The Irondale Ensemble Project is as close as we come these days to the Elizabethan acting companies that once presented Shakespeare’s plays to the Earl of Leicester, Sir Francis Drake and the Virgin Queen of England. ...What is on offer is the miracle of the word made flesh. I wish you joy in it.” —Lewis Lapham, editor of Lapham’s Quarterly
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Irondale presents
Walter Thompson Orchestra (NYC) &
Tours Soundpainting Orchestra (Tours, France)

Tueurs en Série (Serial Killers)

April 18-20
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Tueurs en Série is a new opera composed in real time using the Soundpainting live composing sign language incorporating imagery and sound inspired by the acts of serial killers. This unique piece, a new collaboration of The Walter Thompson Orchestra and the Tours Soundpainting Orchestra (Tours, France), unfolds in an impressionistic non-linear fashion. The opera will be Soundpainted live by Walter Thompson and Angelique Cormier.

The imagery, music and text for Tueurs en Série are inspired by Thompson’s and Cormier’s research about famous serial killers like Ted Bundy, The Black Widow and Jack the Ripper, among others. Tueurs en Série does not pronounce a judgment or document crimes, but is an abstract allegory, a creative point of view that invites the audience to imagine what take place in the mind of a serial killer.

Each performance of the opera will be unique complemented by several constant components--libretto, music, choreography, costumes, props and lighting woven together by Soundpainters Thompson and Cormier.

Soundpainting presently comprises of more than 1200 gestures that are signed by the Soundpainter to indicate the type of material desired of the performers. The creation of the composition is realized by the Soundpainter (the composer), through the parameters of the each set of signed hand and body gestures indicating specific and/or aleatoric material to be performed by an individual performer, a specific number of performers, or the entire group. The Soundpainter develops the responses of the performers, molding and shaping them into the composition and then signs another series of gestures, a phrase. The Soundpainter, listening and looking at the responses of the players, decides the next direction of the piece, signs a phrase - to a performer or performers - and continues in this process of composing the piece in real time. The Soundpainter can include a musical score, a theater script, choreography and/or other elements depending on the nature of the performance. Visit for more information.

Sound Painting photos above: © Guillaume Le Baubej

Walter Thompson Sound Painting

Angelique Cormier
Composer, pianist, singer and multidisciplinary Soundpainter Angelique Cormier is a teaching artist and Director of the Tours Soundpainting Orchestra (TSO). Founding the TSO in 2005, the ensemble has become one of the leading live composing ensembles in France. Cormier has led the TSO through many outreach and performance projects with universities, orchestras, choirs, and marching bands, and in 2008, the TSO received a national grant titled “défie jeune-envie d’agir,” which provided her ensemble with the funding to develop to its full professional potential. Her projects include collaboration with Franco-Morrocan exchange, the Compagnie du Coin, and the Compagnie OFF as Music Director of Paraboles 2.0, premiered in Singapour in 2010. !n 2011, she composed and arranged music for the opera Pagliacci! for a street theatre adaptation. Her project Signs Across the Atlantic with Walter Thompson and his Walter Thompson Orchestra (WTO) has led a Franco-American exchange culminating in this performance Tueurs en Série, a soundpainting opera about serial killers.

From 1989 to 1999, Angelique Cormier studied both classical and contemporary music, and was a member of the new music choir Mikrokosmos. Developing herself with this eclectic art culture, she has grown a keen interest in improvised and multidisciplinary practices. She is a candidate for the program CFMI in Tours, France, which is the French university certification for childhood music education. She also is a member of the improvisation class of K. Hiriart at the Jazz à Tours school. Cormier has a wide array of performance experience, from street theatre to touring with French folk and rock bands. She has 12 years of experience in childhood music education, and her Soundpainting teachers include Vincent le Quang and Walter Thompson.

Walter Thompson - Soundpainter, Woodwinds, Percussion, and Educator
Thompson conceived the Soundpainting language in Woodstock, New York, in the early 1970s. To date, Thompson has developed Soundpainting into a multidisciplinary live composing sign language comprising more than 1200 gestures. Thompson has composed Soundpaintings with many multidisciplinary and contemporary orchestras in many cities, including Barcelona, Santiago de Compostela, Paris, Bordeaux, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Oslo, Berlin, Bergen, Lucerne, Copenhagen, and Reykjavik, among others. He has taught Soundpainting at the Paris Conservatoire; Eastman School of Music; Columbia University, Iceland Academy of the Arts; University of Michigan; Grieg Academy in Bergen, Norway; University of Iowa; Oberlin College-Conservatory of Music; and New York University, among many others. Thompson is founder of and Soundpainter for The Walter Thompson Orchestra based in New York City.

“There is no end to the variations and combinations possible in Walter Thompson’s Soundpainting. Elating!”Sonloco, Sweden

Tueurs en Série

April 18-20
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Sound Painting photo above: © Nancy S. Donskoj