On Sunday, April 7, Blair Percussion VORTEX will present the southeastern U.S. premiere of George Antheil’s restored original 1924 orchestration for Ballet mécanique—complete with xylophones, bass drums, electric bells, airplane propellers, 13 live musicians, eight synchronized player pianos, and the rarely screened abstract film by French artist Fernand Léger and Dudley Murphy.
This masterpiece of 1920s Paris will be introduced by David Kibler, Cultural Attaché to the Consulate General of France in Atlanta. VORTEX is joined by Tufts University’s Paul Lehrman whose work to restore Ballet mécanique through robotics and MIDI processing has been praised by critics as “something to behold…a glorious din” (The Boston Globe). The groundbreaking composition is so technologically advanced that it was not technically possible to produce it during the composer’s lifetime.
Events include a mini-symposium in the Choral Hall from 1:30 to 5 p.m., a robotics and new media art exhibition in the Ingram lobby at 6:45 p.m., and the VORTEX concert event in Ingram Hall at 8 p.m. As part of the symposium, Gordon Hughes, Mellon Assistant Professor of Art History, Rice University, will present a lecture entitled “The Painter’s Revenge: Fernand Léger For and Against Cinema” from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. in the Choral Hall. For more information about the symposium and concert, visit this link.
The performance, symposium, and related events were made possible by the generous support of a Curb Creative Campus Innovation Grant from the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy; Mark Wait, Dean of the Blair School of Music; Jennifer Fay and the Film Studies Program department; Frank Wcislo, Dean of The Ingram Commons; Robert Barsky and Virginia Scott, Department of French and Italian; Joy Calico and the Max Kade Center for European and German Studies; and the Department of History of Art, Goldberg Lecture Series.
*Charlie Chaplin image from Ballet mécanique, filmmakers Léger/Murphy, courtesy of Anthology Film Archives