Nathaniel Stookey

Nathaniel Stookey

Photos of this artist and the performance in May 2007.
Listen to the CBS podcast of an interview with Nathaniel Stookey from June 4, 2007

Listen to "Junkestra."
The following audio streams are recordings from a rehearsal.

Movement 1

Movement 2

Movement 3

At the old children's playground in Golden Gate Park, there was an enormous rainbow play structure that was a warren of metal slides and tunnels. My kids would disappear inside for long stretches—there was no way for an adult to follow—and I was left on the outside with all the other vaguely worried parents. Fortunately, it was an amazingly resonant piece of architecture and I soon discovered that there were lots of ways to play this giant instrument that could keep me entertained for at least as long as my children. I had fantasies about bringing a troupe of professional musicians—or maybe just the stoned drummers from nearby Hippy Hill—and staging a concert: Concerto for Rainbow Play Structure.

Sadly, the whole thing was removed last year to make way for a regulation playground that won't swallow children, worry parents or, god forbid, attract any hippy drummers. At about that time, I went to SF Recycling and Disposal's web site to see if you have to rinse your yogurt tub before putting it in the blue cart (you don't). The site had a link to the Artist in Residence Program and I immediately had visions of recovering the rainbow play structure from the dump and bringing it to life at Davies Symphony Hall—maybe even the Cow Palace!

Well I never found the play structure but I have dug up a remarkably sonorous collection of pipes, pans, mixing bowls, bottles, serving trays, deck railings, dresser drawers, oil drums, bike wheels, saws, garbage cans, bathroom fixtures, bird-cages, and shopping carts. This is Junkestra, and it's a much richer palette of timbre and pitch than anything I could have foreseen or designed.

Residency: February 1, 2007 - May 31, 2007
Art Exhibition and Performance: May 25 & 26, 2007