CLEVELAND (April 5, 2010) – The Cleveland Museum of Art's (CMA) VIVA! & Gala Performing Arts Series will close its 2009-2010 season with two premieres: The Royal Dramatic Theatre of Stockholm's Romeo & Julia Kören makes its United States debut on Wednesday, April 21, while Stephen Scott's Bowed Piano Ensemble performs for the first time in Cleveland on Thursday, April 22. Both performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the museum's Gartner Auditorium.
Founded in 1991, the 10-member Romeo & Julia Kören has gained an international reputation for reviving a rich musical tradition of the Renaissance. Under the direction of Benoît Malmberg, artistic director and conductor, the ensemble gives theatrical expression to a wide range of courtly and burlesque songs, with performances characterized by an inventive blend of music, drama and dance. The company was featured at the official opening ceremony of the 2009 Nobel Prizes, which was captured by Swedish television.
The group's Renaissance drama concert is built of two acts. The madrigal comedy Zefiro Torna, with music by Renaissance vocal master Claudio Monteverdi, tells the story of the god of the western winds, Zefiro, who tries to find love as the other characters around him see every meeting as a potential amorous adventure. The concert's non-narrative second act, Beauty and Burlesque, features songs about love, melancholy and joy from England, France, Italy and Spain, each performed to lute accompaniment in lavish period costumes.
According to Croatia's The Vijesnik, "This was a masterpiece that must have filled every spectator with exaltation." Tickets for Romeo & Julia Kören are $39 for the general public and $38 for museum members. The performance is supported in part by a grant from the American-Scandinavian Foundation.
The "bowed piano" is the unique instrument of composer Stephen Scott. The sound of the grand piano (with the lid taken off) is generated by means of literally bowing its strings to cause them to resonate. The result is an otherworldly sound that sings like a concert grand in full flight, minus the percussive attack that makes the instrument so familiar for audiences.
Stephen Scott's specially trained ensemble works in harmonious collaboration, and in very close quarters, to bring to life his compositions. The program at CMA will include excerpts from Vikings of the Sunrise, a composition described as "brilliant" by National Public Radio's All Things Considered that covers themes of navigation, exploration and discovery in the Pacific from ancient times to the present.
The Bowed Piano Ensemble was founded by Stephen Scott at Colorado College in 1977 and has evolved into a small orchestra. The ensemble has made eight European and two Australian tours, performing in world-renowned venues including the Sydney Opera House, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Town Hall, Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels and medieval Town Hall in Tallinn, Estonia. Tickets for the performance are $29 or $28 for CMA members.
Group and student rates are available. Pending availability, students can also purchase "Pay What You Can" tickets at the door for any VIVA! & Gala performance. Tickets are available through the CMA Online Box Office at www.ClevelandArt.org/tickets or by phone at 888-CMA-0033.
VIVA! & Gala 2009-2010 Season
In February, the museum's VIVA! & Gala series returned to Gartner Auditorium, following nearly five seasons of performances around town during the auditorium's renovation. Programs are made possible in part by The Ernest L. and Louise M. Gartner Fund, The P.J. McMyler Musical Endowment Fund and The Anton and Rose Zverina Music Fund. Additional support has been provided by The Musart Society and the John P. Murphy Foundation. The official media sponsor is WVIZ/PBS and 90.3 WCPN ideastream.
About the Cleveland Museum of Art
The Cleveland Museum of Art is renowned for the quality and breadth of its collection, which includes more than 40,000 objects and spans 6,000 years of achievement in the arts. Currently undergoing a multi-phase renovation and expansion project, it is a significant international forum for exhibitions, scholarship, performing arts and art education. Admission to the museum has been free since its founding charter.
The Cleveland Museum of Art has a membership of nearly 25,000 households and is supported by a broad range of individuals, foundations and businesses in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. The museum is generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. Additional support comes from the Ohio Arts Council, which helps fund the museum with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. For more information about the museum, its holdings, programs and events, call 888-CMA-0033 or visit www.ClevelandArt.org.
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