Unsigned editorial from the performance program notes.
Thank you for joining us as we welcome ETHEL back to the program. If you’ve experienced this masterful quartet before, you know well just how buoyant and electrifying they are in live performance. This very special multimedia project allowed the members of ETHEL to apply their keen artistic sensibilities to a major photographic undertaking of the people, places and landscapes that comprise this country.
At first blush it might not seem so significant to think that there is a massive collection of images documenting daily life in the U.S. After all, here in 2015, we are confronted daily by, or making our own contributions to, myriad social media applications that allow us to share any and all photographic details of our independent experiences. Most of us walk around holding in our hands the ability to snap a high-quality photograph of anything that moves us– ourselves, our meals, people and sights around us. We can even immediately and sophisticatedly edit, stylize and share that image fairly broadly.
But from 1972-1977, this was decidedly not the case, and therefore the 15,000 images now available to view from the EPA’s Documerica project, if you take pause to consider how nascent the digital world was then, is utterly fascinating. Don’t be surprised if you leave here feeling inspired to peruse the entire archive. (Which you can do at Flickr.com)
Investigating these images and selecting ones that resonated was the driving force behind each composer’s approach to their segment on tonight’s program. Their highly individual and creative responses to the imagery they encountered has resulted in new layers of poignancy and buoyancy around each shot.
Combined with the creative editing and technologies employed in this unique performance project and animated further by ETHEL’s incredible stage presence, it makes for an unforgettable program of sight and sound.
Unsigned editorial from the performance program notes.
The flute is not an instrument that often gets to be a rock star. It is lyrical and pleasing and integral to so many wonderful traditional melodies and memories in the art of performance.
But, in the hands of one Claire Chase, the flute gets to be a rock star, mostly by virtue of being held in the hands of one.
Claire is not only a masterful and energetic performer, she is a tireless champion of all the possibilities inherent in contemporary instrumental music. She has been with us this past week, working with the cadre of volunteer flutists who have migrated here to perform with us tonight. She is an inspiring leader full of verve and enthusiasm, ready to unlock the potential and creativity of all who perform and collaborate with her.
We’re very proud to have her with us, and especially for the West Coast Premiere of Cutting the Circle of Sounds. You’ll read more in the coming pages about this unique work. Claire and her team have come up with new creative performance elements for our presentation of this extremely rare composition, which has usually been performed in open-air or gallery spaces. In keeping with the heritage of the work, we were also proud to partner with our sister organization the Hammer Museum, where tonight’s migrating flutists gathered to learn the elements of the piece and practice the unique and liberating non-tonal techniques that make it so special.
Claire has said of Density, her solo work in part two of this afternoon’s program, that it is a work that unleashes the spirit of the flute. We think, every time Claire takes the stage anywhere in any configuration, in front of any kind of audience, she plays her own very important part in that unleashing of the flute’s spirit.
Thank you for joining us on this glorious spring holiday weekend. Enjoy the performance.
Did you hear we added another performance to our 2013-2014 season? We did. And it’s a doozy. We’re bringing back our current Artist Fellow Laurie Anderson and hanging on to the fabulous Kronos Quartet for an extra day in spring 2014. On March 15, the evening following our 40th anniversary program with Kronos, the ensemble will perform with Laurie in their first-ever collaboration, Landfall, a technology-tinged new work created for the Kronos by Anderson. (Tickets go on sale tomorrow, don’t miss it).
It’s incredible to think that these two massively important artists have never collaborated before this piece. They premiered the work in May at Montclair University’s Peak Performances series and it has been met with unsurprising acclaim.
Kronos and Laurie are both trailblazers in contemporary music. They are unceasing in their evolutionary approach to the form and have changed its face time and again over the course of decades.
Adding a night with Kronos and bringing Laurie back to campus (where she will also undoubtedly explore other projects her innovative mind is tackling in relation to her status as a CAP UCLA Artist Fellow) is indicative of a larger theme of the season.
These are not the only artists we are spending extra time with this season. We’re diving deep into some exceptional performers and their work in several multi-performance showcases.
Our other fellow Robert Wilson will perform his deeply introspective production of Lecture on Nothing, which goes beyond a theatrical adaptation of words on a page to become a living homage to Cage, lovingly and compellingly wrought by a fellow influential artist.
Meanwhile, Robert will also join with two of his most revered collaborators, Lucinda Childs and Philip Glass as they discuss their seminal 1975 work Einstein on the Beach. We are truly proud and thrilled to partner with LA Opera in their presentation of this incredibly ambitious and important work. Stay tuned for more details on events and activities that will help our audience intersect more closely with the themes and principle creators of Einstein.
And ahPhilip Glass. May 2014 cannot arrive quickly enough. We have so much Glass in store. We’ve carefully crafted three successive performances that will allow Glass acolytes and lovers of new music the opportunity to experience this legendary composer/performer’s work in multiple ways over the course of one weekend—from a highly personal peek at the artistic process revealed by his solo project The Etudes, to the epic marathon performance from Glass and his ensemble in the Los Angeles debut of Music in 12 Parts (it’s five hours long, but you’ll leave energized) and a more straightforward compositional perspective with Glass’s moving score to the Cocteau masterpiece La Belle et la Bete. If you’ve never experienced a music-and-film night in Royce Hall, this is a great opportunity, even if you’re not familiar with Glass’ oeuvre. The hall is glorious, well, always, but something about the marriage of music and film makes it even more so.
In dance, we’re proud to showcase two very different, and yet equally compelling perspectives of Jerome Bel. The French choreographer is very well known for shattering convention and even pushing buttons. We present his portrait of renowned Merce Cunningham company (among many others) dancer, Cédric Andrieux, who will be here performing the work himself in a thought-provoking evening that merges multiple forms of modern dance and a bit of spoken word, all in service of deciphering exactly what drives an artist. The performance is as much a question to Cedric from Jerome as it is an answer back, and as it is a query from Jerome to himself—and to us.
We will also present one of Bel’s most controversial works, The Show Must Go On, which essentially entails a group of movers (a mix of professional dancers and other performers) literally acting out the lyrics of popular music, as played by a live DJ.
We’ll be casting this work with local dancers and really look forward to giving the dance community the chance to work with Bel and his collaborators. We think it will be an experience of a lifetime for them.
As for the audience, we’ll get to see a whole ‘nother side of Bel and our perceptions of pop culture will be challenged, called in to question, maybe even clarified a bit here and there.
Many thanks to everyone who joined us last night in Royce Hall before David Sedaris took the stage as Kristy Edmunds unveiled our upcoming season.
It’s a doozy, with plenty of theater and dance, the launch of Tune-In Festival L.A.– a weekend of amazing contemporary music– plus so much more. We welcome you to dive in and discover it all.
Check out our teaser video and peruse our online program guide. And, we sincerely thank you for all the energy you brought to our artists and programs over the last season. Here’s to more amazing times ahead.