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'Oresteia': An Open Air Spectacle of Mythic Proportions at CalArts

Levitt Pavilions Presents
The Wild Beast Concert Series at CalArts
2010/11 Season

Iannis Xenakis' modern opera unites the essence of classical Greek theater with an electrifying sonic experience.

August 31, Los Angeles—California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) is pleased to announce the second event of The Wild Beast Concert Series, presented by Levitt Pavilions. Staged as a participatory open-air spectacle, Oresteia highlights a city-wide celebration of pioneering musician and architect Iannis Xenakis.  In Xenakis' opera, a savage elemental score evokes the mythic tragedy by ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus.  Presented by the Herb Alpert School of Music at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), a concert staging of Oresteia will make its West Coast premiere on Sunday, November 7, at 4 p.m. at The Wild Beast music pavilion on CalArts' Valencia campus Oresteia is the second event in CalArts' Wild Beast Concert Series.

From November 2010 through February 2011, a constellation of events and exhibitions, at venues throughout Los Angeles, will celebrate the life and work of Iannis Xenakis.  Oresteia is presented in conjunction with the opening of MOCA Pacific Design Center's exhibition, Iannis Xenakis: Composer, Architect, Visionary.

The original Oresteia, from the fifth century B.C., chronicles the dark epic of the House of Atreus. Of Xenakis' interpretation, music critic, Paul Griffiths wrote, he "situates his modernity in the distant past, as if his music were all about revivifying an archaic culture, making the statues speak—and sing." 

Sung in Greek, Xenakis' Oresteia reflects the atmosphere of an ancient theatrical event.  For the CalArts performance, audience members will receive archaic-style percussion instruments with which to participate in the unfolding drama.  A 13-piece ensemble of wind instruments, brass and amplified solo cello will be joined by CalArts faculty baritone soloist Paul Berkolds and conductor by Mark Menzies.  With men's, women's and children's choruses roaming CalArts' grounds—the setting sun will create an evocative backdrop for Xenakis' interpretation of a timeless masterwork.

CalArts' Herb Alpert School of Music Dean David Rosenboom knew Xenakis and is well versed in the composer's innovative musical practices.  He conceived of the Los Angeles-based celebration of the composer's work with Xenakis scholar Sharon Kanach and critic Carey Lovelace. Kanach and Lovelace co-curated the exhibition, Iannis Xenakis: Composer, Architect, Visionary which appeared at the Drawing Center in New York in 2009 and will open at MOCA Pacific Design Center in November 2010.

In January, REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater) will present Iannis Xenakis: Now and Tomorrow—three days of contemporary electronic and high-tech sound events intermixed with Xenakis' extraordinary instrumental pieces.

Levitt Pavilions Presents
The Wild Beast Concert Series at CalArts
Oresteia, composed  by Iannis Xenakis
California Institute of the Arts
24700 McBean Parkway, Valencia, CA 91355-2340
Admission is free.
661 253 7816

Levitt Pavilions Presents
The Wild Beast Concert Series at CalArts
2010/11 Season

Sunday, November 7, 2010 - 4:00 p.m.

Saturday, April 23, 2011 - 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 8, 2011 - 7:00 p.m.

The Wild Beast Concert Series is presented by Levitt Pavilions, a national nonprofit organization that inspires and strengthens communities through free live music experiences.  Lifting the lives of hundreds of thousands, the national Levitt program brings joy to diverse communities coast to coast.  Central to Levitt Pavilions' mission is the development and support of Levitt pavilions as community gathering spaces, forming the only national network of outdoor venues with free programming, with two Southern California locations—Old Pasadena and MacArthur Park in Los Angeles.   With exceptional entertainment and welcoming spaces for families, friends and neighbors of all ages and backgrounds, Levitt pavilions are community treasures.  "We are thrilled to present the inaugural season of the Wild Beast Concert Series at CalArts, taking our program beyond the performances presented in Levitt Pavilions around the country," noted Sharon Yazowski, Executive Director of Levitt Pavilions. "This is a natural partnership. We are committed to providing communities with high quality live music experiences and making the arts accessible to all.  We are extremely excited to expand our efforts into the Santa Clarita Valley and beyond."

Last edited by dthatt on Jul 28, 2011
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