The strings, winds, and percussion group Ensemble Galilei, narrator Neal Conan of NPR, and actress Lily Knight collaborate to present "First Person: Seeing America," a program combining words and music with iconic images from the Photographic Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, as part of the Metropolitan Museum Concerts series on Saturday, October 16, at 7:00 p.m.
Mathew Brady's searing pictures of the Civil War and Walker Evans's haunting portraits from the Great Depression, and additional photographs by Edward Curtis, Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Weegee, and Thomas Eakins, are accompanied by the words of Frederick Douglass, James Agee, Abraham Lincoln, Calamity Jane Hickok, Jim Harrison, and others. The soundtrack is the evocative music of Ensemble Galilei – Renaissance selections, traditional music from Scotland and Ireland, and original compositions, some by members of the ensemble, featuring fiddles, harp, viola da gamba, percussion, whistles and oboe.
Music winds around the text as images are projected on a large screen in the center of the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium stage. In their second touring project with Ensemble Galilei, Neal Conan and Lily Knight bring the people, events, and places to life.
"Images from the Met's incredible collection of photographs are recorded indelibly on the American imagination," says Neal Conan, award-winning journalist and current host of NPR's Talk of the Nation. "We can't think about Native Americans without seeing them through the lens of Edward Curtis, and you can say the same about the landscape of the West and Ansel Adams, the Depression and Walker Evans. But when you add the words of great American writers and poets and the brilliant music of Ensemble Galilei, audiences will find new meanings and new associations. These great works of art animate the stories of, among others, Frederick Douglass and Calamity Jane; poems by Jim Harrison and Lucille Clifton acquire unexpected intensity and resonance. 'First Person: Seeing America' gives audiences new ways to imagine not just great works of art, but the land and people of a country shaped by unending change."
Ensemble Galilei is an ensemble of players from both classical and Celtic traditional backgrounds, playing Irish and Scottish airs and dance tunes, early and medieval music, and original compositions. From its inception in 1990, Ensemble Galilei has redefined the boundaries of chamber music, created new work, and seized opportunities for collaborative relationships to create a series of innovative projects that explore combinations of images, words, and music. The ensemble's programs have taken audiences into space through the lens of the Hubble Space Telescope ("A Universe of Dreams") and on journeys of exploration and discovery with pictures from the National Geographic Image Collection ("First Person: Stories from the Edge of the World").
Ensemble Galilei features Hanneke Cassel, fiddle; Ryan McKasson, fiddle and viola; Kathryn Montoya, recorders, whistle, oboe; Jackie Moran, percussion; Sue Richards, Celtic harp; Carolyn Anderson Surrick, viola da gamba. plus Neal Conan, narrator, and Lily Knight, actor. Brian Doser is technical director. www.egmusic.com
Neal Conan is the host of Talk of the Nation, the national news-talk call-in show from NPR News. Conan brings three decades of news and radio experience to the show, which reaches nearly three million listeners a week. A familiar voice on NPR for the past quarter century, Conan has worked as a reporter based in New York, Washington, and London – he served as NPR's bureau chief in both New York and London, and anchored NPR's live coverage of events including national political conventions, inaugurations, an impeachment, and the events of September 11, 2001. For five years, he hosted Weekly Edition: The Best of NPR News.
Lily Knight, as a company member of Circle Rep in New York (and Circle West in Los Angeles), has collaborated in the development of many new plays, several of which she helped develop from workshop to Off-Broadway to Broadway production. She is an acting teacher and coach in Los Angeles and a member of the classical acting company, Antaeus. She has played roles on over 50 television shows ( Big Love, The Mentalist, Boston Legal, Weeds, The Shield, Without a Trace, Buffy, The Guardian, ER, The Practice, NYPD Blue, Law & Order, Chicago Hope, Family Law, and Ally McBeal, to name a few), in feature films ( Changeling, Around the Bend, The Assassination of Richard Nixon, The Singing Detective, The Secretary, Dahmer, AI). Her theatrical experience includes on Broadway (Agnes of God, As Is, The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940), Off-Broadway (Holy Terror, The Early Girl, and The Fiery Furnace along with many others), and plays at many regional theatres across the country.
For tickets, priced at $40, call the Concerts & Lectures Department at 212-570-3949, or visit www.metmuseum.org/tickets , where updated schedules and programs are available. Tickets are also available at the Great Hall Box Office, which is open Tuesday-Saturday 10-5:00, and Sunday noon-5:00. Student and group discount tickets are available for some events; call 212-570-3949. Tickets include admission to the Museum on day of performance.
September 14, 2010
"First Person: Seeing America"
The following readings and music accompany images from the Photographic Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Reading: Navajo Prayer
No Longer Mourn for Me – Sue Richards
Te Mane Laudum Carminefrom O Lux Beate Trinitas – Micheal Praetorius (1571-1621)
Reading: So This Is Nebraska – Ted Kooser
"Salmon Fishing" – Traditional Irish
Reading: Atlas – Claudia Emerson
Dream of the Wanderer – Carolyn A. Surrick
Klovsjo Brudmarsch – Swedish Bridal March
Polska av Jakob Aslund – arr. Karl Erik Nygard
Slangpolska – Traditional from Smaland, Sweden
Reading: The Forever War – Dexter Filkins
Cluck Old Hen – Traditional Appalachian
Reading: Knoxville: Summer 1915 – James Agee
Hector the Hero – James Scott Skinner (1843-1927)
Reading: I Started from Baltimore – Frederick Douglass
Polonaise – Traditional from Vastergotland, Sweden
Squire Wood's Lament – Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738)
Reading: at the cemetery, walnut grove plantation, 1989 – Lucille Clifton
O'Neill's March – Traditional Irish
Reading: Gettysburg Address – Abraham Lincoln
Monday Morning Reel – Phil Cunningham
Klovsjo Brudmarsch – Swedish Bridal March
Full Rigged Ship – Traditional Irish
Cluck Old Hen – Traditional Appalachian Tune
What Wondrous Love Is This? – From Southern Harmony (1835)
Reading: 10 (from Geo-Bestiary) – Jim Harrison
Reading: always your mother, jane Hickok – Calamity Jane Hickok
1921 – Traditional Irish
Highlander's Farewell – Traditional Scottish
Exile of Erin – Tony Sullivan
Reading: A Change of Worlds – Chief Seattle
The Dust Bowl – Carolyn A. Surrick
Reading: Brother, Can You Spare A Dime? – Studs Terkel
Ground upon a Scotch Humour – Nicola Matteis (1650-1709)
Reading: The Layers – Stanley Kunitz
Culloden – Ryan McKasson