UMD Symphony Orchestra Brings Britten’s Les Illuminations To Life With Lighting, Set Design, and Projections, March 9

Friday, February 8, 2013

CONTACT: Sarah Snyder

February 8, 2013College Park, MD – The University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra (UMSO) brings Benjamin Britten’s Les Illuminations, Op. 18 to life on March 9 at 8pm in the Clarice Smith Center’s Dekelboum Concert Hall. Under the direction of James Ross, UMSO has earned the reputation of a progressive ensemble on the cutting edge of 21st century performance. In addition to movement and costumes, Les Illuminations will feature set design by Doug Fitch, projections by Tim McLoraine and the tenor of School of Music faculty member, Gran Wilson.

Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 7 will be performed in the second half of the concert.

About Les Illuminations

Based on a suite of prose poems by the French poet Arthur Rimbaud (1854 ­– 1891), Les Illuminations conveys a general process of growth and discovery rather than a specific story: a sensitive person encounters the world, struggles to find his place and to separate fantasy from reality, and emerges from the trial stronger and more confident. The music is bright, exuberant, and fast-paced.

Les Illuminations also features an original light presentation that designer Doug Fitch termed a “magical box of stream of consciousness.” Projectionist Tim McLoraine notes, “This box is made of two projection surfaces, one behind and one in front of tenor Gran Wilson. By placing the tenor in between two projections, we can create worlds which he will inhabit.  Given the surrealistic style of Rimbaud's poetry, the worlds created by the imagery will be at times realistic but more often conceptual. And each of the individual poem settings will be portrayed with its own unique visual 'language.'"

About James Ross

James Ross is a musician of international repute. His musical activities cover three fields: conducting, horn playing and teaching. Presently, he is the Director of Orchestral Activity at the University of Maryland, Artistic Director of the National Orchestral Institute (NOI), and newly-named Associate Director of the Conducting Program at the Juilliard School. Last May, Ross and UMSO collaborated with renowned choreographer and Maryland alumna Liz Lerman for a performance of Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of the Faun with movement design.

About Doug Fitch

Doug Fitch has worked in media ranging from architecture and opera to puppetry and food. As director/designer, he created a production of Elliot Carter’s opera, What Next?, conducted by James Levine. He has also created productions of Turandot for the Santa Fe Opera, Hansel and Gretel for the Los Angeles Opera and Das Rheingold for the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic. With the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, he mounted L’Enfant et les sortileges, Abduction from the Seraglio and a live shadow performance of Swan Lake. Most recently, his productions of Le Grand Macabre and The Cunning Little Vixen appeared at the Lincoln Center.

About Tim McLoraine

Tim McLoraine has designed projections for both concert and opera productions. Works for concert include Bartok's Miraculous Mandarin and John Adam's Harmonielehre, both with UMSO. His projections for opera include Janacek's Cunning Little Vixen with the New York Philharmonic, Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio performed at the Teatro del Lago in Chile, and Kurt Weill's Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny at the Tanglewood Music Center. As an assistant director, he helped create the American staged premier of Elliott Carter’s opera What Next?, with Doug Fitch directing and James Levine conducting.

About Gran Wilson

Gran Wilson has sung the leading tenor operatic repertoire throughout a performing career spanning three decades and four continents. He has appeared with companies such as the New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Australian Opera, Oper Frankfort, Netherlands Opera, Vlaamse Oper, Teatro di San Carlo Lisboa, Opera de Nice, St. Paul Symphony, Edinburgh Festival, Spoletto Festival, and Mostly Mozart Festival. Locally, Mr. Wilson has appeared with the Washington National Opera, Baltimore Opera, Opera Vivente, Washington Lyric Opera, Baltimore Choral Arts Society, and the Maryland Opera Studio.  Mr. Wilson maintains an active performing schedule throughout the United States and is also an associate professor at the University of Maryland.

About Music in Mind

Les Illuminations is part of the School of Music’s Music in Mind series, which aims to celebrate the role of music in our culture and our lives, explore sources of inspiration and points of intersection in musical traditions, and present music in a context that encourages reflection and discovery. Music in Mind also continues a long-standing tradition of supporting the School of Music undergraduate scholarship fund through concert revenue.

Director of the School of Music Robert Gibson notes, “The Music in Mind concert series has become a signature event for the School of Music, representing the very best of our faculty, students, alumni and guest artists in a context that invites our audience to join us in experiencing the power of music to change the way we see our world.”


More information can be found on our web site. Tickets for this performance are $25/$10 (Students/Youth), and can be purchased online or by calling (301) 405-ARTS (2787).


Proceeds from Music in Mind concerts benefit the School of Music’s undergraduate scholarship fund.

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business & Economic Development, the MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, units of government, colleges and universities for arts activities. Funding for the Maryland State Arts Council is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Learn more about the Clarice Smith Center's donor support.