Matthew Burtner composer  •  Rita Dove poetry


EcoSono Ensemble

Lisa Edwards-Burrs voice Kelly Sulick flute

Shawn Earle clarinet Kevin Davis cello John Mayhood piano


01  Nomads Prelude   1:20

02  November for Beginners   1:43

03  Nomads Audience Creation Bridge 1   1:51

04  Mississippi   1:16

05  Nomads Audience Creation Bridge 2   1:21

06  Describe Yourself in Three Words or Less   1:28

07  Nomads Audience Creation Bridge 3   1:03

08  The Snow King   0:51

09  Nomads Audience Creation Bridge 4   1:20

10  Singsong  0:54

11  Nomads Audience Creation Bridge 5   0:58

12  Pithos   0:29

13  Nomads Audience Creation Bridge 6   1:19

14  Ozone   4:06

15  Nomads Audience Creation Bridge 7   1:14

16  Lint   1:06

17  Nomads Audience Creation Bridge 8   2:30

18  Lamentation   1:20

19  Nomads Audience Creation Bridge 9   0:48

20  In the Bulrush   0:31

21  Nomads Audience Creation Bridge 10   1:05

22  Happenstance   1:00

23  Nomads Audience Creation Bridge 11   1:23

24  Five Elephants   1:23

25  Nomads Audience Creation Bridge 12   1:29

26  Geometry   1:10





The Ceiling Floats Away (2016) by Matthew Burtner and Rita Dove is a concert work and installation for chamber ensemble, spoken and sung voice, computer-generated sound, and a unique mobile phone enabled audience interaction audio-visual software called Nomads. Thirteen composed chamber movements are interspersed with Audience Creation Bridges. During the Bridges, the audience uses Nomads to offer reflections, echoes and thoughts on the music and poetry. These thoughts create a new poetic musical piece generated by the audience and experienced in real time. Through the social dimension of The Ceiling Floats Away, Matthew Burtner and Rita Dove explore the public as artists in dialog with a composed artwork. The piece empowers people as creative agents in an artwork without walls, without  ceiling. “The Ceiling Floats Away” was commissioned by a National Endowment for the Arts, “Art Works” grant. The piece was awarded a Special Jury Award in the 2016 American Prize in Chamber Music Composition for “Unique Nexus of Acoustics, Electronics and Audience Interaction”. The piece was premiered at the Intersections Festival in Washington DC, and then selected for performance at the Tom Tom Festival, the Atlas Performing Arts Center and the Smithsonian Natural History Museum’s

Accelerate Festival.


Recording & Mixing Audio Engineer

Mark Graham


Recorded & mixed

The Sound LLC recording studio:



Matthew Burtner



The Ceiling Floats Away was created thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Art Works Grant Program.


This publication of this recording is supported by the Institute for the Humanities and Global Cultures at the University of Virginia.


Nomads was developed by the Interactive Media Research Group (IMRG) at the University of Virginia


Ceiling Floats Away NOMADS Team Jon Bellona, Matthew Burtner, & Travis Thatcher


The Interactive Media Research Group (IMRG) develops new technologies for artistic engagements and actions in the creative and academic spheres. Active at the University of Virginia since 2008, projects include new software  development, robotics, human-computer interface hardware, and network applications. IMRG previously developed the Auksalaq Nomads telematic opera software and iPhone Apps, and the MICEtro robotic network conductor for the  500-person human computer MICE Orchestra. In addition to musical concerts, Nomads has been used for concerts,

conferences and large lecture classes.


Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw

A&R Marina Altschiller

Audio Director Jeff LeRoy

Mastering Levi Brown

Engineering Manager Lucas Paquette

Art & Marketing Director Brett Picknell

Design Emily Roulo




Ravello Records is the contemporary classical label imprint of audio production house PARMA Recordings. Dedicated to highlighting forward thinking composers and musicians from around the world, the New England-based label's eclectic catalog offers listeners a cross-section of today's up-and-coming innovators in orchestral, chamber, and experimental music.

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