Tobias Picker's AWAKENINGS Score to be Performed at Mannes College The New School for Music, 5/2
The score from Tobias Picker's first ballet Awakenings will be performed in-concert for the first time at Mannes College The New School for Music on Friday, May 2 at 8 p.m. The ballet was originally commissioned and premiered in 2010 by the Rambert Dance Company in London, choreographed by Aletta Collins. Inspired by the themes and case studies in the novel by neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks, Awakenings tells the true-life stories of eight hospital patients that exist in a catatonic state of paralysis called "encephalitis lethargica" as doctors try to medicate them out of their stupor. The results are short-lived, often violent episodes of tics and seizures before the patients regress back into petrified inertia. Awakenings will be performed by the Mannes American Composers Ensemble (MACE) in the Concert Hall at Mannes College. Tickets are free and for more information, please visit www.newschool.edu/mannes.
Mr. Picker and Dr. Sacks met in 1990 and have since developed a close relationship with deep mutual respect and admiration for each other's work. Initially Mr. Picker, who is diagnosed with Tourette syndrome, was curious to discuss his condition with Dr. Sacks, who authored Musicophilia: Tales of Music and Brain, and how it might relate to his music. Mr. Picker says, "In composing Awakenings, I was inspired by the exquisite art and stunning imagery of Oliver Sacks' prose, and above all by the lives of the uniquely tragic patients he writes about. His book, Awakenings, written in the form of a series of case studies and footnotes, suggested the musical structure and characteristics of the score. While not specifically programmatic, I hope that the music may express some understanding of the patients as well as the sense of nostalgia, anger and longing they felt for their stolen past."
This concert is presented as part of the Contemporary Music Festival directed by faculty composer Lowell Liebermann. MACE, a large ensemble formed in 2012, performs the music of both established and emerging living American composers to provide a platform for contemporary American music. The program also includes the US premiere of Luna Pearl Woolf's Orpheus on Sappho's Shore.