From the conductor RiteNow: A Centennial Celebration of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring

In the words of Conductor Paolo Bortolameolli:

“How many times does the world stop to celebrate ONE single piece of art?

In the spring of 2013, a masterpiece and seminal work of music of the twentieth century, “Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring)”, turned 100 years old. May 29th, 1913, the day on which “The Rite of Spring ” was premiered at the Theatre Champs Elysee in Paris, is in retrospect a key date in the history of music, ballet and art in general and can be considered as the launching of a century. This gives us a good opportunity to look back and reflect.

The celebration this year was an event of global proportions. Many and varied approaches are possible but without doubt there is one that sparks my fascination: The artistic collaboration.

Once again we reaffirm Stravinsky’s genius and the transcendent legacy of his composition. The definitive emancipation of rhythm, the imaginative and provocative use of the orchestra and the harmonic boldness are some of the reasons why this is a fundamental score of the twentieth century. In addition, the name of Vaslav Nijinsky is confirmed as the great revolutionary in the genesis of contemporary dance. The contribution of painter, writer, archaeologist and philosopher Nicholas Roerich, materialized through the original sets and costumes joined the concept of primitivism and mysticism of an ancient rite. And the artistry and enterprise of Sergei Diaghilev is a legend in the history of twentieth century music.

The combination of a group of sensitive and brilliant minds who shared a specific time in history bore fruit in a masterpiece in every sense.

How do we look back today then, to its creation, 100 years ago?

Art is a living organism that does not stop, and that makes its way every day through its inevitable need to find new ways to communicate and express from the observance, the anticipation or reflection. Rarely can we, however, do so from these three angles simultaneously.

The validity, importance and strength of the current artistic creation led me to the concept to pay a particular tribute: joining forces again to obtain a collective result in a once of lifetime experience.

Based on the episodic structure of Stravinsky’s work, I commissioned to 8 highly gifted and talented composers of this generation, to write each an episode that would be eventually assembled to form an homage piece. The result is an eclectic work, where eight personal languages from ​​8 points of views have been captured in a single score.

Moreover, the aesthetic vision of our Production Designer will unify the contrasting elements, showing a common message based on the essential concept of the original work: The Rite. A rite for spring, but also for death and birth, the rite in ancient times, but also at a time where art experienced an unprecedented period of experimentation. It is the result of a society on the verge of the first global war that transformed humanity into the actual Chosen to be sacrificed, a rite to a reborn, a rite to celebrate the concrete manifestation of music in a concert hall that 100 years ago. This was one of the most controversial and booed premieres — which 100 years later makes us wonder where is the audience, THAT audience today?

A rite to man and its primary, essential language: Art.

A rite to THEN and NOW.”


On Sunday November 17th at 8pm, conductor Paolo Bortolameolli will lead the Zephyrus Project Orchestra in a performance of RiteNow: A Centennial Celebration of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. This one-time-only performance will take place at Woolsey Hall, 500 College Street (corner of College & Grove), New Haven, CT. Admission is free. Complete info is at