The New York Philharmonic and Park Avenue Armory will present two evenings of spatial music conceived by Music Director Alan Gilbert - featuring the New York premiere of Karlheinz Stockhausen's epic composition Gruppen - in the Armory's Wade Thompson Drill Hall, Friday, June 29, 2012, at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, June 30, at 8:00 p.m.
With multiple stages and performance areas, movement, and lighting - as directed and designed by Michael Counts, choreographed by Ken Roht, and with lighting design by Kyle Chepulis and Brian Aldous - the concerts will make use of the large scale and flexibility of the Armory to create a dynamic and fluid performance space, fundamentally altering the relationship of audience to performer and sound.
Mr. Gilbert selected each work to take advantage of the special acoustic and spatial qualities of the Armory's soaring, 55,000-square-foot Drill Hall to reveal the dramatic possibilities of music and space.
"The moment I first stepped into the Armory's enormous Drill Hall, I started thinking about how we might make use of its grandeur and sheer size to build a program that would completely turn the audience's relationship with the orchestra and with the music completely around," said Alan Gilbert. "Our audiences will be able to leave at the door any preconceptions they have about their spatial, or physical, relation to the sound." "Michael Counts is the obvious choice to help realize our vision for this evening at the Park Avenue Amory," the Music Director continued. "His ideas about erasing the boundaries between audience and performers, his belief that the artifice of theater is most powerful when blurred with reality, the experience and aesthetic he brings to site-specific installations, and his passion for working in a space as grand and special as this - together these interests will really allow our musical vision to take a physical shape. I don't want to give away the surprises he and I have discussed, but I can safely say that the audience is going to have an immersive theatrical experience while also experiencing a unique musical program. Michael and I hope it will be an event that will leave our audiences surprised and moved."
"The Armory's Drill Hall has a history of extraordinary musical events including the American premiere in 1882 of the Berlioz Requiem," said Armory President and Executive Producer Rebecca Robertson. "Thus, we are thrilled to be exploring its possibilities now with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic. It has been a dream of ours for many years to present Gruppen, in which the audience is truly in the center of the music. These two concerts will offer a unique experience for both the artists and the audience that can only be had in the unconventional setting of the Armory."