THE LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC PRESENTS
THE WORLD PREMIERE OF BRYCE DESSNER’S
MULTIMEDIA WORK ON ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE,
TRIPTYCH (EYES OF ONE ON ANOTHER)
March 5, 2019, at 8pm, at Walt Disney Concert Hall
Composed and Conceived by Bryce Dessner
Libretto by Korde Arrington Tuttle
Featuring words by Essex Hemphill and Patti Smith
Directed by Kaneza Schaal
Featuring Roomful of Teeth, Brad Wells, music direction, and the
LA Phil New Music Group, Sara Jobin, conductor
Produced by ArKtype / Thomas O. Kriegsmann
in Cooperation with The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation
Los Angeles, CA (February 7, 2019) – The Los Angeles Philharmonic presents the world premiere of Bryce Dessner’s multimedia work on iconic photographer Robert Mapplethorpe titled Triptych (Eyes of One on Another) on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, at 8pm, at Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Situated somewhere between erotic heat and cool classicism, the work of controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe obliterates the high-low divide, exploding classical conceptions of beauty. Fueled by a lifelong fascination with the artist’s transgressive, sacred-profane vision, composer Bryce Dessner, in collaboration with librettist Korde Arrington Tuttle and director Kaneza Schaal, invites us to experience these arresting images anew. Featuring photographic projections and a score by Dessner, with poetry by Tuttle, Essex Hemphill, and Patti Smith, along with the LA Phil New Music Group and the daring eight-person vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, the multimedia work Triptych (Eyes of One on Another) examines how we look and are looked at, bringing us face to face with our innermost desires, fears, and humanity.
“In the work of Mapplethorpe and Hemphill, I find kinship, pierced by its beauty and rage,” comments Korde Arrington Tuttle. “I am thrilled to birth this dream project into the world, along with Dessner, a personal inspiration. In the spirit of looking — across time and cultural divides — it is an honor to place my voice alongside those of Hemphill and literary hero Patti Smith.”
Born and raised in Cincinnati, Dessner was impacted by the protests of the city’s obscenity trial for Mapplethorpe’s posthumous exhibition, The Perfect Moment, at the Cincinnati Contemporary Art Center, the first time a museum was taken to court on criminal charges related to art. The Hamilton County prosecutor and Cincinnati police shut down the exhibition and jailed the museum’s curator, Dennis Barrie. The subsequent trial, which was decided in favor of Barrie and the museum, was a national spectacle and key event in the “culture wars” of the 1990s, which to this day remains a blight on the cultural tradition and history of Cincinnati.
“As a teenager, I was told by the authorities that I was not allowed to look at Mapplethorpe’s photographs and that these tremendous works of art were not art at all, but pornography,” says Dessner. “This censorship made a significant impact on my life at the time and on my decision to pursue art and music as a career. Thirty years later, I have decided to respond in my own way and to look at these pictures again myself, and through the eyes of my wonderful collaborator, the librettist Korde Arrington Tuttle. This project has challenged me more than any work to date, and I am honored to share this journey with this ensemble.”
A vital force in the flourishing realm of new creative music, Dessner is one of the most sought-after composers of his generation. A collaborative partner with the San Francisco Symphony under the direction of Esa-Pekka Salonen, he has been commissioned for orchestral, chamber, and vocal works by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Carnegie Hall, BAM Next Wave Festival, Barbican Centre, Edinburgh International Festival, Sydney Festival, New York City Ballet, a future commission for the Czech Philharmonic, and many others. Dessner is active as a curator and founder of the long-running, Cincinnati-based MusicNOW festival, which aims to present the best in contemporary music, and is known to many as a founding member of The National.
Triptych (Eyes of One on Another) is produced by ArKtype / Thomas O. Kriegsmann; Co-produced by Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel Music & Artistic Director. Produced in Residency with and Commissioned by University Musical Society, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. Triptych (Eyes of One on Another) was co-commissioned by BAM; Luminato, Toronto, Canada; Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, Athens, Greece; Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati, OH; Cal Performances, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA; Stanford Live, Stanford University, Stanford, CA; Adelaide Festival, Australia; John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for performance as part of Direct Current 2019; ArtsEmerson: World on Stage, Emerson College, Boston, MA; Texas Performing Arts, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX; Holland Festival, Amsterdam; Barbican Centre, London; Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH; the Momentary, Bentonville, AR, and Celebrity Series, Boston, MA.
This project received a workshop through “Opera Fusion: New Works,” a joint venture between Cincinnati Opera and the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, as well as residency development through MassMOCA, North Adams, MA.
Video by Simon Harding
Lighting Design by Yuki Nakase
Sound Design by Damon Lange
Set and Costume Design by Carlos Soto
Dramaturgy by Talvin Wilks and Christopher Myers
About the Los Angeles Philharmonic
The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under the vibrant leadership of Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, presents an inspiring array of music from all genres – orchestral, chamber and Baroque music, organ and celebrity recitals, new music, jazz, world music and pop – at two of L.A.’s iconic venues, Walt Disney Concert Hall (laphil.com) and the Hollywood Bowl (hollywoodbowl.com). The LA Phil’s season at Walt Disney Concert Hall extends from September through May and throughout the summer at the Hollywood Bowl. With the preeminent Los Angeles Philharmonic at the foundation of its offerings, the LA Phil aims to enrich and transform lives through music, with a robust mix of artistic, education and community programs.