Celebrity Series of Boston will present violinist Gil Shaham with original films by David Michalek on Sunday, November 1, 2015, at 5:00pm at Sanders Theatre, Memorial Hall, Harvard University, 45 Quincy Street, Cambridge. Media Partner 99.5 WCRB

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Celebrity Series of Boston
Gary Dunning, President and Executive Director

Gil Shaham, Bach Six Solos for violin,
with original films by David Michalek

Sunday, November 1, 2015, 5pm — Sanders Theatre

Gil Shaham high-resolution photos | Celebrity Series Press Room

(Boston) Celebrity Series of Boston will present violinist Gil Shaham with original films by David Michalek on Sunday, November 1, 2015, at 5:00pm at Sanders Theatre, Memorial Hall, Harvard University, 45 Quincy Street, Cambridge. Media Partner 99.5 WCRB.

Tickets for Gil Shaham start at $35, and are available online at www.celebrityseries.org, by calling CelebrityCharge at (617) 482-6661 Monday-Friday 10:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m., or at the Harvard Box Office, Holyoke Center, 1350 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge.

This performance marks Gil Shaham’s sixth performance with Celebrity Series; his debut was in 1998 and most recent performance was with the San Francisco Symphony in 2014.

Violinist Gil Shaham was named Musical America’s “Instrumentalist of the Year” in 2012, and is regularly sought after for concerto appearances with leading orchestras and conductors. In 2014 he released 1930s Violin Concertos (Vol. 1), the first double album to be yielded by Shaham’s long-term programming project, which was recorded live with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, BBC Symphony, Staatskapelle Dresden, and Sejong. In live performance, he played 1930s concertos by Bartók, Prokofiev, Barber, Berg, and Britten with such eminent ensembles as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Berlin Radio Symphony, Bavarian Radio Symphony, and Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra of the USA, which he joined as guest soloist on its inaugural national tour. Among his other orchestral collaborations, Shaham reprised Korngold’s concerto, of which he has long been recognized as one of the foremost exponents, with the Vienna Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall and with orchestras including the National Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, and France’s Orchestre de Paris, as well as giving the world, Asian, and European premieres of a new concerto by Bright Sheng. Shaham also gave his signature recitals of unaccompanied Bach in Baltimore, Cleveland, and in Italy.

Gil Shaham already has more than two dozen concerto and solo CDs to his name, including bestsellers that have ascended the record charts in the U.S. and abroad. These recordings have earned prestigious awards, including multiple Grammys, a Grand Prix du Disque, Diapason d’Or, and Gramophone Editor’s Choice. His recent recordings are issued on the Canary Classics label, which he founded in 2004. They comprise Haydn Violin Concertos and Mendelssohn’s Octet with the Sejong Soloists; Sarasate: Virtuoso Violin Works with Adele Anthony, Akira Eguchi, and Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León; Elgar’s Violin Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and David Zinman; The Butterfly Lovers and Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with the Singapore Symphony; Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio in A with Yefim Bronfman and cellist Truls Mork; The Prokofiev Album and Mozart in Paris, both with his sister, pianist Orli Shaham; The Fauré Album with Akira Eguchi and cellist Brinton Smith; and Nigunim: Hebrew Melodies, also recorded with Orli Shaham, which features the world premiere recording of a sonata written for the violinist by Avner Dorman. His most recent recording in 2015 is of J.S. Bach’s Sonatas & Partitas for Violin.

Shaham was born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, in 1971. He moved with his parents to Israel, where he began violin studies with Samuel Bernstein of the Rubin Academy of Music at the age of seven, receiving annual scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. In 1981, while studying with Haim Taub in Jerusalem, he made debuts with the Jerusalem Symphony and the Israel Philharmonic. That same year he began his studies with Dorothy DeLay and Jens Ellermann at Aspen. In 1982, after taking first prize in Israel’s Claremont Competition, he became a scholarship student at Juilliard, where he worked with DeLay and Hyo Kang. He also studied at Columbia University.

Gil Shaham was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1990, and in 2008 he received the coveted Avery Fisher Prize. In 2012, he was named “Instrumentalist of the Year” by Musical America, which cited the “special kind of humanism” with which his performances are imbued. He plays the 1699 “Countess Polignac” Stradivarius, and lives in New York City with his wife, violinist Adele Anthony, and their three children.

Visual artist David Michalek is an artist who takes the concept and techniques of portraiture as the starting points for the creation of his works, on both a large and small-scale, in a range of mediums. His focus over the past ten years has been closely tied to his interest in relational aesthetics—specifically using performative and interactive techniques—storytelling, dialogue, movement—relying on the input and responses of others—subjects, collaborators, and audience—as integral to both the creation and the experience of his art. He has been drawn in particular to projects that bring together diverse groups of people in settings ranging from galleries to public spaces, from community organizations to health-care facilities.

David Michalek earned a B.A. in English Literature from U.C.L.A. and also studied filmmaking at NYU. He worked as an assistant to noted photographer Herb Ritts for two years. Beginning in the mid-1990s, he began his professional photographic career and worked regularly as a portrait artist for publications such as The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Interview, and Vogue. Concurrently, Michalek began experimenting with performance and installation, and developing large-scale, multi-dimensional projects. His solo and collaborative work has been shown nationally and internationally, with recent solo exhibitions at Yale University, The Brooklyn Museum, and The Kitchen. He has collaborated with director Peter Sellars on two staged works: Kafka Fragments, presented as part of Carnegie Hall’s 2005-06 season; and St. François d’Assise, presented at the Salzburg Festival and Paris Opera. Other film and video work for theater includes collaborations with The Tallis Scholars; John Malpede and L.A.P.D. on three works, Agents and Assets, The Skid Row Museum, and RFK in EKY; and with the Brooklyn Philharmonic in a project for The Brooklyn Museum’s “Music Off the Walls” series. Michalek has been the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, from, among others, The Franklin Furnace, The Durfee Foundation, The California State Arts Council, the Jerome Robbins Foundation, Karen-Weiss Foundation, and the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County (commission grant toward the creation of Slow Dancing). Since 2007, he has been an artist in residence with The World Performance Project at Yale University. He is a visiting faculty member at Yale Divinity School, where he lectures on religion and the arts. David Michalek lives in New York with his wife Wendy Whelan, former principal dancer of New York City Ballet.

Project Description:

When Gil Shaham and I met in 2013 to consider crafting films for an evening of Bach Six Solos, I was humbled by the task and excited by the challenge. Shortly after this, I found myself in the home of a collector who had two of my own works in video on her wall: side-by-side single close-ups of her boys five and seven. Using a high-speed camera, I had slowed these portraits to such a degree that, at first glance, they don’t seem to be moving (a viewer might find themselves somewhat surprised to see an occasional blink forming slowly in time). Gazing upon them, I realized that the music playing over the sound system, Yo-Yo Ma performing Bach’s Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 5 in C minor, seemed to be engaging in a subtle kind of dialogue with the boy’s faces as they moved through a rich texture of micro-stages in between recognizable or discrete actions or emotional states. At times, it even seemed as though the stages themselves had been prompted by a musical event. In the days following, I invited Gil over to my home to watch these and other similar videos alongside sections of Bach’s solo violin works. We both agreed there was a certain pleasure in the pairing, but more importantly, the process seemed to encourage and afford deeper listening as well as seeing. We decided to give it a go.

As a contemporary artist with an interest in motion pictures and time, I’ve been compelled to consider how the addition of extreme slow motion might be applied to moving images of the face, the body (and by extension, dance), obliquely narrative tableaux, and also still life in ways that can both enhance and alter the meanings latent within them. As a visual strategy, extreme slowness creates a continuing sense of pause within the action—as if the growth and evolution of the slow-moving image is itself a further manifestation of the deep and consuming absorptive state that often arises while observing it.
It is clear that Bach devoted a significant portion of his life to composing dance music, and these three Partitas are no small example of that. But if dance was my point of entry for the Partitas (even looking into the dance forms that Bach makes music for such as the bouree, allemande, correnti and gavotte), what eventually began to take shape was the cultivation of dance and movement of a broader type: one that could spark the kinesthetic imagination of each viewer while not fighting with the tempo of the music in live performance.

Another point of entry came from the now, much discussed, references that Bach built into each of the three, successive Partita/Sonata couplings: the Christmas Story, the Passion, and Pentecost. While I didn’t want to manifest these references directly, I did use basic themes of birth, death and rebirth as blueprints or inspirations for the creation of images.

David Michalek, 2015

About Celebrity Series of Boston
Celebrity Series of Boston was founded in 1938 by pianist and impresario Aaron Richmond. Over the course of its 77-year history, Celebrity Series has presented an array of the world’s greatest performing artists, including Sergei Rachmaninoff, Arturo Toscanini, Ignace Paderewski, Artur Rubenstein, Vladimir Horowitz, Glenn Gould, Fritz Kreisler, Jascha Heifetz, Isaac Stern, Andrés Segovia, Kirsten Flagstad, Marian Anderson, Luciano Pavarotti, Béla Bartók, Igor Stravinsky, Martha Graham, Ballet Russe De Monte Carlo, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Mstislav Rostropovich, and the New York City Opera Company.

The Celebrity Series has been bringing the very best performers–from orchestras and chamber ensembles, vocal and piano music, to dance companies, jazz, and more–to Boston’s major concert halls for 77 years. The Celebrity Series of Boston believes in the power of excellence and innovation in the performing arts to enrich life experiences, transform lives and build better communities. Through its education initiatives, the Celebrity Series seeks to build a community of Greater Boston where the performing arts are a valued, lifelong, shared experience–on stages, in schools, at home–everywhere. For more information on Celebrity Series of Boston, call (617) 482-2595 or visit us online at www.celebrityseries.org.

The Celebrity Series of Boston, Inc. receives generous support from Amy & Joshua Boger; Donna & Mike Egan; Gabor Garai & Susan Pravda; The Garbis & Arminè Barsoumian Charitable Foundation; Stephanie L. Brown; David & Harriet Griesinger; Paul L. King; Jann Leeming & Arthur Little; The Royal Little Family Foundation; Susanne Marcus Collins Foundation; Stewart Myers; Eleanor & Frank Pao; The John S. and Cynthia Reed Foundation; Stiffler Family Foundation; Sanjay & Sangeeta Verma; Nancy Richmond Winsten; Charlesbank Capital Partners LLC; EMC Corporation; Foley & Lardner; Massachusetts Cultural Council; National Endowment for the Arts; The Peabody Foundation; PTC; Tufts Health Plan; The D.L. Saunders Real Estate & Hotel Investment Group, AMO; Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

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