivia Block on WBEZ

Today Olivia Block speaks about 132 Ranks and her experience working with the Skinner Organ at Rockefeller Chapel, in an interview on Morning Shift WBEZ 91.5 FM.

Block discusses her early days in Texas, how she came to experimental music, and her current interests as an artist, including what makes this new work commissioned by Lampo and the Renaissance Society unique for her.

“I have never created a piece for one particular instrument in one particular place,” says Block. “[132 Ranks] is definitely about this particular organ and its capabilities and the space that it’s in.”

She has long been interested in the Skinner Organ and Rockefeller Chapel, and that fascination is what led her to this project with Lampo—a project that began almost a year and a half ago and that involved six sessions with the organ over several months.

Block has notions of an architectural sound. Through multiple speaker placement and decisions about what to play on the organ she will “shape the room out with sound.”

“Wherever you are in that space you’re going to have a different experience,” explains the Chicago composer. “It’s really about sounding out the architecture.”

“Basically, the chapel is the instrument,” she says. “You are inside the instrument when you’re listening to that pipe organ.”

Play the full interview here.

Olivia Block’s 132 Ranks premieres Friday, April 21 8pm at Rockefeller Chapel.