Theatre Lecture: Scriabin’s Symphony of Light

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How do you produce an imaginary work of art?

The mystic Russian composer Alexander Scriabin imagined that his Prometheus, Poem of Fire (1910) would be a spectacular ‘dual symphony’ of sound and light, transforming the concert hall into a ritualized performance space. Scriabin’s detailed lighting score–written in musical notation–was technically impossible in his own time and has since proved to be an interpretative challenge for both designers and musicians.

In 2010, Northeastern lighting professor Justin Townsend and Anna Gawboy of the Ohio State University School of Music collaborated to produce a fresh realization of the work with the Yale Symphony Orchestra, drawing upon new research regarding the nature of Scriabin’s vision. In this presentation, they will will address the technical and artistic challenges of the light-symphony and the performer’s role in realizing an imaginary work of art.

Townsend and Gawboy will revisit Prometheus later in September with the Cape Cod Symphony.

Scriabin’s Symphony of Light

Presented by:
Justin Townsend, Northeastern University
Anna Gawboy, The Ohio State University

Monday, September 17
5 PM
Northeastern University Visitor Center
West Village F
Second Floor