Honors in Music Thesis: "Plastic Orchestra"
Plastic Orchestra is an exploration of joy, timbre, collaboration, and active listening. Over the past year, twenty musicians and I have played with the possibilities and limitations of an ensemble made entirely of plastic instruments. Made up of toys, educational tools, found objects, and oddities, the Plastic Orchestra asks; What can an instrument do? What can it not? How does one highlight and celebrate the full spectrum of can to cannot? I am fascinated by the tonality of the wonky, of the emergent tones of plastic harmony. I am interested in what it means to learn how to listen to these objects; to gradually hear the sound itself rather than the novelty or the familiarity of the sound. I have let these strange and beautiful instruments be the guide for how I compose, how the musicians play, and how an audience could listen.
I have written a six-movement piece for the Plastic Orchestra, which was initially supposed to be performed in April 2020. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the premiere has been postponed indefinetly. The sound of the Plastic Orchestra is primary to this project, so I took as many instruments as I could home with me and recorded the second movement to share with everyone. Additionally, in order to preserve what we have learned, and with the hope that someone else might be inspired to write for them, I (along with help from the musicians) have created audio orchestration guides for each instrument in the Plastic Orchestra.
Listen to Plastic Orchestra on Sophia Frohna's bandcamp page.