a disruption

a disruption

a disruption is a 50-minute musical performance of swirling, sputtering percussive dissonance composed by John Patrick Stewart. It was encouraged at a macro level by disruptions that weave through our physical, cultural, and psychological landscape; conveying the conflict and resolve we experience when energy is wedged violently into the inescapable arrow of time.

To form this notion into a context of unspoken performance, various strategies were used to compose the piece and assemble the performance.


Three instrument types are used; piano, drums, and cello. These instruments types are further divided into 3 cellists, 4 pianists, and 4 percussionists.



(4) Pianists



(3) Cellists



(4) Percussionists

Composition & Performance Techniques

During the writing process, it was understood that each of the instruments within each slot would occupy a specific spatial coordinate. From there, five core building blocks were conceived; melodic gestures, rhythmic gestures, spatial gestures, pulse gestures, and directional gestures.


Melodic | Rhythmic Gestures

Melodic and Rhythmic gestures are easily understood as traditional composition devices of note selection and sequence repetition.


Spatial Gestures

To take advantage of spatial aspects of the venue, the primary instrument slots have been separated in to eleven units; 4 pianists, 3 cellists, and 4 percussionists. The musicians are dragged radially from a center point and surround the audience; placing them in a symbolic cage within the performance space.

Using this additional spatial aspect of the arrangement, discussion and argument between musicians can be experienced from within. Beyond the conventional one-sided separation of audience and musician.   


Pulse Gestures

Pulse-like variance is used throughout the composition to communicate matters of confusion, weakness, and strength. Within each piece the change in distance between notes is functionally adjusted to expand and contract the pulse.  This happens either in unison between the instrument groups, within instrument groups, or by each individual performer.


Directional Gestures

Performer coordination and placement is used to create an illusion of movement. Chaotic swirling gestures and radially smeared dissonance are positioned alongside sparse high pitched mosaics. Notes are thrown back and forth and around the room

John Patrick Stewart is composer, drummer, and multi-media artist based in Philadelphia. His current works focus on expanding audience’s auditory experience within live performance. He also composes, records, and plays drums in Sabzabi, a local performance project which recently released their second album “On Having Become Obsolete.”