Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performs Philip Glass Co-commission, Icarus at the Edge of Time, January 14-16
Host of National Public Radio's Weekend Edition Scott Simon narrates
Baltimore, Md. (December 21, 2010) - Music director Marin Alsop leads the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in a Greek myth for our times to be performed on Friday, January 14 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, January 16 at 3 p.m. at Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and Saturday, January 15 at 8 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore. Baltimore native Philip Glass and author Brian Greene have teamed up to present a multimedia recreation of Icarus at the Edge of Time, Greene's board book for children. The host of National Public Radio's Weekend Edition Scott Simon will narrate. Mark-Anthony Turnage's Ceres and John Williams' Star Wars Suite will also be performed. Please see below for complete program details.
Icarus at the Edge of Time retells the classic Greek myth of Icarus in a futuristic context. The story illustrates an interstellar voyage of Icarus and his family, where the young boy is fated to live and die aboard a spaceship, and weaves a tale vividly demonstrating Einstein's theory of relativity in relation to a black hole. Icarus, despite warnings from his father, flies too close to a black hole and experiences the curvature of space-time. When the boy returns to his father and the spaceship, thousands of years have passed him, and it is too late to reconnect with loved ones.
Greene drew inspiration from his childhood in reconstructing this classic fable. The story works to convey two important messages to young readers: in changing the world, a great scientist may have to cope with the implications of his/her exploration and an understanding that science is a "wonderful, dramatic adventure story" and applicable in our world. The World Science Festival in New York City and London's Royal Society of Science, two leading scientific organizations, commissioned the work along with the Southbank Centre.
Composer John Williams score for the first Star Wars movie won an Oscar, a British Oscar and a Grammy Award. In 2005, it was deemed by the American Film Institute the greatest American movie score of all time. Williams went on to score all six Star Wars films, creating in total some 14 hours of extravagant symphonic music. In order to enhance each movie's connection to classic myths and tales, Williams and Star Wars creator George Lucas made the joint decision to base the music in tradition, making it emotionally familiar to compliment the unimaginable character of the films in an epic series which touches upon all the great human subjects in life. In the performance, a sequence of seven pieces will be played: four numbers drawn from the first film, two from the prequel The Phantom Menace and one from Attack of the Clones.
Ceres, commonly referred to as the dwarf planet, became an "orchestral asteroid" when British composer Mark-Anthony Turnage was inspired to create the masterful work, Ceres, which musically portrays an asteroid impact. Turnage was fascinated by the apocalyptic aspect of asteroids and the capability they have in destroying this world. "The idea of this piece is that different solid blocks of sound (the first two being a melody with a blooming clarinet accompaniment followed by a syncopated trombone idea) one after another in a thick, climactic passage collide and then separate again," explains Turnage. The performance, most powerful in nature, comes across almost eerily as cellos playing under the bridge of their instruments create a wistful and chilling ambiance, in which the mind can only imagine blind and wayward solitude in a black abyss.
Marin Alsop, conductor
Hailed as one of the world's leading conductors for her artistic vision and commitment to accessibility in classical music, Marin Alsop made history with her appointment as the 12th music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. With her inaugural concerts in September 2007, she became the first woman to head a major American orchestra. She also holds the title of conductor emerita at the Bournemouth Symphony in the United Kingdom, where she served as the principal conductor from 2002-2008, and is music director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California.
In 2005, Ms. Alsop was named a MacArthur Fellow, the first conductor ever to receive this prestigious award. In 2007, she was honored with a European Women of Achievement Award; in 2008, she was inducted as a fellow into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and in 2009, Musical America named her "Conductor of the Year".
A regular guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic, Ms. Alsop appears frequently as a guest conductor with the most distinguished orchestras around the world. In addition to her performance activities, she is also an active recording artist with award-winning cycles of Brahms, Barber and Dvorak.
Marin Alsop attended Yale University and received her master's degree from The Juilliard School. In 1989, her conducting career was launched when she won the Koussevitzky Conducting Prize at Tanglewood where she studied with Leonard Bernstein.
Scott Simon, narrator
NPR's Peabody Award-winning correspondent Scott Simon hosts Weekend Edition Saturday. Mr. Simon joined NPR in 1977 as chief of its Chicago bureau. Since then, he has reported from all 50 states, covered presidential campaigns and eight wars. In 2002, Mr. Simon took leave of his usual post at Weekend Edition Saturday to cover the war in Afghanistan for NPR. He has also reported from Central America on the continuing wars in that region; from Cuba on the nation's resistance to change; from Ethiopia on the country's famine and prolonged civil war; from the Middle East
during the Gulf War; and from the siege of Sarajevo and the destruction of Kosovo. He has received numerous honors for his reporting. His work was part of the Overseas Press Club and Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards NPR earned for coverage of Sept. 11 and its aftermath. He was part of the NPR news teams that won Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards for covering the war in Kosovo as well as the Gulf War. In 1989, he won a George Foster Peabody Award for his weekly radio essays.
COMPLETE PROGRAM INFORMATION
BSO Classical Concert: Icarus at the Edge of Time
Friday, January 14, 2011 at 8 p.m. - Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 8 p.m. - The Music Center at Strathmore
Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 3 p.m. - Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Marin Alsop, conductor
Scott Simon, narrator
Mark-Anthony Turnage: Ceres
John Williams: Star Wars Suite
Philip Glass: Icarus at the Edge of Time
Tickets range from $28 to $88. Tickets are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org.