Architect Frank Gehry to Create Set Design for Chicago Symphony Orchestra Focused on Pierre Boulez
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) announces the participation of world-renowned architect, Frank Gehry, in its November 2014 exploration of the life and career of Pierre Boulez, the revolutionary composer, conductor and curator whose 89th birthday was March 26, 2014.
These two CSO concerts, on November 14 and 16, 2014, are part of the CSO's Beyond the Score® series, which harnesses live and multimedia elements to delve into the history and creation of a particular piece of music or artist. The performance is a 75-minute kaleidoscopic play of music, words and imagery which features original stage design by Frank Gehry, as well as an ensemble of CSO musicians, actors, special lighting, and projections-including rare documentary footage of Boulez from the 1960s to the present day. To create a vivid portrait of this inimitable artist, live and recorded musical examples will be drawn from his entire catalogue, as well as from composers who have influenced Boulez's work, including Debussy, Schoenberg and Stravinsky. CSO Artistic Programming Advisor Gerard McBurney is Creative Director of Beyond the Score; Pablo Heras-Casado conducts.
"When I think of Pierre Boulez, I immediately think of him as a man of great culture," remarked CSO Music Director Riccardo Muti. "In honor of his 90th birthday, we are creating a tribute to him that will enable audiences to hear Pierre Boulez guide us through his music. To hear in his voice how he thought about each work as he created it, and also after he had time to reflect, is to understand how music is created and then re-created with every performance."
"Pierre Boulez and Frank Gehry have been close friends for many decades, so I am especially delighted that Frank can be an important part of celebrating Pierre this fall," said CSO President Deborah F. Rutter. "Frank's level of innovation in the field of design is equaled only by Pierre's innovation in music, making this collaboration such a natural one. Frank's work is widely acclaimed, and of course, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and BP Bridge that he designed-and which are right across the street from Symphony Center in Chicago-are beloved by Chicagoans and visitors alike. We look forward with great anticipation to seeing Frank's design on our own concert stage, and to witnessing how it will inspire our musicians and our audiences."
Through many decades, Gehry and Boulez have enjoyed a close friendship and mutual admiration as creative figures who have held firmly to their forward-looking vision. They met and worked together in Los Angeles during Boulez's regular visits to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Ojai Festival in the 1980s and 1990s. The composer himself has been and continues to be involved in the creation of this special production.
About Frank Gehry
Raised in Toronto, Canada, Frank Gehry moved with his family to Los Angeles in 1947. Gehry received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Southern California in 1954, and he studied City Planning at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. In subsequent years, Frank Gehry has built an architectural career that has spanned over five decades and produced public and private buildings in America, Europe and Asia. Hallmarks of Gehry's work include a particular concern that people exist comfortably within the spaces that he creates, and an insistence that his buildings address the context and culture of their sites and the budgets of his clients.
His work has earned Gehry several of the most significant awards in the architectural field. Frank Gehry was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in 1974, and his buildings have received over 100 national and regional A.I.A. awards, including the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; the Pritzker Architecture Prize, perhaps the premiere accolade of the field, honoring "significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture;" and the Wolf Prize in Art (Architecture) from the Wolf Foundation. In 1994, he became the first recipient of the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Award for lifetime contribution to the arts. In 1998, Gehry received the National Medal of Arts, and he became the first recipient of the Friedrich Kiesler Prize. He was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1987, a trustee of the American Academy in Rome in 1989, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1991
Gehry has held teaching positions at some of the world's most prestigious institutions including Harvard University, University of Southern California, University of California Los Angeles, Sci-Arc, University of Toronto, Columbia University, the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, and at Yale University where he still teaches today.
Some of Gehry's notable projects include Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain; Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California; Jay Pritzker Pavilion and BP Bridge in Millennium Park in Chicago, Illinois; New Campus for New World Symphony in Miami, Florida; Eight Spruce Street Residential Tower in New York City; and Opus Residential Tower in Hong Kong, to name a few. Current projects include: Guggenheim Abu Dhabi; LUMA Foundation in Arles, France; Divan Orchestra in Berlin; Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, D.C.; King Street Development in Toronto, Ontario; Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia; and Q-MOCA in Quanzhou, China.
About Pierre Boulez
Appointed the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus in 2006, Pierre Boulez is a composer, conductor, tireless advocate for new music and one of the most important musical and intellectual figures of our time. Boulez was named principal guest conductor of the CSO in March 1995, only the third person to hold that title in the Orchestra's history. An eloquent and passionate advocate of the music of the 20th and 21st centuries, Boulez has become one of Chicago's most popular conductors in his annual residencies with the Orchestra.
Born in 1925 in Montbrison, France, Pierre Boulez initially trained in mathematics and later pursued studies in piano, composition and choral conducting at the Paris Conservatory. In 1954, he founded the Concerts du Petit Marigny, one of the first concert series entirely dedicated to the performance of modern music. Throughout the next decade, he was much involved with musical analysis, and he taught in Darmstadt and at Basel University. In 1963, he was a visiting professor at Harvard University, and in 1976 he became a professor at the Collège de France.