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 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.


This Week's Curator

Keisuke Matsuno

Keisuke Matsuno is a guitarist & sound / noise maker in the realm of composed & improvised music. His own aesthetics in music have been described as »salt of the earth« (Bird is the Worm) & »most extravagant, mind-blowing, & unheard-within-the-unheard« (Blow Up). He is the founding member of the post-krautrock band »Trio Schmetterling«, is currently a core member of bands such as Jim Black's »Smash & Grab«, Charlotte Greve’s »Wood River«, Sana Nagano’s »Smashing Humans«, Briggan Krauss’ »The Need Trio«, Lukas Akintaya's »Hues«, Andrej Ugoljew's »3ZvoVII«, & John Zorn’s »Bagatelles«, & has further collaborated with artists such as Chris Speed, Thomas Morgan, Rudy Royston, Tommy Crane, Ted Poor, Marja Burchard, Hans Tammen, Greg Cohen, Stefon Harris, Grey McMurray, Talibam!, & Red Baraat. Besides having performed in over 30 countries on five continents & contributed to over 30 records, he has also collaborated in dance, theater, & film. Born in the divided Berlin, Keisuke grew up in the reunified city and relocated to New York City in 2010. Photo by Katya Vlasova

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


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.