POSTED ON FEBRUARY 1, 2012:
There's a lot more to the West than meets the eye and ear
Lush and stunning American landscapes on large screens set to symphonic music? This exquisite merging of sound and images is the Tulsa Symphony's The American West, featuring James Westwater's photo-choreography masterfully set to Copland's Suite from Billy the Kid.
Photo-choreography is the innovative art form that takes evocative photographic montages, and choreographs them to selected classical pieces of music. There can be hundreds of thematically-related photographs that are projected onto a panoramic screen suspended above the orchestra. This somewhat new art form has been performed by more than 150 orchestras across North America and abroad by now.
"This production is a giant slice of Americana. Combining James Westwater's beautiful photo-choreography to the music of Aaron Copland will provide our audience with a spectacular treat. The entire evening is one we've been looking forward to all season," said Todd Cunningham, Tulsa Symphony.
Copland's Suite from Billy the Kid sprouts from the corral in a springy up and down motion, vaguely like a drunken square dance after too much moonshine. It evokes a playfulness that harkens back to his brief dabbling in jazz and avant-garde. Copland, sometimes referred to as "the Dean of American Composers" is known for his works in the '30s and '40s, and for his evocative expression of the "sound" of the American West.
Copland also wrote ballet scores to Rodeo and Appalachian Spring. The slowly changing harmonies and large, open sound of the Billy the Kid Suite became, at some point in the mid-20th century, the quintessential sound of American music. Copland also produced music in other genres, including opera and film scores, and chamber music.
Roy Harris' Symphony No.3 begins the evening's romp into cowboy country. Harris was born in a log cabin in Chandler, Okla., on Abe Lincoln's birthday (Feb. 12). How much more American can one get?
So it is not without coincidence that this performance coincides with the confluence of Lincoln's Birthday and that of George Washington's (Feb. 20), preparing us for the upcoming national holiday of Presidents' Day, on Feb. 20.
"To open with an Oklahoma composer followed by the combination of Copland and Westwater and concluding with the beautiful "Grand Canyon Suite" by Grofe will take us all on an incredible journey through the American West," Cunningham said.
The head of this wagon train into American Classics land will be lead by guest conductor Timothy Muffitt, who serves as Music Director and Conductor of the Baton Rouge Symphony and appears with other prestigious orchestras across the country, including the San Francisco Symphony and the Hollywood Bowl.
Get your slice of awe-inspiring American pie for this one night only performance by calling 918-596-7111. The American West is presented at the Chapman Music Hall of the Tulsa Performing Arts Center on Feb. 4 at 7:30pm.
Celebrating the past is always good fodder for the unimaginative, unless you are banking on an international icon like Will Rogers, Jim Thorpe, a Depression Era gangster or poet. Woody at One Hundred: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Celebration 1912-2012, opening at the very appropriate Gilcrease Museum on Feb. 5, is a case in point. Curated by The GRAMMY Museum and the Woody Guthrie Archives, the exhibit will run through April 29. The exhibit, which will consist of Guthrie's journals, artwork, lyrics and ephemera from his life, will also display the original draft of this more than one hit wonder. Who knew the redwood forests and gulf stream waters might have had competition with purple mountains' majesty above the fruited plain?
"Having lived through the oil 'boom and bust' days in his hometown of Okemah, Okla., Woody Guthrie came to care for working men and women, and, later, experienced discrimination first-hand upon his arrival in California seeking better fortunes to support his family. I think Oklahomans can relate to the struggle many working families are experiencing today, and the life experience and songs of Woody Guthrie strike a familiar theme -- even today," said Melani Hamilton, Communication Manager for Gilcrease Museum.
"Visitors to the Woody Guthrie exhibition at Gilcrease will have the first glimpse into the Guthrie Archives which will soon find a permanent home in Tulsa, thanks to the George Kaiser Family Foundation. The exhibition will provide an intimate look into the remarkable life, career and cultural legacy of Oklahoma native Woody Guthrie."
The Woody Guthrie Archives were purchased by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, a Tulsa-based charitable organization, in 2011 from Woody Guthrie Publications and plans to create a permanent home for them in Tulsa. There are also plans to make Guthrie's collection available for education and research in downtown Tulsa.
Can't get enough Guthrie goodness? Check out the The Woody Guthrie Centennial Celebration, March 5-11, which will include a conference at the University of Tulsa, and a tribute concert headlined by John Mellencamp and Arlo Guthrie. The GRAMMY Museum is producing a weeklong series of educational programming in conjunction with the exhibit and celebration, complete with the cast of the musical Woody Sez performing at area Tulsa elementary schools.
Exploring and celebrating the legacies of all forms of music, The GRAMMY Museum features 30,000 square feet of interactive and multimedia exhibits located within L.A. LIVE, the downtown Los Angeles sports, entertainment and residential district. It is regarded as a one-of-a-kind 21st-century wonderland that offers educational programs from an insider perspective. While driving to LA might seem like a bit of a stretch, it's wonderful to know their little bit of wonderland will make the Gutherie exhibit sparkle like wheat fields waving.
The Different Shade of Red Educational Conference at the University of Tulsa will explore Guthrie's Oklahoma roots. Three panels, each with three speakers, will include "A Culture of Protest," an examination of the cultural environment that shaped Guthrie's political views; "Red Dirt Roots," a look into Guthrie's musical influences; and "Echoes of Woody," a review of Guthrie's legacy in light of the Dust Bowl and Depression-era Oklahoma.
Still Molding Minds.
"For far too long, Woody Guthrie's contributions have not been fully appreciated in his home state of Oklahoma. Now, 100 years after his birth, we are able to honor his musical legacy, explore his societal contributions and truly appreciate this iconic piece of state -- and national -- history right here in the Heartland.
"The University of Tulsa is thrilled to kick off this yearlong celebration of Guthrie's multifaceted life," said Brian Hosmer, the H.G. Barnard Associate Professor of Western American History at TU.
For more information and to register for the conference, visit utulsa.edu/guthrie
The shiny star on the belt buckle of the Guthrie celebration will take place on Saturday evening, March 10, at the Brady Theatre. This Land is Your Land-The Woody Guthrie Centennial Celebration Concert is slated to feature popular artists such as Rosanne Cash, The Flaming Lips, Hanson, and Tim O'Brien to cover classic Guthrie songs.
Register for the March 10 TU educational conference by Friday, Feb. 3, will have a special opportunity to purchase advance tickets to the tribute concert.
To keep abreast of the Oklahoma native who made national cultural impact as clear as the endless skyways, check out the complete schedule of events for the nationwide celebration.
Not So Black & White
Philbrook Museum kicks off its 2012 season in stark contrast with the opening of Black on Black and White on Feb. 5. Featuring the work of photographer Laura Gilpin, and potter Maria Martinez, the mix of ceramics and photographs is sure to stir the senses of the New Mexican southwest.
In the vein of other, familiar feminine voices from this still inspiring high plains perch, the perspective on these offerings are refreshing. The connection between the people, the land, and the art-making traditions are further enriched by the artists' relationship with each other. The transcendence of boundaries of ethnicity creates further intrigue. Why place photographs next to pottery?
Pueblo people, thousands of years ago, created a technique of firing and painting pottery to give each piece a particular black-on-black finish. Martinez and her husband Julian, set out on an experiment to recreate (and capitalize grandly on) this fascinating finish. Later in her career, she was so in demand through showing her work at art shows and fairs nationwide, she began signing her work -- the first Pueblo potter to do so. Can you see your reflection in the shiny black on black inky masterpieces?
The grand expanses of Western landscape and the Native peoples who dwell there are captured in the black-and-white photography of Gilpin, whose career spans more than six decades.
Aerial landscapes sit side by side to Native sitters with rare glimpses into the lives and lifestyles these people led. One must wonder: did these two ladies share the same muse?
To further delight audiences, Philbrook Museum is running theses exhibits in tandem, beginning with a two month run in the Helmerich gallery, along with a new exhibit Seeking the Sacred: Religious Ritual in Native American Art for a two week run March 31-April 15. Special events for Museum Members will be offered March 29-31.
Send all comments and feedback regarding Arts Experienced to firstname.lastname@example.org
URL for this story: http://www.urbantulsa.comhttp://www.urbantulsa.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A46313