CSU, Chico News

North State Symphony to Feature Ansel Adams Photos, New Brubeck Score and Photos of Local School Children

Date: 11-01-2011

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Kyle Wiley Pickett, Music Director
North State symphony

The North State Symphony’s second concert of the 2011-12 season, American Portrait, promises to be an ambitious blending of music and the visual arts. The concert will include a multi-media presentation of photographs by Ansel Adams accompanied by a new score of music written by Chris and Dave Brubeck. Local photographs taken by children, illustrating the theme “Our Town,” will be accompanied by a different piece of American music.

A news conference will be held to talk about the various aspects of this unique program on Monday, Nov. 7 at 11 a.m. in Kendall 207 on the California State University, Chico campus. Symphony conductor Kyle Wiley Pickett will be on hand to discuss the special music, and photographer Byron Wolfe will talk about the iconic work of Ansel Adams. Refreshments will be available. The program is funded by a James Irvine Foundation grant, the first ever received by CSU, Chico.

Performances take place at three North State venues—Redding’s Cascade Theatre on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m.; Chico’s Laxson Auditorium on Sunday, Nov. 13 at 2 p.m.; and Oroville’s State Theatre (under the auspices of the State Theatre Arts Guild) on Sunday, Nov. 13 at 7:30 p.m.

The photos by Adams, the famed American landscapist and environmentalist, will be shown on a large screen while the orchestra performs a new score by Dave Brubeck and his son, Chris, that merges jazz harmony and a lush classical sound. Brubeck composed the 22-minute work first as a piano piece, working closely with Chris, who later transformed it into a full orchestral score.

Paul Conley interviewed Brubeck for NPR: “The process took more than a year, with many long-distance phone calls between the musicians while they were on their separate tours. But Dave Brubeck says they always had a common source of inspiration. ‘We got a book of 400 photographs of Ansel Adams,’ Brubeck said. ‘We'd look at the photos and try to think about the music that would go with the photograph—Half Dome in Yosemite, Merced River, Great Falls coming down, Quiet Meadows. I didn't stop writing for one month, mostly at night.’”

During Aaron Copland's “Our Town,” photos by local students will be shown, with their unique views of the North State region.

“We are very excited about this unique display of sensational photography accompanied by music, a true multimedia performance,” said North State Symphony Music Director Kyle Wiley Pickett. “Many different people, ideas and means of support have all come together in creating ‘An American Portrait,’ like America itself. We are celebrating energy, beauty and a sense of community.”

Additional works on the “American Portrait” program include George Gershwin’s “American in Paris” and Richard Rodgers’ “Victory at Sea.” Redding resident Greg Manuel, a junior at Shasta High school and winner of the NSS's 2011 Young Artists Auditions Competition, will perform the first movement of the “Piccolo Concerto” by contemporary American composer Lowell Liebermann.

With aspirations to become a professional musician one day, Manuel said he enjoys many types of music, “especially contemporary art music.”

The Redding performance of American Portrait is sponsored by Shasta Regional Medical Center. Tickets are available in advance at the Cascade Theatre Box Office, 243-8877, or online at www.cascadetheatre.org.

Advance tickets for the Chico performance are available at the University Box Office, 898-6333, or online at http://www.csuchico.edu/upe/uboinformation.html. For disability-related seating accommodations please call 898-6333.

Oroville tickets are available at the Oroville Chamber of Commerce, 538-2542.

Short versions of the concerts for school groups are also planned. Call the NSS Office at 898-5984 for more information.

Performances of “American Portrait” are made possible by a grant to the North State Symphony received from The James Irvine Foundation. In addition, the concert in Chico is sponsored by Stifel, Nicolaus and Co. and a gift from Bell Carter Olive for Brubeck's Ansel Adams: America.

The North State Symphony was created in 2001 from the merger of the Chico and Redding Symphonies, and is part of the School of the Arts at CSU, Chico. NSS receives support from the Office of the President, Instructionally Related Activities, and the Department of Music. It features select student musician, as well as professional musicians from the North State.

For more information visit the North State Symphony website, www.northstatesymphony.org.