28 May, 2004
Seminal composer Philip Glass will be appearing at the Herod Atticus Odeon on June 3-4 for two showpiece performances of an original work of music commissioned by the Cultural Olympiad for the Olympic Games in Athens. Entitled "Orion", this the result of a collaborative effort by Glass and seven notable composers from different countries that reflects the multicultural nature of the Olympiad.
Glass said the project was an opportunity to realize one of his dreams: namely, to work with seven major composers from all over the world and orchestrate each of the musical pieces they had written or the traditional music they had adapted into a single composition whose world premiere will be at the historic Herod Atticus Odeon.
The prolific award-winning composer noted that only an organization such as the Cultural Olympiad could help an artist realize such a dream.
"It is easy for me to conceive of a work but harder to carry it out," he said in reference to Orion, named after the brightest star in the night sky that is visible from both hemispheres and was a source of inspiration to Glass, as well as the reason why he sought out composers from all regions of the globe to collaborate on the project.
Each of these composed a piece of music included in the final work, which includes three interludes of duets. They are the legendary Indian composer Ravi Shankar with a piece for the sitar, Wu Man on the Chinese pipa, Australian Mark Atkins on the didjeridoo, Ashley MacIsaac on the Canadian fiddle, West African kora virtuoso Foday Musa Suso and the Brazilian ensemble Uakti. Greece will be represented by singer Eleftheria Arvanitaki, who will perform the traditional "Tzivaeri" chosen by Glass. The work will be performed by the Philip Glass Ensemble, with pairs of guest artists performing the duets in the interludes.
In addition to Orion, the concert on June 3 features a performance of the ballet "Glass Pieces" choreographed by Jerome Robbins and performed by the New York City Ballet, while on June 4 it will be followed by the ballet "A Midsummer Night's Dream" choreographed by Heinz Spoerli, which is set to Glass' "Concerto for violin an orchestra" and works by Steve Reich and Felix Mendelssohn, performed by the National Ballet of Portugal.
In Athens for the last rehearsals, Glass said he enjoyed the new facilities in the city like the metro and new pedestrian roads and praised the idea of a Cultural Olympiad as a "natural extension of the Olympic Games".
Source: Athens News Agency