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Skidmore College

Unique performance marks 100th anniversary of Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring"

March 22, 2013

Skidmore College and SaratogaArtsFest are teaming up to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Paris premiere of Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, with the world premiere of a new arrangement for five pianos. The performance, by The 5 Browns—a group of five siblings hailed for their piano virtuosity—will take place on Wednesday, May 29, at 7:30 p.m., in the Arthur Zankel Music Center.

The performance will feature the complete Rite of Spring and will also include classical pieces from works such as The Planets by Gustav Holst and Islamey by Mily Balakirev.

The 5 Browns
The 5 Browns

Russian composer Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, a ballet and orchestral work, was written for the 1913 Paris season of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes company. The work's premiere on May 29, 1913, at the Théatre des Champs-Elysées in Paris was scandalous. The avant-garde nature of the music, outrageous costumes, and unusual choreography caused a near-riot in the audience. Although designed as a work for the stage, the music over time achieved growing acclaim as a concert piece and later became recognized as one of the most influential musical works of the 20th century.

The 5 Browns – Ryan, Melody, Gregory, Deondra, and Desirae – all attended the Juilliard School, becoming the first family of five siblings to be accepted to the school simultaneously. The quintet enjoyed their first wave of critical attention in February 2002 when People magazine dubbed them the "Fab Five,” at a time when their ages ranged from 16 to 23. Soon after they were featured on Oprah and 60 Minutes.

The 5 Browns have released 3 CDs, all of which went to number one on Billboard Magazine’s classical album chart. Proclaimed the New York Post, “One family, five pianos and 50 fingers add up to the biggest classical music sensation in years…When these kids do Rachmaninoff, they'll make you forget about Marshall amps.” 

Event ticket holders and Skidmore students are invited to a pre-performance talk by Charles Joseph, a Skidmore professor emeritus and leading authority on Stravinsky. The talk will take place at 6 p.m. in Skidmore’s Filene Recital Hall. Joseph is the author of three books on the composer—Stravinsky and the Piano (1983), Stravinsky Inside  Out (2001), and Stravinsky and Balanchine: A Journey of Invention (2002). His work has also appeared in a number of journals, anthologies, and encyclopedias.

 Reserved orchestra seats for The 5 Browns performance are $125 or discounted to $50 with a 2013 SaratogaArtsFest ARTSPASS. Reserved balcony seating is $75 or discounted to $20 with an ARTSPASS.

The ARTSPASS will provide admission to the range of events for the seventh citywide celebration of the arts, taking place June 6-9 at venues throughout Saratoga Springs. An ARTSPASS also provides benefits and discounts year-round at area arts organizations.

Through the month of March, the ARTSPASS admission package for adults and seniors will be discounted from $40 to $35, and during that time military personnel (active or past) can claim a pass for free. Admission to the festival for youth (17 and under) is free at all times.

Tickets to The 5 Browns performance go on sale March 25 and are available here or at the Zankel Music Center box office Tuesday through Friday, 1-5 p.m. To purchase a 2013 ARTSPASS click here.

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