Pacific Symphony, Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring
"It's truly a collaborative project," says Crawford. "While our school's choreographers, designers, dancers and musicians are digging deeply into the heritage of this hugely influential work, our guiding vision is to create a new work that integrates digital media with the performing arts to embody a 'Rite of Spring' for the 21st century."
The original "Rite of Spring" was first performed in 1913 with choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky. The Sacre Project uses new dance material created by three choreographers, processed and interpreted through digital video and motion tracking to examine notions of memory and embodiment. The Sacre Project situates dance in a non-traditional setting, incorporating advanced visual and sonic environments that interact with choreography and dancers to evoke an uneasy marriage between media installation and theatrical performance. The project launches at UCI in the Experimental Media Performance Lab, Feb. 20-24, before moving to the Samueli Theater at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts (next to the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall), June 6-8, in conjunction with the Symphony's concerts.
Admission is free but ticketed. For details on UCI's February events, contact the Arts Box Office (949) 824-2787 or visit arts.uci.edu/calendar. For more information on the Symphony's events, call (714) 755-5799 or visit PacificSymphony.org.
RERITING THE RITE OF SPRING
But even that's just for starters. The creatively inclined public is being invited to be part of the ReRite Project and remix, reinterpret and/or reimagine this influential piece of music through modern-day sensibilities, becoming a part of history by submitting to ReRiteofSpring.org new artworks of all types (no boundaries!), for new music, art, dance pieces or anything anyone might conceive-utilizing "The Rite of Spring" as a source of inspiration. Resources are available on the website to assist participants in getting started, including orchestral samples available for downloading and remixing. All submissions, whether visual, musical or otherwise (even internet meme parodies!), are being aggregated on the ReRite of Spring website for viewing, to inspire new creations and collaborations, and to also serve in perpetuity as a public tribute to the centennial. There is no correct way to participate; imaginations are encouraged to fly. The project also includes presentations of selected works on view in various settings such as the concert hall lobby, at the Plazacast and other exhibition spaces in collaboration with arts partners (to be announced).
"With the ReRite Project, I see Pacific Symphony as the curator of a public tribute to this important anniversary in music history," says Kurt Mortensen, director of audience engagement. "Harnessing the power of social media and the internet, people all over the world can express and share their creativity in celebration with others. It is my hope that we will get some collaborations going too. Since the call for works is multidisciplinary, like a ballet, it would be amazing to have someone create a dance video for someone else's music remix, for example."
"We wanted to make sure that everyone who wanted to could participate," continues Mortensen. "With internet memes being so ubiquitous and easily produced by computer users everywhere, it's a great way for virtually anyone to join in, have fun and mix a bit of pop culture humor into the mix. I'm really looking forward to seeing how clever people can get."
REINTERPRET: OCMA AND CENTER FOR LIVING PEACE
The Symphony's "Rite of Spring" celebration extends beyond the concert hall. Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) in Newport Beach is providing its own inspiration by inviting everyone participating in the Re-Rite of Spring project to take part in a workshop that explores the art of reinterpreting masterworks, plus take a private tour of its current exhibition, "Richard Jackson: Ain't Painting a Pain," on Sunday, March 24, at 2 p.m. This exhibition includes Jacksonian reinterpretations of canonical works by Jacques-Louis David, Edgar Degas, Marcel Duchamp, Jasper Johns, Pablo Picasso and Georges Seurat. Jackson, who was known for breaking rules and defying convention, is considered one of the most radical artists of the last 40 years, not unlike the artists who conceived "The Rite of Spring."
Artists participating in the ReRite project may be selected to display their artwork at the Center for Living Peace (one of OCMA's arts partners), as part of its third anniversary celebration, on May 18-19. The traveling "video booth" also takes up residence here during this same time period. The Center, located near UC Irvine campus," is founded on the belief that "good happens"-that one kind act can inspire a multitude of good deeds. The Center offers a variety of community programs, events and service opportunities that give back and make Good Happen in the community. For more information, visit www.goodhappens.org.
THE INSPIRATION: STRAVINSKY AND HIS WORK
Stravinsky wrote many important works in the repertoire of classical music, but he is best known for his first three ballet scores: "The Firebird" (1910), "Petrushka" (1911) and "The Rite of Spring" (1913). At 27, the largely unknown composer was commissioned to write "The Firebird" for Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes and it put Stravinsky on the musical map. This was a more traditional piece, which owed a lot of its style to his teacher Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. During the writing process, the Russian philosopher/artist Nicholas Roerich told Stravinsky about an idea for a ballet depicting a pagan ritual in which a young maiden dances herself to death.
Stravinsky began to sketch out ideas for this concept while writing "The Firebird." Although he intended to focus on this as his next project, Stravinsky got sidetracked the following year with what became his second ballet score for the Ballets Russes, "Petrushka," a work which demonstrated the composer's more personal and unique musical style. It was also his first time working with the dancer Vaslav Nijinsky, who performed the role of the puppet Petrushka. Stravinsky was becoming a rising star in the classical music world, but it was his third piece for the Ballets Russes with Nijinsky as choreographer "The Rite of Spring" and the controversy surrounding it that ensured his legacy.