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Strings Attached: Instrumental innovator (and TV talent) William Close and his Earth Harp turn Monmouth U’s renovated Pollak Theatre into a sound sculpture

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1/4/2016

As part of its 10th Anniversary schedule of events, The Center for the Arts at Monmouth University has announced that tickets are now on sale for a January 23, 2016 concert by installation artist and multi-instrumentalist master William Close and the Earth Harp Collective.

The 8 p.m. show represents the first event of the 2016 Winter-Spring Performing Arts Series slate at Monmouth — as well as the inaugural scheduling for the newly renovated Pollak Theatre. The flagship auditorium of the West Long Branch campus received a makeover during the school’s holiday break interval, with nearly 700 new seats, new carpeting and other improvements enhancing the concert-going experience for audiences. In addition, the Pollak will boast a newly enlarged stage area — and just in time, as Close and his Collective promise to commandeer that space with a one-of-a-kind performance that’s as much a visual experience as it is auditory.

As much a self-described architect as he is a performance artist; as adept at tinkering as he is with the tailoring of breathtaking soundscapes, William Close is the inventor of more than 100 fully functional musical instruments with names like The Aquatar, The Percussion Jacket, The Drumbrella — and The Earth Harp, the world’s largest stringed instrument and the centerpiece of a stage show that casts its spell through state-of-the-art lighting, dazzling choreography, passionate musicianship, and even the occasional suspension of the law of gravity.

Augmented by vocalists, string and percussion players at work on an array of Close’s signature sound creations, the Earth Harp Collective builds upon Frank Lloyd Wright’s definition of architecture as “frozen music;” exploring the harmonic possibilities of every venue, and in essence creating a unique work of living, moving, multimedia art wherever they appear. Far from remaining a “best kept secret,” the group has amazed millions of viewers as a finalist act on NBC TV’s America’s Got Talent; finishing in third place and winning over a panel of judges that included the legendary curmudgeon Howard Stern.

From there, it was on to a successful residency at the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas — and a series of globetrotting tours that have seen the Harp‘s strings stretch to the top of Seattle’s Space Needle, resonate across ancient temples, and send its cello-like tones through halls ranging from NYC’s Lincoln Center to the Grand Theater of Macau.

With its giant strings running from the stage to the back of the theater, extending out above the heads of the audience, The Earth Harp promises to turn the entire Pollak auditorium — from the walls, floor and ceiling, to the people in the seats — into a magnificent music machine that makes for a listening experience seldom duplicated from concert to concert. It’s an encapsulation of the Center for the Arts mission of bringing cutting-edge performance to the coastal New Jersey audience in a popular forum — and a fantastic way in which to launch our new and improved Pollak experience.

Tickets for the January 23, 2016 concert by William Close and the Earth Harp Collective are priced at $35 and $45 (with a Gold Circle seating option available for $60), and can be reserved through the Monmouth University Performing Arts Box Office at 732-263-6889, or online at www.monmouth.edu/arts.

Tickets for other upcoming Performing Arts events — including encore appearances by the Taylor 2 Dance company (January 31), Cherish the Ladies (February 27), and Bravo Amici (March 22) — are also on sale now.

To schedule interviews, please contact Kelly Barratt at 732-263-5114.