'Origin' creators, artists to give pre-show public presentations

Richard Einhorn speakingAs the world premiere of Richard Einhorn’s “The Origin” approaches in early February, community members can interact with the gathering of creative artists involved with the SUNY Oswego production.

Among those joining the composer for a week of pre-concert rehearsals and community presentations will be filmmaker Bill Morrison and the Eastern European vocal ensemble Kitka.

“Talented people from around the country are coming to Oswego to make this event happen,” said Artswego Coordinator Mary Avrakotos. “We’ve built in as many opportunities as possible for students and residents to share the wealth of creativity.”

Commissioned by the college for the Charles Darwin Bicentennial, “The Origin” celebrates the thought and struggles of one of the most celebrated and still controversial figures in modern science. As he developed the musical score, Einhorn immersed himself in Darwin’s published works, private notebooks and letters. He discovered a highly original thinker who never regarded his studies as a solemn activity.

“Darwin took sheer delight in making sense of the world,” Einhorn said. “On the way to changing the way we view our world, he often stopped to ponder whether worms can hear music or an oyster dreams of the future.” Einhorn believes his new work captures that element of delight in the process of investigation and discovery.

A free music department convocation on “The Making of ‘The Origin’” is slated 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4, in Room 41 of Tyler Hall.

During his time in Oswego, the composer also plans to visit high school biology classes to discuss the challenge of translating Darwin’s insights and wide-ranging ruminations into music.

Einhorn chose filmmaker Bill Morrison to create visual imagery for the Oswego premiere. Morrison produced five subtle films that highlight places and life forms mentioned in Darwin’s journals. The filmmaker will give a public presentation on “Video and the Creative Process” at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5, in the Campus Center auditorium. He will also speak to students in an introductory film class.

Kitka’s nine vocalists will use their haunting singing style to distinguish the personal voice of Darwin from other layers of the text. “There’s an extraordinary part of Richard’s score in which Darwin writes to his wife Emma on the death of their young daughter Annie,” said “Origin” musical director Julie Pretzat. “Kitka’s poignant expression of his grief tugs at the heart strings.”

During their stay, members of Kitka will share the songs and techniques of their tradition with high school choristers in Oswego and Mexico. The public may take part in an open workshop at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 3, in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre, registering by calling Artswego at 312-4581.

Production progress is also being chronicled in a blog at http://artswego.blogspot.com/.

The world premiere performances of “The Origin” will take place at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 6 and 7 in Waterman Theatre. Tickets cost $20 ($15 for seniors and students, $7 for SUNY Oswego students), available through Tyler box office at 312-2141 or online at tickets.oswego.edu.

Major support for the commissioning and presentation of “The Origin” has been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Music Fund and Meet the Composer. In-school residency activities by Kitka are made possible by Entergy.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Community roots—This “Great Tree” image is part of a film by Bill Morrison to accompany Richard Einhorn’s “The Origin,” a multimedia oratorio on the life and work of Charles Darwin making its world premiere at SUNY Oswego at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 6 and 7 in Waterman Theatre.

CONTACT: Mary Avrakotos, 312-4581 or artswego@oswego.edu

(Posted: Jan 21, 2009)