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UA festival celebrates genius of Stravinsky

Festival + Music features film, dance recital & concerts

Nearly 100 years ago Russian composer Igor Stravinsky outraged a Parisian audience with his iconoclastic, “The Rite of Spring.”  The controversial ballet music became one of the most influential works in modern classical music. But it was certainly not Stravinsky’s only contribution.

This week, the University of Arizona School of Music will celebrate Stravinsky with a festival of dance and music, plus a film and symposium providing insight to his life and impact.

“Stravinsky was the major force in music in the first half of the 20th century, and in many respects, set the agenda for the latter half as well,” wrote Daniel Asia, UA composer in residence and Festival + Music director, in the event's program.

“The festival looks at the output of his entire career, from his Russian period, to his Neo-Classical (or pan-historical), to his final serial phase,” Asia said.

This is the fifth year for the Festival + Music event, created and directed by Asia. Past festivals have featured influential, often avant garde contemporary composers, including Olivier Messiaen, György Ligeti and Béla Bartók. With modest ticket prices, the concerts offer works that are often rarely available in live performance.

The “Stravinsky! Festival + Music” opens with a colloquium on “The Rite of Spring” by Alex Dunkel, UA Russian and Slavic Studies professor, Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m.

The movie, “Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky,” will screen at the Fox Theatre on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. The 2009 French film was directed by Jan Kounen.

Four concerts of Stravinsky’s music

The Festival’s four concerts of Stravinsky’s music begin Saturday afternoon, following the opening symposium with music theorist Don Traut and conductor Bruce Chamberlain at 1 p.m.

At 4:00 p.m. Saturday in Holsclaw Hall, UA faculty and students will perform a sampling of Stravinsky’s chamber music. Among the works will be a 1964 trumpet duet, “Fanfare for a New Theatre;” “Three Japanese Lyrics” for soprano and sextet, conducted by Asia; three movements from the 1911 ballet “Petrouchka,” arranged for piano; “Lied ohne Name,” a bassoon duet; and the 1914 “Three Pieces for String Quartet.” The Arizona Choir, led by Chamberlain, will sing “Pater Noster,” Stravinsky’s “Ave Maria” and his 1962 “Anthem: the dove descending breaks the air.”

Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Crowder Hall, the festival will sample larger works: the “Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments,” selections from “Petrouchka” and “The Rite of Spring” and the “Symphony of Psalms” for orchestra and choir.

Sunday performances

Sunday’s festival opens with “Stravinsky and the Dance” with music and dance performances in the Stevie Eller Dance Studio at 1:30 p.m. Dance performances include “And Ye Shall be as Gods,” “The Soldier’s Tale” and “Promenade,” as well as music from dance works, “Serenade in A,” and “Septet.”

The festival closes Sunday afternoon with a 4 p.m. concert of eclectic works in Crowder Hall. They include “Epithium” for flute, clarinet and harp; Stravinsky’s sole “Sonata” for piano; a repeat performance of the “Septet,” the 1954 “In Memorial Dylan Thomas,” and the “Octet for Wind Instruments.” The festival will close with the song, “The Owl and the Pussy-cat” based on words by Edward Lear, Stravinsky’s final work.

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Igor Stravinsky

Youtube Video

If you go

  • What: “Stravinsky! Music + Festival” presented by the University of Arizona School of Music
  • When: Wednesday through Sunday, Oct. 10 -14
  • Where: Fox Theatre, 17 W. Congress; UA School of Music, 1017 N. Olive Ave. and UA School of Dance, 1713 E. University Blvd.
  • Tickets: Fox Theatre movie, $7:50 $5 for students; colloquium/symposium are free. Concerts are $10; $5 for students. Concert tickets available at UA Fine Arts Box Office, 621-1162, and online.