The University of Washington celebrates the 100th anniversary of Stravinsky’s groundbreaking work with performances, lectures
When The Rite of Spring debuted in 1913, a riot ensued. The audience was enraged by the provocative ballet performed by Ballets Russes, which featured dissonant music by Igor Stravinsky and modernist choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky. A century later, The Rite of Spring remains a touchstone in the arts world. To celebrate the centennial of this groundbreaking work, the UW will offer a series of events – both performances and lectures – throughout spring 2013.
History & Significance of The Rite of Spring
Premiering in 1913, The Rite of Spring might be considered the most important single moment in the history of 20th century art, and its influence continues to be acknowledged across today’s cultural landscape.
Written for the 1913 Paris season of Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, with choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky, stage design and costumes by Nikolai Roerich, and full orchestral score by Igor Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring is a musical-choreographic masterpiece that represents primal pagan Russia and embodies the mystery and creative omnipotence of spring.
The first performance at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees in Paris on May 29, 1913 caused a near riot in the audience and left an indelible mark on performance history. The Rite challenged the sexual morality of the established disciplined and self-restrained order in Western Europe, and depicted birth, life and death as brutal, tragic, beyond individual fate and without moral purpose. The music was jarring, lacking in traditional beauty, with only a few brief melodic lines inspired by Russian folk music. Written for a massive orchestra of 120 instruments, the violence, dissonance and cacophony in the score were perceived to be as primitive as the theme. The story itself tells an elemental tale of the celebration of the coming of spring, and the pagan ritual of a virgin sacrifice. Read more...
Performances of the Rite of Spring
January 18 -19 | 7:30 p.m. | Meany Hall
Meany Hall will be bursting with talent as UW Dance presents Faculty Dance/Collaborations. On the program is Stravinsky’s iconic The Rite of Spring (Koch), José Limón’s tribute to Isadora Duncan, Dances for Isadora, and the premiere of A Small Piece of the Story (Salk). Faculty artists from UW Dance, Music and Drama combine forces and create choreography, perform music and design costumes for advanced undergraduates, guest artists and community dancers. This ultimate collaboration is certain to be a highlight in the arts on campus this season. Read more about the concert in the latest issue of Perspectives.
UW World Series: Compagnie Marie Chouinard
January 24-26 | 8:00 p.m. | Meany Hall
The presentation of Compagnie Marie Choiunard features a partnership between UW World Series and the UW School of Music. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, the company will perform Le Sacre du Printemps with the UW Symphony Orchestra. The program also includes 24 Preludes set to the music of Chopin performed live by pianist Brooks Tran, a UW School of Music doctoral student. (Recommended for mature audiences. This performance contains partial nudity.)
UW World Series: Jon Kimura Parker
May 8 | 7:30 p.m. | Meany Hall
Insightful and energetic Jon “Jackie” Kimura Parker is one of today’s most sought-after pianists. His incredible showmanship, coupled with a fine-tuned attention to detail, is a signature of his illustrious performing career. Parker’s Meany Hall program includes his own exciting transcription of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.
The Rite Centennial Lecture Series
The Rite Centennial Lecture Series will explore how the premiere of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring had a lasting impact on Western culture and aesthetics, from the original Nijinsky choreography performed by Ballets Russes and subsequent reconstructions and re-imaginations of this ballet, to today’s composers and their own revolutionary visions for the future of music. All lectures and demonstrations at the Henry Art Gallery will be presented by UW Dance and Music faculty, as well as graduate student members, in partnership with the UW World Series. Related lectures by dance scholars will take place in the UW Dance program and prior to selected performances at Meany Hall. All lectures are free and open to the public and will last about 90 minutes each.
The Reconstruction of Nijinsky’s Rite of Spring
January 11 | 7:00 p.m. | Henry Art Gallery | FREE
Watch a screening of a one-hour PBS documentary The Search for Nijinsky's Rite of Spring on the historical significance of The Rite of Spring and subsequent reconstruction by the Joffrey Ballet in 1987, followed by a Q&A with UW School of Music and Dance Program faculty.
Martha Carter from MMProductions and associate of Cie Marie Chouinard,
“The Spine, The Soul & The Rite of Spring”
February 6 | 5:00 p.m. | Meany Hall Dance Studio 266 | FREE
In this Dance Research Symposium Lecture, scholar and innovator Martha Carter, who has worked extensively with Compagnie Marie Chouinard, shares her research and choreographic practice, and talks about herpersonal experience working on Marie Chouinard’s re-creation of The Rite of Spring. The lecture is offered in partnership with UW Dance Program
The Rite, Then and Now
February 15 | 7:00 p.m. | Henry Art Gallery | FREE
Faculty members Jürg Koch and Betsy Cooper from UW Dance Program discuss The Rite of Spring over the years and share film clips of influential versions of “Rite.” Jürg shares his experience choreographing his own version of The Rite of Spring for the UW faculty dance concert, premiering on January 18 at Meany Hall for the Performing Arts.
Music of Today with Huck Hodge
March 21 | 7:00 p.m. | Henry Art Gallery | FREE
In this lecture/performance, UW School of Music professor Huck Hodge will demonstrate his unorthodox approach to sonic art through the use of sound-making toys and the repurposing of acoustic instruments. It will also demonstrate how seemingly unmusical noises (satellite chatter, ambulance sirens, cell phone radiation, short-wave radio transmissions, etc.) can be transformed into tapestries of immense sonic beauty.
Music of Today with Abby Aresty
April 25 | 7:00 p.m. | Henry Art Gallery | FREE
In this lecture, Abby Aresty, a UW School of Music Graduate student, shares her most recent work in which she investigates the role of breath in music through creative manipulations of a performer’s relationship to her own breath.
Music of Today with Cuong Vu
May 16 | 7:00 p.m. | Henry Art Gallery | FREE
Cuong Vu, Assistant Professor in the School of Music, and his guests will perform and discuss the avant-garde, free improvisation, and experimentation/innovation he uses to create his forward-thinking music.
Funding for the Rite of Spring Centennial Lecture Series provided by