Philharmonia Orchestra of New York Comes to Jazz at Lincoln Center This Spring
The Philharmonia Orchestra of New York (PONY) debut season at Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall will bring unprecedented visual spectacle to two landmark symphonies of Mahler and Berlioz in a pair of concerts under principal conductor Atsushi Yamada.
The first on March 29 brings together the most performers ever assembled onstage at Rose Theater for Mahler's monumental Symphony No. 2 "Resurrection" with PONY's 80-plus musicians and a chorus of 230 Japanese and American singers. The second on March 30 features Berlioz's tour-de-force Symphony Fantastique and a performance of Minoru Miki's Requiem for chorus, vocal soloists and piano in commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the 3/11 east Japan disaster and fifteenth anniversary of 9/11.
PONY will play each symphony accompanied by a full-length original film shot and projected in 4K, the latest in HD technology.
"We're trying to destroy the stuffy classical concert traditions that can make this wonderful music inaccessible to new audiences," said Atsushi Yamada, who conducted regularly at the New York City Opera during the 2000s. "We're breaking classical music taboos and bringing innovations from the world of film and popular music to add excitement, while staying true to the integrity of the music with exceptional playing by some of the world's finest musicians." PONY is comprised of musicians who have played with all the major Lincoln Center ensembles, including the Met Opera Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, New York City Ballet Orchestra and former New York City Opera Orchestra.
"Striking visuals have been part of the PONY experience from the beginning," said David Titcomb, Co-Founder and Orchestra Manager of the Philharmonia Orchestra of New York. The orchestra has performed with video projections in concerts ranging from Madison Square Garden with Andrea Bocelli to the Lincoln Center Festival's "Danny Elfman's music to the films of Tim Burton."
Visit www.nyphilharmonia.com to purchase $5 tickets for every seat at March 29 Mahler Resurrection "Hand-in-Hand" (inclusive of handling charges). Tickets range from $5 to $30 for March 30 Berlioz Symphony Fantastique (not including handling).
Spectacular Visuals for Spectacular Music
PONY has commissioned international stage director and video designer Joachim Schamberger to create full-length films to accompany the Mahler and Berlioz symphonies projected on a massive screen and projection towers. Shot with the latest in film equipment, including drone cameras, the films draw imagery from the composers' personal lives and the stories and themes explored in their symphonies. Six robotic cameras will roam the orchestra and project live images of the musicians on the screen, drawing the audience close to their intensity and athleticism. Dynamic, state-of-the-art lighting more typically found in pop and rock arena concerts will add another visual dimension, courtesy of lighting designer Ayumu Poe Saegusa.
"We're taking the kind of information a concert-goer would typically read in a printed program and expressing it a grand visual way on the big screen," said Mr. Schamberger, who has designed video for over 30 original productions in the Americas, Europe and Asia using digital film, 3-D animation, and projection mapping. "My goal with the visuals is to enhance the experience and suggest a story, while leaving enough room for the audience's own imagination to respond to the musical storytelling of the orchestra and chorus. My hope is to satisfy both musicologist and first-time concert-goer."
Mahler's transformative masterpiece is a journey on a grand scale. Schamberger's film will reflect on the symphony's theme of resurrection, taking the audience to locations of Mahler's own life from the small hut on an alpine lake where he composed the work through breathtaking natural vistas all the way to the composer's final resting place in Vienna. The text sung in the fourth and fifth movements is integrated in English into the film.
The film accompanying Berlioz's symphonic hallucination has a stronger narrative thrust as it tells the story of the composer's infatuation with famed Shakespearean actress Harriet Smithson, for whom he wrote the symphony. His bizarre love letter reflects his own attempts to seduce her, leading to his own beheading and a dance of witches. Audiences will follow Harriet in a story of obsession and unrequited love come to life onscreen.
Atsushi Yamada and Project Hand-in-Hand
Maestro Yamada is a self-taught musician who worked for IBM and SONY before pursuing his passion for music. He interned at the New York City Opera and served as assistant conductor to its music director, George Manahan, before becoming a regular conductor with the company. He has a long history of intertwining music with cultural exchange and charity work. The Mahler concert on March 29 features more than 200 chorus members, including students from Japanese high schools and The College of New Jersey. PONY invited the students to perform in the concert through Project Hand-in-Hand, which aims to support the recovery of the East Japan disaster by creating international friendships and exposing students to global views.
Philharmonia Orchestra of New York (PONY)
The Philharmonia Orchestra of New York (PONY) is an ensemble of over eighty of New York's finest musicians. Its members have played with all the major Lincoln Center ensembles, including the Met Opera Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, New York City Ballet Orchestra and former New York City Opera Orchestra. They are joined by recent graduates of America's finest conservatories. The orchestra uses technological advances and a project-based business model to innovate classical music performance. The musicians first performed as PONY in Danny Elfman's Music from the Films of Tim Burton at the Lincoln Center Festival in July 2015. PONY musicians are proud members of Local 802, American Federation of Musicians. For more information on the Philharmonia Orchestra of New York, visit www.nyphilharmonia.com.
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