Jherek Bischoff

National Sawdust

Times Square Arts brought musician and composer Jherek Bischoff’s Cistern, a video from his latest album, to Times Square’s electronic billboards from 11:57 p.m. to midnight every night in August. This project was a part of Midnight Moment, a monthly presentation by The Times Square Advertising Coalition (TSAC) and Times Square Arts. The video featured Bischoff as a lone tuxedoed figure awakening from the earth to traverse the expanses of the globe, covering the most extreme landscapes of the ocean floor, arid salt flats, glaciers, and mossy rainforest, ultimately retiring under a star-studded sky.

Cistern was inspired by sound improvisations Bischoff created in an empty, two-million gallon, underground water tank. The space boasts a 45-second reverb decay that forced Bischoff to slowdown and accommodate the unique acoustic qualities. Bischoff later recorded an album of ambient music, inspired by that time, with a live orchestra. The cinematic music naturally led to synchronization with film, and the contemplative manner in which Bischoff created soundscapes is echoed in its images. The video brought to life the expansiveness of the cistern and its relationship to distance, space and time, in an epic and introspective journey through extraordinary landscapes.

On August 21 and 22, Jherek Bischoff's Silent Orchestra performed music from Bischoff's latest album Cistern on electronic orchestral instruments and streamed through 400 sets of wireless headphones. To passersby, the ensemble was completely silent; those who had headphones were treated to an orchestral concert in the middle of Times Square – a spectacular way to perform music without violating the noise code. The finale of the concert was synchronized with a screening of Bischoff's video for “Cistern,” broadcast on numerous screens throughout Times Square. Jherek Bischoff's Silent Orchestra featured musicians from one of NYC's finest ensembles, Contemporaneous.

On August 19 Bischoff presented an album release concert at National Sawdust in Williamsburg, Brooklyn starting at 7pm. More information can be found at   

Image courtesy of Jim Batt.