The Future of Concert Production: New World Symphony Premières Video Work for Britten's 'Peter Grimes'

By Louise Burton on Aug 31, 2013 10:52 AM EDT

The New World Symphony will première a new work for video on October 5 that makes the most of the orchestra's new high-tech, video-friendly concert hall. Artist and filmmaker Tal Rosner created a video that will be shown on the huge projection screens that arch across the stage during the orchestra's performance of "Four Sea Interludes" from the Benjamin Britten opera Peter Grimes.

Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas will conduct this season-opening concert, which also includes Gershwin's Cuban Overture and Piano Concerto in F performed by pianist Yuja Wang, as well as Stravinsky's Pulcinella Suite. 

The program will be repeated on October 6.

The New World Symphony, based in Miami Beach, Fla., is known as a high-caliber training orchestra for recent graduates of prestigious music schools. But it is also becoming clear that the group is a leader in multimedia technology, presenting concerts that incorporate film and other media. The orchestra presents a series of "Wallcast" concerts, using a giant wall of video screens built into the outside of the concert hall. These screens are used to broadcast videos of the orchestra's performance to listeners on the lawn outside.

According to Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times, you will be seeing more of these at concerts in the future.

Rosner's new video work was co-commissioned by the NWS, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony.

Peter Grimes tells the story of a fisherman haunted by the mysterious deaths of two apprentices. The "Four Sea Interludes" were written for the intervals between scenes of the opera and designed to guide the listener musically from one environment to the next.

Rosner was inspired by this musical concept to explore images of the space between destinations and the structures that connect them: bridges, roads and overpasses. He has dedicated each movement of the piece to one of the four cities where the work will be performed. Rosner shot original footage in each location, filming the city's architecture, geography and waterways.

Rosner said about the commission, "I am particularly thrilled to be working with music from Peter Grimes, a composition that I was introduced to early in life which changed the way I understood opera, and a work that has interested me since 2008, when Michael Tilson Thomas and I first discussed collaborating on this project."

Rosner helped inaugurate the orchestra's New World Center in 2011, a state-of-the-art concert hall with large video screens that was designed by Frank Gehry. Rosner created a video to accompany Thomas Adés' Polaris: A Voyage for Orchestra, a commissioned work that was featured in the New World Symphony's first performance in its video-friendly space.

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TagsNew World Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas, Tal Rosner, New World Center, Britten, Four Sea Interludes, Peter Grimes, Gershwin, Yuja Wang, Stravinsky, Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, Thomas Adès

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