Check out the beta version of the new IRCAM Forum ⇢

EventView more

Antheil's restored Ballet mécanique with Blair Percussion VORTEX

2013-04-07 - 2013-04-07

13:30 - 22:00

Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music , Nashville, TN, 37212-3499, USA


Blair Percussion VORTEX presents the Southeastern U.S. premiere of George Antheil’s restored Ballet mécanique, Sunday, April 7

  • 1:30-5 p.m., Ballet mécanique mini-symposium, Choral Hall. Joy Calico, symposium organizer and moderator
  • 6:45 p.m., Robotics, Music, New Media Art, Ingram Lobby
  • 8 p.m., VORTEX concert, Ingram Hall

Mini-symposium program, 1:30-5 p.m.

Joy Calico, Symposium organizer and moderator

1:30 p.m. Bad Boy Made Good: The Revival of George Antheil’s 1924 “Ballet mécanique.” Documentary film by Ron Frank and Paul Lehrman.

2:30 p.m. Q&A with Paul Lehrman, Ph.D., director of The Ballet mécanique Project.

3 p.m. Coffee break

3:30 p.m. “The Painter’s Revenge: Fernand Léger For and Against Cinema.” Gordon Hughes, Mellon Assistant Professor of Art History, Rice University.

4:15 p.m. “Machine Musicianship: How computers have learned to play along with human musicians.” Arshia Cont, Scientific Leader, MuTant Team Project (INRIA/CNRS) Director, Research Creativity Interfaces Department, IRCAM

Robotics and new media art exhibition, 6:45 p.m.

Robots on the plaza!

The Middle Tennessee Robotic Arts Society with a variety of small and large robots, plus Vanderbilt University Engineering professor Julie Johnson and the Davidson Academy Middle School Lego Robotics Club.

In the lobby

Artists Greg Pond and Benton-C Bainbridge invite the audience into Fernand Léger’s Ballet mécanique film with an interactive movie installation. New media technologies are used to explore Ballet mécanique‘s themes, where the everyday is made magical and humans become mechanized.

Guests in Ingram Lobby control scenes from the movie: a motion-tracking lever moves a burden-bearing worker woman up and down a staircase; Chaplin’s signature cane dances Léger’s puppet back and forth above the lobby doors. Guests are encouraged to bring pocket-sized props to spin on the Kaleidoscopic Turntable.

Sound artist Liz Scofield has created interactive audio compositions informed by the aesthetics and concepts of Ballet mécanique. Come early and experience Ballet mécanique as never before!

VORTEX concert program, 8 p.m.

Strands of Time, by Brian Blume

Ostinato Pianissimo, by Henry Cowell

Malachite Glass, by Nigel Westlake

Double Music, by John Cage and Lou Harrison

Moving Air, by Nigel Westlake


Saltarello-Presto from Symphony No. 4 (“Italian”), by Felix Mendelssohn. Arranged by Paul D. Lehrman (1999) for eight robotically controlled Yamaha Disklavier pianos

Film clip: Segments from interviews with Antheil Estate Executor Charles Amirkhanian and Dr. Mary Davis, Case Western Reserve University, about the significance of Ballet mécanique and its restoration. See rare archival film footage from 1920s Paris, and get a glimpse of an actual Paris concert hall riot. (Courtesy of Paul D. Lehrman, Tufts University.)

Southestern United States premiere

Ballet mécanique, by George Antheil, introduced by David Kibler, Cultural Attaché to the Consulate General of France in Atlanta. Ballet mécanique is synchronized to the Fernand Léger/Dudley Murphy film in the original 1924 orchestration, featuring eight robotically controlled pianos and 13 live performers, including two pianos, four bass drums, four xylophones, tam tam, siren, seven electric bells, and three airplane propellers.