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Flame Keepers

A LIVE-STREAMING, PERPETUAL SONIC ART INSTALLATION

Flame Keepers is a perpetual music installation based on Jakub Ciupinski's concept and design. Commissioned, created, and launched by Metropolis Ensemble in response to COVID-19, Flame Keepers runs uninterrupted in real time, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Invited artists are commissioned weekly to serve as musical custodians and creators, or Flame Keepers, tasked with supplying new original material every seven hours. As a result, the piece will evolve as an open-ended collective composition designed to run forever.

We intend the Flame Keepers experience to be a virtual bonfire shared by a group of strangers worldwide, a concert that never ends, made in, and especially for, times of hardship and social isolation.




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This Week's Curator

Isabel Lepanto Gleicher

Flutist and sound artist Isabel Lepanto Gleicher has been called “excellent” by The New York Times. Isabel is an artist member of the International Contemporary Ensemble, Wild Up, new music sinfonietta Ensemble Echappe, the Annapolis Chamber Music Festival, and the band ShoutHouse. She is also a founding member of Song Sessions Collective: a collective of four improvisers who create an ever-changing work based on the structure of whale songs through the use of flutes, clarinets, sine-tones, and an LED light installation. Isabel has had the opportunity to premiere works by Steve Reich, George Lewis, Missy Mazzoli, John Zorn, Augusta Read Thomas, and Dai Fujikura among others. Isabel has been called a “rising talent and stand out performer in the new music scene” by Miller Theatre. In 2018, she was featured in a solo recital on Miller Theatre’s Pop Up series. In 2020 Isabel has presented several solo performances that included original works: Experimental Sound Studio's The Quarantine Concerts, International Contemporary Ensemble series Tues@7, ChamberQUEERantine Virtual Festival, Recital Stream and George Mason University’s Mason Arts at Home. You can hear Isabel on Wild Up’s latest album Julius Eastman Vol. 1: Femenine, The Bells Bow Down: The Music of Ilari Kaila, Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Aequa, and San Fermin’s The Cormorant I. Isabel has earned an MM in Contemporary Performance from the Manhattan School of Music, an MM from the Yale School of Music, and a BM from SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music. To learn more please visit isabellepantogleicher.com

See all our past curators »

How It Works


On this page, seven musical ideas, or streams, loop simultaneously in real-time.

As the streams repeat, the musical experience will never be or sound the same because the individual loops run asynchronously and their durations are divergent.

As a result, the seven streams shift and realign into subtle new configurations continuously.

The perpetual metamorphosis of this composition is catalyzed by a commissioned prompt: every seven hours, a select musical creator serving as The Flame Keeper is given the chance to replace any existing stream with a single new one.

The moment a new stream is introduced, the system enters a seven-hour lockdown, during which the composition cannot be altered by human hands. After the given seven hour lockdown is over, the Keeper may swap another stream and the cycle begins anew.

Passing the Torch

At the beginning of the week, the new Flame Keeper inherits the state of the installation from the previous one. Due to the seven hour lockdown mechanism, it is impossible to swap all seven streams in less than forty-nine hours.

During this three day transition, the new Keeper builds within the composition created by the previous artist, gradually making it their own.

Ghost Streams

If the Keeper misses any of the upload windows, the system engages a fail-safe algorithm that replaces any one of the streams with one randomly selected from the historical archive of musical streams of all former Flame Keepers. The results might be harmonious, cacophonous, anodyne, or expressive, yet always surprising.

If left completely abandoned, the composition will evolve with unpredictable results, continuously.

Flash Back

Use this feature to travel back in time to experience any Keeper's work.

Meet The Team


Jakub Ciupinski

Composer and Creator of Flame Keepers

Jakub Ciupinski is a Polish composer living in New York City. Although his music is often associated with electronics and interactive performances, he has written numerous pieces for traditional acoustic forces, varying in scope from solo miniatures to symphonic works. Jakub has collaborated with Metropolis Ensemble since 2009.

Andrew Cyr

Founder/Artistic Director, Metropolis Ensemble

Grammy-nominated conductor Andrew Cyr (“a prominent influence in the world of newly emerging music”, The Washington Post) founded Metropolis Ensemble in 2006 to support ascending contemporary composers and performers through the creation of new work.

Avneesh Sarwate

Developer

Avneesh Sarwate is a programmer, musician, and multimedia artist working in the fields of audiovisual performance, installations, and interface design.

Ryan Rose

Developer

Ryan Rose is a software engineer and saxophonist living in Cambridge, MA. His work explores musical expression through robots, physical installations, connected web experiences, and more.

Daniel McKemie

Developer

Daniel McKemie is an electronic musician, percussionist, and composer based in New York City. Currently, he is focusing on technology that seeks to utilize the internet and browser technology to realize a more accessible platform for multimedia art.