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Mar 232013

Blair Vortex VORTEX and the Bad Boy! George Antheil's restored Ballet mécanique

I’m going to call it. The April 7th Blair School of Music event VORTEX and the Bad Boy! will be the most ambitious, satisfying, and important Nashville event of 2013. People will talk about it for years. Those who miss it will regret it for years.

How can I be so sure about that?

Well, for starters:

  • Blair Percussion VORTEX director Michael Holland organized last year’s John Cage Centennial, the most important event of 2012.  This lobby musicircus featured over 75 performers, and that was just the pre-show!
  • The April 7th event centers around the groundbreaking 1924 experimental film and musical composition Ballet Mécanique, directed by Fernand Léger and Dudley Murphy and scored by George Antheil.
  • The film will be projected with LIVE orchestration, featuring 8 PLAYER PIANOS, 13 live musicians, xylophones, bass drums, electric bells, airplane propellers, and more!
  • This is the original restored orchestration and film in its southeaster US premiere, only the 6th US production featuring the original orchestration with the film.
  • The daylong symposium features a myriad of events, including a Q&A with Paul Lehrman who used robotics and MIDI processing to make the original Ballet mécanique playable again; an Antheil documentary; a presentation by MuTant project director Arshia Cont on how computers have learned to play along with human musicians; and a lecture by Rice University Art History professor Gordon Hughes, author of “The Painter’s Revenge: Fernand Léger For and Against Cinema.”
  • A invading army of robots will take over the Blair campus, presented by the Middle Tennessee Robotic Art Society.
  • The lobby features an interactive movie installation by Greg Pond and Benton C. Bainbridge, featuring custom-designed 3D printed parts.
  • The lobby also features interactive audio compositions by Liz Clayton Scofield.
  • The concert program features 6 additional compositions including works by Brian Blume, Henry Cowell, Nigel Westlake, John Cage and Lou Harrison, and Felix Mendelssohn.
  • Mendelssohn’s Saltarello-Presto will be played by 8 robotically controlled pianos, arranged by Paul Lehrman.
  • Brian Blume’s Strands of Time [video] and Nigel Westlake’s Moving Air [video] combine live percussionists with prerecorded soundscapes.
  • The entire event is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!

I STRONGLY suggest you come early to secure your seat. With the success of last year’s John Cage Centennial and the enormous buzz around VORTEX and the Bad Boy, Ingram Hall may reach capacity well before showtime.

You can find out more on the Vanderbilt Blair School of Music website.

Blair Percussion VORTEX presents the Southeastern U.S. premiere of George Antheil’s restored Ballet mécanique
Sunday, April 7
Blair School of Music (across from the intersection of 25th and Blakemore/Wedgewood, Nashville, TN)
1:30-5 p.m., Ballet mécanique mini-symposium, Choral Hall
6:45 p.m., Robotics, Music, New Media Art, Ingram Lobby
8 p.m., VORTEX concert, Ingram Hall