BSO Partners with Parsons New School of Design to Reinvent the Concert Experience
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) and BSO Music Director Marin Alsop are passionate about breaking down barriers that separate orchestras from their audiences. In keeping with that vision, Maestra Alsop has funded a pilot partnership with Parsons The New School for Design to create new interactions between the orchestra and its audience through a re-imagining of traditional concert dress. This semester-long collaborative studio will investigate new fashions and wearable technologies that emphasize a networked world of musicians, audiences, the music being performed and the concert hall facility.
“The basic concert black worn by nearly every orchestra across the globe has been the status quo for hundreds of years,” says Maestra Alsop. “It’s time to reinvent the modern orchestra. In honor of my friend and mentor, Tomio Taki—a leader in the fashion industry and Parsons board member--I’ve invited the talented students at Parsons to apply their creativity to the concert experience. These students are innovators in design and fashion and I'm excited to see their vision for the BSO for the 21st century. Concert attire is just the start. Our goal is to erase any pre-conceived notions of what a concert should look like and create an experience that is as inspiring as the music we perform.”
To facilitate this vision, an interdisciplinary class of 16 Parsons students will spend the fall 2012 semester exploring the intersection of fashion design and technology, under the direction of Parsons faculty members Dr. Sabine Seymour and Scott Peterman, an alumnus of the Parsons MFA Design and Technology program. On Friday, September 14, Parsons students will travel to the BSO’s home, the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, in Baltimore, Md. to observe the Orchestra musicians, analyze their motions and begin to visualize the interactivity, the music and to conceptualize a fashionable attire that integrates new fabrics and wearable technologies. Parsons students will document the creative process throughout the semester
“Working with Marin is a deep honor for Parsons. Her vision and innovative spirit are unparalleled,” said Joel Towers, Executive Dean of Parsons The New School for Design.
The final product will result in 5-10 prototypes of new concert attire for men and women in today’s modern orchestras. This project is the first stage in a long-term BSO-Parsons partnership that emphasizes new thinking and innovative design, from community programming to the concert hall environment, to help shape and advance an orchestra in the 21st century.
About Marin Alsop
Hailed as one of the world’s leading conductors for her artistic vision and commitment to accessibility in classical music, Marin Alsop made history with her appointment as the 12th music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. With her inaugural concerts in September 2007, she became the first woman to head a major American orchestra. She also holds the title of conductor emeritus at the Bournemouth Symphony in the United Kingdom, where she served as the principal conductor from 2002-2008, and is music director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California. In February 2011, Marin Alsop was named the music director of the Orquestra Sinfônica do estado de São Paulo (OSESP), or the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, beginning in the 2012-13 season.
In 2005, Ms. Alsop was named a MacArthur Fellow, the first conductor ever to receive this prestigious award. In 2007, she was honored with a European Women of Achievement Award, in 2008 she was inducted as a fellow into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2009 Musical America named her “Conductor of the Year.” In November 2010, she was inducted into the Classical Music Hall of Fame. Ms. Alsop was named to Guardian’s Top 100 Women list in March 2011. In 2011 Marin Alsop was named an Artist in Residence at the Southbank Centre in London, England.
A regular guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic, Ms. Alsop appears frequently as a guest conductor with the most distinguished orchestras around the world. In addition to her performance activities, she is also an active recording artist with award-winning cycles of Brahms, Barber and Dvo?ák.
Marin Alsop attended Yale University and received her master’s degree from The Juilliard School. In 1989, her conducting career was launched when she won the Koussevitzky Conducting Prize at Tanglewood where she studied with Leonard Bernstein.
About the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
The Grammy Award-winning Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) is internationally recognized as having achieved a preeminent place among the world's most important orchestras. Acclaimed for its enduring pursuit of artistic excellence, the BSO has attracted a devoted national and international following while maintaining deep bonds throughout Maryland with innovative education and community outreach initiatives.
The BSO made musical history in September 2007, when Maestra Marin Alsop led her inaugural concerts as the Orchestra’s 12th music director, making her the first woman to head a major American orchestra. With her highly praised artistic vision, her dynamic musicianship and her commitment to accessibility in classical music, Maestra Alsop’s leadership has ushered in a new era for the BSO and its audiences.
Under Music Director Marin Alsop’s leadership, the BSO has rapidly added several critically acclaimed albums to its already impressive discography. The BSO and Maestra Alsop partnered with the Naxos label to record a three-disk Dvo?ák symphony cycle. The first disc, which includes Symphony No. 9, “From the New World” and Symphonic Variations, was released in February 2008. The second disk in this cycle features Symphonies Nos. 7 and 8, was released in June 2010, and the third disk features Symphony No. 6, Nocturne in B major, and Scherzo capriccioso was released in 2010. Following the success of the BSO’s cycle of Dvo?ák recordings, the BSO released two new recordings in 2012. The first features Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra and Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, and the second, Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, “Titan.” The BSO and Maestra Alsop also recorded and released with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet a one-disk recording of Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue & Piano Concerto in 2010. In August 2009, the BSO and Marin Alsop released Bernstein’s Mass featuring baritone Jubilant Sykes, the Morgan State University Choir and the Peabody Children’s Chorus. The album rose to number six on the Classical Billboard Charts and received a 2009 Grammy nomination for Best Classical Album. The Orchestra made its foray into online distribution in April 2007 with the release of a live-concert recording of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring on iTunes, which quickly became the site’s number one classical music download.
In addition to the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, where the orchestra has performed for 28 years, the BSO is a founding partner and the resident orchestra at the state-of-the-art Music Center at Strathmore, just outside of Washington, D.C. With the opening of Strathmore in February 2005, the BSO became the nation’s only major orchestra with year-round venues in two metropolitan areas.
About Parsons The New School for Design
Parsons The New School for Design is one of the leading institutions for art and design education in the world. Based in New York but active around the world, the school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the full spectrum of design disciplines. Critical thinking and collaboration are at the heart of a Parsons education. Parsons graduates are leaders in their respective fields, with a shared commitment to creatively and critically addressing the complexities of life in the 21st century. For more information, please visit http://www.newschool.edu/parsons.