“Our lives are a series of introductions.”
That’s the take on this summer’s Green Box Arts Festival by co-founder Larry Keigwin.
The festival in Green Mountain Falls introduces people to all forms of arts, from a world-class hanging sculpture to premier music and dance performances.
“We live in a world that can be so isolating, and perhaps sometimes community is missing. And when we have art in our lives, it can be bonding, it can be collaborating,” Keigwin said. “It can get us outside of ourselves and, as the old saying goes, ‘Art reflects life.’”
This 10th annual festival will feature Janet Echelman’s “1.8 Green Mountain Falls” hanging sculpture, and composer Eric Ewazen, inspired by her work, will premiere a trombone and percussion three-movement piece, “Cycles of Time.”
“I looked at the picture of Echelman’s sculpture, and that was it. ‘Cycles of Time.’ All I can say is that what struck me is that it is this wonderful billowing, flowing, really beautiful kind of texture,” Ewazen said. “It was intriguing. My eyes were flowing.
“When looking at different kinds of music, I’ll also look at visual art. And then I’ll compare visual art to the music. I looked at the sculpture over and over again. It gave me the feelings that I wanted to create.”
Ewazen — commissioned by trombonist and longtime friend Jeremy Van Hoy — embarked on his three-step composition method with pencil, paper and piano.
“First, I come up with chords I like and then make them up with the melody that I like. Stage two, I decide on the mood, and then I decide on the overall feeling that I want to convey. And stage three, I come up with a very specific melody and schemes. Then I just keep workin’ on it.”
By synthesizing the trombone’s billowing sound with the lush chords of a marimba, Ewazen said, the piece reflects a complete cycle. It opens with a booming collaboration of trombone and percussion, slowly transitioning into the second movement: a trombone soliloquy accompanied by soft cymbals and drums.
“The last movement is a bright sound. It’s a cycle and reflects the whole idea of returning back to the chordal instruments in the percussion. But this time, there’s a brightness to it, and I use the vibraphone to complete the piece.”
The sculpture is part of Echelman’s Earth series, inspired by the interconnected cycles of the Earth.
“The title of the piece is ‘1.8,’” she said, as a day changes by 1.8 microseconds when the tectonic plates shift. “It’s a shift in the Earth’s mass that speeds up the changes of the Earth and shortens the amount of time in a day.
“There’s a transformation from day to night. In the sunlight, there’s more of an experience of wind patterns. We can’t see it unless there is a surface that is bending to it. The sculpture becomes a way to see the wind. At night, colored lights illuminate the colors of the sculpture in ever-changing patterns.”
Also featured at the festival is “TRUCK,” the newest dance performance by Art Bridgman and Myrna Packer, Guggenheim fellows in choreography and co-founders of Bridgman/Packer Dance.
“TRUCK is both playful and evocative. The work is full of surprises,” Bridgman said. “Over the past 18 years, we have developed a genre that integrates live performance and video technology, melding the two art forms to challenge perception while posing the question: ‘What is real and what is image?’”
The festival’s performances and exhibits are quality, energy and international caliber at their finest, Echelman said, and Ewazen says these performances bring an artist’s solitary work to life.
“The act of composing itself is a solitary profession, like the art of painting ... It just sits there until a person plays it, and that makes it special. We live, composers live, to see this music come to life.”
By Sofia Krusmark