Ph.D. Composition student Justin Tierney wins 2016 LA Time-lapse Film Festival

Thursday, August 25, 2016
Tierney won First Place in the Cityscape/Industrial category and Best-in-Show for his work "Tokyo Aglow."
Ph.D. Composition student Justin Tierney wins 2016 LA Time-lapse Film Festival

"Tokyo Aglow" is the second installment in Tierney's dissertation, at the CONFLUX, for his Ph.D. in composition at Duke. Tierney describes at the CONFLUX  as "a time-lapse film in three parts that explores the rhythm of urban Japan and its people." All the filming was done by Tierney himself during two trips to Japan in 2014 and 2015.

The first video, "Aerial Arterial," examines Tokyo from above, with Tierney beginning his filming at night atop the Tokyo Skytree, the world's tallest tower.  "Tokyo Aglow" continues the exploration of the city at night, but this time from street level on a dizzying trip by road and rail.  Tierney's time-lapse photography provides eloquent moments of stillness amid the neon chaos.  In the final installment, "In Praise of Shadows," Tierney leaves Tokyo behind and embarks on a tour of Japan's transportation systems from Osaka to Hiroshima.

Throughout at the CONFLUX, Tierney's music is minimalist.  Koto-inspired melodies performed by Tierney on the piano are punctuated by trombone, trumpet, and violin ("Tokyo Aglow") and violin, bass, and clarinet ("In Praise of Shadows") performed by Deviant Septet, artists-in-residence at Duke.  Throughout, Tierney incorporates field recordings of people talking, train announcements, crosswalk chimes, cicadas, and other noises of the city, creating a gentle urban soundscape that juxtaposes with the frenetic energy of the visual material.

To read more about at the CONFLUX and view the videos, visit
More about composer Justin Tierney at

The Deviant Septet residency at Duke University is presented in association with Duke Performances.