Flame Keepers


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 supply 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.


Current Artist

David Leon

David Leon is a Miami-born saxophonist, woodwinds player, composer, and improviser living in Brooklyn, New York. His work is guided by a persistent search for vitality through autonomy, contradiction, hyperbole, and humor. His work with the saxophone investigates alternate methods for producing a tone, refinement of these techniques, and development of a distinct vocabulary using these sounds; he melds this timbral approach with melodic and rhythmic phrasing from Cuban folkloric traditions, narrative playing, Free Jazz & avant-garde esthetics, and microtonality to reveal a personal conceit.

David's current projects include Bird's Eye, a trio with Doyeon Kim and Lesley Mok which will release its first recording this March 8, 2024 on Pyroclastic Records, and a double horns-guitars-percussion trio co-led with Adam O’Farrill, Locomotive. He is a core member of multiple ensembles including Lisa Hoppe’s Third Reality, Lesley Mok: The Living Collection, Adam O’Farrill’s For These Streets & Bird Blown Out of Latitude, William Brittelle MetaSimulacrum, Vicente Hansen’s Orlando Furioso, Tal Yahalom Quintet, Aaron Quinn’s Sunchoke, and others.

His debut album, Aire de Agua (released August 2021 on Out of Your Head Records) has been praised as “a splendid debut from a young saxophone player who, starting with the right foot, promises to make a name for himself in the creative jazz scene” (Felipe Freitas, JazzTrail). He has also released two albums in the Current Obsession series that documents improvisations with current collaborators. In addition to his work as a composer and performer, David is interested in exploring irony and dissonance through puppetry and other mediums. These explorations will be documented in his upcoming performance as a Roulette 2024 Jerome Commission artist at Roulette Intermedium.

Flash Back in time to any of our prior artists

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 artist 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 Flame 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 Flame 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 artist'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


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

Ryan Rose


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


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.