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A stringed instrument like no other

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin

The turbine hall of the historic Seaholm Power Plant will be the site for an utterly unconventional concert today, when Ellen Fullman, composer, performer and former Austinite, returns to town with her 100-foot-long string instrument.

When Fullman lived here, from 1985 to 1997, she developed her Long String Instrument in a studio in a former candy factory off Manor Road. Fullman used amazing lengths of wire and custom-built wooden resonators to fashion her gigantic instrument.

And to play it, she developed a method of rosining her hands and walking the lengths of wire as she coaxed out otherworldly vibrations. Forget the bow used to play so many string instruments. And sometimes, Fullman added choreography to her movement.

‘My work resides between the fields of sound art and music,' she has said. ‘My interest is in composing music on multiple levels, constructing not only the fundamental harmonic content, but also creating a phantom composition by choreographing the performer's movement through a multidimensional matrix of unfolding overtones.'

Fullman's return visit this weekend — her first in 12 years — jibes with the SXSW premiere of Peter Esmonde's documentary about her music, "5 Variations on a Long String," which screens at 4:45 p.m. Monday at the Alamo Ritz. It also screens at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Alamo South.

The performance at Seaholm is sponsored by Austin's New Music Co-op, members of which will perform with Fullman on conventional instruments.

Ellen Fullman

When: 8 p.m. Sunday, March 14

Where: Seaholm Power Plant, 214 West Ave.

Cost: $12 students/advance and $15 at door