Biennale Snapshots for full orchestra (2015)
Commissioned by the Vancouver Biennale, in celebration of the 2014–16 Open Air Museum installations, with partial funding from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Buschlen Mowatt Nichol Foundation (Canada).
World premiere by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Bramwell Tovey, conductor, season-opening concerts, September 26 and 28, 2015. Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver, Canada.
In five movements – total duration ca. 23 minutes
Movements 1 and 2 are performed without pause.
3 Flutes (3rd doubling Piccolo), 3 Oboes (3rd doubling English Horn), 3 Clarinets in B♭ (2nd doubling Clarinet in E♭; 3rd doubling Bass Clarinet), 3 Bassoons (3rd doubling Contrabassoon), 4 French Horns, 3 Trumpets in C, 2 Tenor Trombones, 1 Bass Trombone, Tuba, Timpani, 3 Percussion, Marimba, Xylophone, Glockenspiel, 2 Crotales – D and E♭, Low Water Gong, Tam-tam, Snare Drum, Tenor Drum, Bass Drum, Tambourine, 2 Wood Blocks, 2 Cowbells, Slapstick, Rain Stick, Gourd Maracas, Plastic Maracas, Finger Cymbals, Small Triangle, Sheets of Loose Paper, 3 Wine Glasses – tuned to D♭, F, and G♭, Tree Branches (to be played on bass drum), Harp, Piano, Strings (at least 12,10,8,7,6)
* In addition – each member of the orchestra needs one sheet of loose 8.5” x 11” paper for mm. 83–87 of movement 2.
*italicized paragraphs are courtesy of the Vancouver Biennale
Biennale Snapshots celebrates the Vancouver Biennale’s 2014 – 2016 Open Air Museum installations and is the first musical composition to be commissioned by the Biennale. The twenty-five-minute work is set in five movements, the first and second of which are played without pause. I chose to pay homage to the Biennale by selecting five different artworks from the exhibition and having each movement be my musical “snapshot” of the visual piece, allowing the visual to inspire the aural.
BREATH SONG, created by Vancouver Biennale 2014 Residency Artist Sumakshi Singh from New Delhi, India, was a performative work composed of a symphony of 108 breath sounds specific to and recorded in Squamish, British Columbia, and accompanied by a video projected on a transparent screen placed in nature. The video displayed words related to breath (chosen by 108 participants) created from the condensation of their breath vapours on glass and appearing in a poetic sequence. In this work, Singh explored breath as a subtle border, a transparent veil moving between the physical and astral world, the thread tying the spirit to the body. Bringing together 108 breaths, BREATH SONG created a borderless space where one could experience existential unity. For more information about this artwork please visit: www.vancouverbiennale.com/artworks/breath-song/
THE BLUE TREES, by Australian artist Konstantin Dimopoulos, is a global environmental art project launched during the 2009 – 2011 Vancouver Biennale in three local cities – Richmond, West Vancouver, and Port Moody. Subsequently, the artist has expanded this project to eleven cities internationally. THE BLUE TREES is an example of a local initiative gone global, an example of how art can be a catalyst for learning and community engagement. THE BLUE TREES transforms the familiar urban landscape into something surreal or unfamiliar. The intentional transformation of the everyday stimulates dialogue and raises our environmental consciousness by highlighting trees and their importance as lungs of the Earth. In 2015, THE BLUE TREES installation will be created in New Westminster, Squamish, and at the launch of Simons West Coast flagship department store in West Vancouver. For more information about this artwork please visit: www.vancouverbiennale.com/artworks/the-blue-trees/
GIANTS is the largest and first 360-degree mural created by the internationally renowned Brazilian street artists OSGEMEOS. The brightly coloured seventy-foot-tall mural has transformed the six industrial silos at the Ocean Concrete plant on Granville Island and has quickly become one of the iconic landmarks in a city skyline filled with glass and concrete architecture. The mural has become a focal point for the over ten million annual visitors to Granville Island and is now an undeniable icon of the city. For more information about this artwork please visit: www.vancouverbiennale.com/artworks/giants/
WATER #10 is a 16-meter-tall stainless-steel sculpture by the Chinese artist Ren Jun. The inspiration for this artwork comes from pure forms: liquid water or mercury stopped in motion that reveals its shape as a drop or spill caught in the air. Despite its 2100-kg weight this work has no angles or hard edges, resulting in a free-flowing form, a manifestation of light and fluidity. This artwork was exhibited during the 2009 – 2011 Vancouver Biennale in Richmond, British Columbia and subsequently has become a permanent Legacy Artwork through a private donation. For more information about this artwork please visit: www.vancouverbiennale.com/artworks/water-10/
Ai Weiwei is one of the leading artists and cultural figures of our time and consistently displays great courage in placing himself at risk to effect social change through his art. F GRASS is a site-specific installation created for the 2014 – 2016 Vancouver Biennale. The 1,328 interconnected “grass” pieces symbolize the collective and indestructible strength and resilience of ordinary individuals whose unified mass challenges censorship and oppression in China. Inspired by the organic form and fragile beauty of grass, Ai Weiwei created F GRASS using cast iron, an industrial material that will be transformed via exposure to nature throughout all seasons. For more information about this artwork please visit: www.vancouverbiennale.com/artworks/f-grass/
The Vancouver Biennale is a non-profit charitable organization that celebrates art in public spaces, creating a catalyst for learning, community engagement, and social action. The 2014 – 2016 Vancouver Biennale features diverse works by established and breakthrough international artists in keeping with the exhibition theme Open Borders / Crossroads Vancouver.
Some beautiful rehearsal footage of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra performing Vivian Fung’s “Biennale Snapshots” before the Canadian Premiere.
Vivian Fung’s evocative “Biennale Snapshots” receives its U.S. premiere accompanied by Tina Tallow’s original video. http://www.ucsd.tv/
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