A Conversation With Maestro Gary Sheldon on the Music for Viscera
Post by Rebecca King, Corps de Ballet
As we gear up for the World Premiere of Viscera tomorrow evening at Adrienne Arsht Center, we’d like to continue the conversation on the music: Lowell Liebermann’s Concerto No. 1 for Piano and Orchestra. I had the pleasure of discussing the piece with Mr. Liebermann earlier this week to get his perspective on the powerful score. Today we bring you a conversation with our very own, Maestro Gary Sheldon. Throughout the season, audience members will spot him in the orchestra pit, leading the Opus One Orchestra.
Mr. Sheldon and I talked a little bit about the music and it’s interpretation through dance:
RK: Have you ever conducted a Lowell Liebermann work before?
GS: This is the first time I’ve conducted a work by Lowell Liebermann. It’s especially helpful and inspiring to be able to consult with the composer and I’ve had the opportunity to discuss the music with Mr. Liebermann who lives in New York.
RK: What do you see as the defining element of this piece?
GS: I can see why Liam Scarlett was drawn to the music. The accents and phrases in the music are clearly defined, making it inviting to choreograph. While the idiom is relatively modern, with clashing dissonances, the form of the music is quite classical, making this music easy to digest on first hearing.
RK: As you anticipate conducting this piece for Miami City Ballet for the first time on Friday, January 6th, what do you most look forward to? What element, if any, do you anticipate to be a challenge?
GS: It’s always exciting to work with a choreographer on a new work for me as a musician, just as it is for the dancers. As part of the creative process, I have the opportunity to shape the music in ways that support the dancers and meet the choreographer’s vision.
I always enjoy presenting a new work to the orchestra. My greatest challenge in conducting a new score is to reflect the nuances of the music as represented by the choreography to the orchestra.
RK: What should the audience be listening for when they are sitting in the audience?
GS: I think that the music will be quite accessible to the audience, as Liam Scarlett’s choreography itself is so ‘musical’. The choreography mirrors the music in a natural and beautiful way.
RK: You have sat in on quite a few rehearsals for Viscera. Mr. Scarlett told the dancers how important the music is to his piece, citing it as the main source of his inspiration. After studying the music, how was the experience of seeing the music come to life?
GS: There is nothing quite as exciting as seeing the music come to life onstage when the choreography is so naturally entwined in it. Liam has created an outstanding ballet that audiences are sure to enjoy.
Come and experience this powerful piece of music come to life through Miami City Ballet’s World Premiere of Liam Scarlett’s Viscera! For ticket information, click here.