From a press release:
Live orchestral performances from the USC Thornton Symphony and conductor Carl St.Clair will be augmented with stunning multimedia images to accompany a production of Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition Sept. 12 and 13 at Santa Barbara’s Granada Theatre.
The renovated 91-year-old Spanish theater recently installed a high-definition projector to stage the production. Along with high-definition projections on a large screen, the two concerts will feature a new technology, Muséik, developed by Ion Concert Media, which allows a human operator to manipulate the multimedia visuals as the operator sits amid the orchestra’s musicians. Muséik’s developer, Ion Concert Media’s founder Scott Winters, will be “playing” the visuals from an iPad, taking cues from conductor St.Clair.
In addition to Pictures at an Exhibition, the two concerts will feature virtuosic pianist Daniel Pollack, professor of Keyboard Studies at the USC Thornton School of Music, playing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Pollack famously performed the piece in Moscow during the legendary first International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition, where Pollack was a prizewinner along with Van Cliburn. The USC Thornton Symphony also will be performing the overture to Mikhail Glinka’s opera Ruslan and Ludmilla.
St.Clair, the artistic director of the USC Thornton Orchestra Program and music director of the Pacific Symphony, said the symphony’s opportunity to play at the Granada Theatre is a tribute to the high quality of its past performances at Disney Hall and Bovard Auditorium.
“Not every university orchestra is asked to play at venues that regularly host touring orchestras and the Santa Barbara Symphony,” he said.
Mussorgsky based Pictures at an Exhibition on paintings and drawings of the Russian artist Viktor Hartmann, a friend of Mussorgsky’s whose early death stunned the composer. In these performances, the visuals were created using a mix of 2-D and 3-D animation, illustrations, live action photography and stop-motion animation.
The work was created by USC School of Cinematic Arts’ John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts faculty members Michael Patterson and Candace Reckinger, along with 11 of their animation students and graduates. They premiered the projections in 2011 with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, FL, as part of the celebration for that symphony’s new building. There, the projections were shown on five screens that surrounded the audience inside the concert hall.
This summer, Patterson and Reckinger, who are the creative directors of the Pictures at an Exhibition visuals, spent several weeks reconfiguring the work for a single panoramic projection. The two, who trained as mixed-media directors, said combining music and visuals can result in a rich immersive experience for the audience.