CLASSICAL GOES UNCONVENTIONAL
UMD Pair Preps NY Philharmonic for Whimsical Performance A TEA PARTY. Stomping feet. Arm wres-
tling. Inspired by research at Maryland’s School of Music, June performances of Stravinsky’s ballet “Petrushka” by the New York Philharmonic won’t look like a typical night at Lincoln Center. James Ross, associate professor and director of orchestral activity at Maryland, and visual artist Doug Fitch, a former UMD artist in residence, are working with the famed orchestra to prepare their theatricalization of “Petrushka,” in which the ensemble itself will tell much of the story through staging and movement. “I think we have the chance with this project to attract new audiences,” says Ed
Yim, the philharmonic’s vice president of artistic planning. “It’s different and spectacular and whimsical.” The idea to merge puppets, costumes, props and video into the concert experience grew out of the school’s New Lights Initiative, which challenges students and faculty from various disciplines to redefine and de-ritualize the concert experience. Ross and Fitch collaborated on the University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra on “Petrushka” in 2008 to critical acclaim, and news of the unconventional performance traveled to the New York Philharmonic. “Never would anybody dream of
asking an orchestra like the New York Philharmonic to get on their feet in the middle of the concert and start juggling handkerchiefs or having a tea party in the French horn section,” says Fitch. “But we did and they were excited about this new opportunity to be creative.” Ross says the Philharmonic’s embrace of this project is a bold leap forward for professional orchestras and confirms the value of the research in the arts at Maryland: “There seems to be a life for this kind of work in the highestlevel arts organizations of our country where Maryland’s creative research is viewed as vital.”–BC
Watch the new “TerpVision” segment on the New Lights Initiative at terpvision.umd.edu.
PHOTOS BY JOHNPHOTOS T. CONSOLI; BY EDOUARD PHOTO CREDITS GETAZ; ORCHESTRA PHOTO BY STAN BAROUH
SPRING 2013 TERP 11