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‘Fantini Futuro’ to Make New Jersey Premiere at Ramapo College’s Berrie Center

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)January 28, 2020

Professor Ben Neill, far left, with keyboardist Gwendolyn Toth, center, and countertenor Ryland Angel

MAHWAH, N.J. — The Angelica and Russ Berrie Center for Performing and Visual Arts presents the New Jersey premiere of Fantini Futuro on Thursday, February 13 at 8 p.m. in the Sharp Theater.

Fantini Futuro is a new audio-visual performance work by Ramapo College Professor of Music Industry and Production Ben Neill. The concert will include Neill’s performance on his self-designed Mutantrumpet 4.0, an electro-acoustic instrument that also controls interactive video projections. He will be joined by Ryland Angel, countertenor, and Gwendolyn Toth, on Baroque keyboards. Girolamo Fantini brought the trumpet indoors from the hunt and the battlefield to the realm of art music. Neill’s Fantini is a traveler through time and space, from the 17th century to the future, embodying the transformative power of technology.

Fantini was a musical celebrity in his time, and his Modo per Imparare a Sonare di Tromba (1638) was one of the earliest collections of music written for trumpet alone as well as with keyboards. He also pioneered the use of mutes to expand the dynamic range of the instrument for indoor use along with numerous other playing techniques. Fantini Futuro remixes and collages Fantini’s material both compositionally and in real time during performance, transforming it into a contemporary expression. The work draws connections between the dynamic energy of early Baroque musical and architectural vocabularies and minimalist patterns and processes, reinterpreting them through current techniques of live sampling, spatialization and interactive visual media. The improvisatory quality of the piece references the original performance practice of music in Fantini’s era. The choice of Fantini as the subject reflects the parallel between Neill’s redefinition of the trumpet as a multi-timbral, digitally equipped instrument and that of the Baroque virtuoso who first brought it indoors.

The visual component is primarily comprised of architectural imagery and artworks from places where Fantini lived and performed. These sites were researched and photographed by Neill during two Visiting Artist Residencies at the American Academy in Rome. The animated architectural imagery is controlled live from Neill’s mutantrumpet and creates the sensation of the performers being situated in virtual worlds created from these historical elements.

Tickets for Fantini Futuro are available online at or by calling the box office at 201-684-7844.

The Angelica and Russ Berrie Center for the Performing and Visual Arts is located on the campus of Ramapo College of New Jersey in Mahwah.

“Ben Neill is using a schizophrenic trumpet to create art music for the people.”
Wired Magazine


About Ramapo College

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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