May 14, 2012 Update: Click here to view photos from the May 4 event.
Merging music with visuals is not new. But, on Friday, May 4, the Charlotte Symphony is exploring new territory with the premiere of an original animated video by visual artist Matthew Weinstein to be displayed on a screen suspended above the orchestra. The audience will experience this artist’s incredible animation in sync with the hypnotic music of Ravel’s “Bolero.”
This commission is born from an exciting partnership between the Knight Foundation and the Charlotte Symphony and is only one component of a project that encompasses the Knight Foundation, Charlotte Symphony (a Knight arts grantee) and Mint Museum of Charlotte (another Knight arts grantee).
Today’s performing arts audiences — trending with the public, in general — expect a more engaging experience. Combining traditional, classical art forms with technology is one way to exceed their expectations and bring in a new audience.
This project is a delightful juxtaposition of art forms that are quite different, but Bolero and digital animation share more than you might think. “I approached the abstract narrative with ‘Fantasia’ in mind,” said Weinstein. “’Fantasia’ told a compelling story through classical music and animation, meanwhile introducing the music to those who wouldn’t otherwise have experienced it. Pop culture can be used in a way so that it doesn’t degrade something old, but instead enhances it.”
“When I first sat down with Christopher Warren-Green, he spoke with me about Ravel’s fascination with machinery,” said Weinstein. “After listening to the piece, I realized that Bolero itself is like a machine, but the machine has these undercurrents of dysfunction that finally take over and explode it. Additionally, I felt a connection with the composer; the process of computer animation, like composing a piece of music, is rigorously technical but leads to results that can be both empathic and mesmerizing.”
This premiere represents a marriage of classical music, digital art and modern dance. In order to make his non-human characters come to life on screen and appeal to a human audience, Weinstein works with actors, dancers and choreographers to capture human movement, which he then applies to his animations. For this piece, he worked closely with a choreographer to translate his ideas into a modern dance.
The KnightSounds performance of “Bolero Comes Alive” on May 4 is the first commissioned work under the leadership of Music Director Warren-Green and represents a new national model for the modern concert-going experience. This world premiere of Weinstein’s work during the May 4 performance coincides with his Mint Museum Uptown exhibit, as well as other festival events and is just one example reflecting Charlotte’s innovative, synergistic efforts to bring the arts to all in our community.
“Bolero Comes Alive” on May 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Use this link for more details of Mint Museum Uptown Weinstein exhibit and festival events.